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AMP Shonky award: Craig felt let down by "awful" customer service

The Queensland carpenter is part of a class action against AMP

Last updated: 10 October 2019

Need to know

  • Craig is one of an estimated one million Australians who's part of a class action against AMP for overcharging administration fees
  • Craig was also disgusted at the treatment he received from AMP when making an insurance claim

"You put your faith in the people that take your money to do the right thing", Craig Johnson laments. He now feels this faith has been betrayed. 

The knockabout 53-year-old lives on the Gold Coast, where he works as a carpenter. He describes his approach to life as "a little old school"; he's a straight shooter that expects others to be upfront with him too.

Like many Australians, Craig had his superannuation with AMP and put his faith in the 170-year-old institution to look after his retirement savings. As with all super funds, AMP has a legal duty to put the best interests of its members first. 

The company is now part of a class action, accused of massively inflating administration fees, charging its members two to three times as much as other super funds for these fees.

It was only when the banking royal commission hit news headlines that Craig had any sense something was wrong. "If what (the class action law firms) are alleging comes to fruition, there are going to be a lot of angry people out there," he says.

"You'd think I'd stolen from them"

Craig also took out income protection insurance with AMP and thought he was paying good money for peace of mind so he could continue helping provide for his wife and two sons if he ever had to miss work.

When a painful knee problem meant he had to have time off for replacement surgery, he made a claim to AMP. Having paid substantial premiums for years, he expected his loyalty would be rewarded with a straightforward claims process. He was sadly mistaken.

"The customer service was awful," he recalls. "It was like trying to get blood from a stone, mate. You'd think I'd stolen from them."

He constantly had to leave messages and chase up his consultant to get a response. More than once, he wondered why the company couldn't just make a quick phone call to his doctor to speed up the frustrating process.

With research showing 22% of Australians have no savings at all, it's vital that insurers process income protection claims quickly to ensure people can support themselves when they're forced out of work by illness or injury.

"I was getting a knee replacement, I had a mortgage to pay...I had to borrow money...They certainly didn't ease the burden of stress

As Craig tells it, the lack of people skills and organisation from his consultant at AMP worsened what was already a difficult time marked by physical pain and worry. 

"I was getting a knee replacement, I had a mortgage to pay...I had to borrow money, you know. It wasn't like I didn't have enough going on. They certainly didn't ease the burden of stress."

AMP member left facing an uncertain retirement

Craig was so dismayed by the process that he has now cancelled his insurance with AMP.

He still has his superannuation with the company and is determined to see them make amends to their loyal members.

"I'm hoping they get the book thrown at them because if what [the lawyers] are alleging is true, that's an absolutely disgusting way to go about looking after people."

"I can stand in a full-length mirror and ... look at myself," he says. He wonders if AMP can do the same, after allegedly eroding the balances of their members with excessive fees, 

"What actually happens when I retire? Where's that money actually going to come from?"

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.