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Thread: car insurance - insurer trying to retrospectively charge more

  1. #1
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    car insurance - insurer trying to retrospectively charge more

    Hi all,

    Any advice (consumer, legal or insurance) welcomed please!

    A work colleague of mine has been sent a letter from her insurer saying that she gave her details incorrectly (she has an auto only license and the previous policy just stated "full" UK license, which I am assuming they mean they think she had auto + manual). They took scans of the license after the renewal, and there's no proof they didn't know about this all last year as far as I can see. They blame confused.com, where the original quote was made 2 years ago... English isn't her first language so I can see how this could be confusing either way. She doesn't have any family here and I've offered to help, with 0 experience of insurance, just plenty of experience complaining!

    They are trying to charge her £90 extra for last year's policy, and £90 for this year's (she has just renewed). If she wants to cancel they want £50 from her on top of the days she has been covered.

    This seems like absolute tosh, particularly for the previous year, which has been completed (and the cancellation policy - with a mobile contract you would be able to cancel for free). Are there any legal grounds for this? Of course, if you get a new quote today, the same company will quote the same as her renewal (not including this extra £90) for an automatic only license. The car in question is of course an auto... the surcharge is also way more than 10% of the total price (which is still extortionate when I saw it!).

  2. #2
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    Surely if she changes companies and tells them she doesn't accept their claims for money they think is owed, would they bother for the sums involved?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scepticalist View Post
    Surely if she changes companies and tells them she doesn't accept their claims for money they think is owed, would they bother for the sums involved?
    Well because they took an age to look at the documents there is a £50 cancellation fee (which I think should also be contested!) because it's outside the cooling-off period now.

    And they still have her debit card details - beyond trying to get the bank to intervene, can you block a payment? It's not a direct debit...

    P.S. I looked at the documents today - the wording is certainly ambiguous, and in only one of the documents (in tiny print too!) did it ever refer to 'manual + automatic' - every other policy document (including the schedule) just refers to 'full UK license'

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanBear View Post
    Well because they took an age to look at the documents there is a £50 cancellation fee (which I think should also be contested!) because it's outside the cooling-off period now.

    And they still have her debit card details - beyond trying to get the bank to intervene, can you block a payment? It's not a direct debit...

    P.S. I looked at the documents today - the wording is certainly ambiguous, and in only one of the documents (in tiny print too!) did it ever refer to 'manual + automatic' - every other policy document (including the schedule) just refers to 'full UK license'
    For what it's worth, I wouldn't read "Full UK licence" as including an 'automatic only' licence. I think the law has been relaxed in the last few years but certainly historically it was the policy holder's responsibility to make sure every detail was correct and that meant scrutinising the policy line by line. Do we all do that? No, but that was what the law assumed. I can't remember the 'relaxation' in the law but the effect, from memory, was that trivial matters couldn't be relied upon by insurers to void a policy.

    Anyway, what I always do when I have an issue with a company is to cut out "customer services", etc., entirely and email (https://www.ceoemail.com/) or letter to the company's Chief Exec. That usually results in reasonably swift and satisfactory resolution.

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    You do know that they just have a junior member of staff reading those e-mails don’t you or do you really think the CEO manages his own inbox ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeePee View Post
    You do know that they just have a junior member of staff reading those e-mails don’t you or do you really think the CEO manages his own inbox ?
    You do know that I didn’t say he/she does, don't you?? It’s what I do and it gets results.
    Last edited by David_D; 10th April 2018 at 16:43.

  7. #7
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeePee View Post
    You do know that they just have a junior member of staff reading those e-mails don’t you or do you really think the CEO manages his own inbox ?
    I can tell you that whoever is in charge of opening the CEO’s inbox, isn’t junior staff but usually a recognised member of the high level complaints department. That doesn’t mean he won’t ‘downgrade’ your complaint of course.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

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    I always took full UK license to mean you had passed a driving test. A lot of the comparison sites offer only 'full license' or 'provisional' as drop down options with no differentiation between auto and manual.

    If she is driving an auto car I can't see how it makes a difference as she has passed a driving test to entitle her to drive the car in question.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    They will hold no claims bonus as ransom if you dont pay.

  10. #10
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    To me, driving licence means you’re entitled to drive the car in question. Full driving licence means yours is not the provisional that you had just after passing your test.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

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  12. #12
    Green light Insurance cancelled my insurance a few years ago, the MOT tester made a mistake with the mileage on the MOT, he put 11000 and not 10000, the car only did about 500 miles the next year, even though the MOT tester wrote to them saying it was a mistake, they cancelled the insurance saying that I had tried to mislead them.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    To me, driving licence means you’re entitled to drive the car in question. Full driving licence means yours is not the provisional that you had just after passing your test.
    Provisional licence here is only to drive before and for your driving test, not after you've passed it. It gets taken/sent away after you've passed and the full driving licence sent to you (you use the driving test's pass certificate as proof of your holding a full driving licence, until the full driving licence comes through).

  14. #14
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    Thank you for putting it right. But do you agree that Full = test passed and has nothing to do with manual or automatic ?
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Thank you for putting it right. But do you agree that Full = test passed and has nothing to do with manual or automatic ?
    Certainly do agree - it just means 'not provisional' basically (I only clarified it in case you were thinking there was something like the apprenti status over the Channel).

  16. #16
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Yes, thank you for that.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Thank you for putting it right. But do you agree that Full = test passed and has nothing to do with manual or automatic ?
    Quote Originally Posted by hughtrimble View Post
    Certainly do agree - it just means 'not provisional' basically (I only clarified it in case you were thinking there was something like the apprenti status over the Channel).

    Just to make slight clarification here:

    a person passing their test in an automatic car cannot drive a manual car (without 'L' plates & a supervising, qualified driver) without passing a second test in that type of vehicle.


    When passing in an automatic, the DVLA will issue a licence with a restriction code of '78' displayed on it to signify the driver is passed for automatic transmissions only.


    The licence may be 'full', but it carries a restriction.


    https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-codes
    ______

    ​Jim.

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    Thanks for the advice all.

    I've already drafted a complaint to the CEO of the company in question (it's certainly worked for me in the past), but the template and advice WRT the ombudsman is very helpful, thank you.

    For 100% clarity, the car to be insured is an automatic, comes up as an auto on the insurance database, and I agree with the sentiment here that I cant see what additional risk factor there would be to justify this.

    The license has been a "full" one for 3 years (as my employee only moved to the UK 4.5 years ago and was made to re-take a test as she is not from the EU)

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by IanBear View Post
    she has an auto only license and the previous policy just stated "full" UK license, which I am assuming they mean they think she had auto + manual
    Surely the cost is based on the Car not the license, think they're talking a load of bollocks myself.

    It's an error on their part they need to suck it up.

    Have you posted on Twitter?
    Last edited by Nogbad The Bad; 10th April 2018 at 17:01.

  20. #20
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    I would assume that there actuary function indicates holders of a full license restricted to automatics are a greater risk than holders of a license for both manual and automatic hence the difference in premium.

    That said it’s quite off to come back at this late stage and ask for additional premiums.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    I can tell you that whoever is in charge of opening the CEO’s inbox, isn’t junior staff but usually a recognised member of the high level complaints department. That doesn’t mean he won’t ‘downgrade’ your complaint of course.
    I guess its just a question of who you consider to be a junior member of staff,in my experience its usually an Assistant PA who does the initial sift to filter out the nutters.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeePee View Post
    I guess its just a question of who you consider to be a junior member of staff, in my experience its usually an Assistant PA who does the initial sift to filter out the nutters.
    It does probably depends on the business you're in. The more likely your customers will complaint to try and get compensation, the higher ranked and the greater experience in handling complaints.
    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

  23. #23
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    In my experience, polite letters of complaint to the CE usually work. Sometimes they read them, sometimes the CE’s PA filters them. The PA generally knows the CE’s mindset and passes the complaint to a reasonably senior bodkin to deal with. Said senior bod generally takes care to try to achieve a resolution given that the matter has passed to him from the desk of the CE. Script reading Customer Service drones usually get nowhere near these issues on this path.

    p.s. Do not send letters/emails marked FTAO CEO, find out the CEO’s name and address the comm accordingly.
    Last edited by KavKav; 10th April 2018 at 18:12.

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    How can any company justify a charge for cancelling insurance.

    HASTINGS do this sort of thing........................My thoughts are that its criminal and that they contravene the unfair contracts terms act but no-one seems to be querying these things on behalf of the consumer these days.


    Humph !!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by IanBear View Post
    They are trying to charge her £90 extra for last year's policy, and £90 for this year's (she has just renewed). If she wants to cancel they want £50 from her on top of the days she has been covered.
    Have a read of this link to the Financial Ombudsman site: http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.u...disclosure.htm

    In summary, note: 'This note explains our approach to complaints where an insurer says a consumer did not "disclose" (tell the insurer) everything they should have when taking out an insurance policy...But we also see cases where the consumer is unhappy that the insurer wants to charge an additional premium to continue providing cover after discovering a "misrepresentation"....And we usually say it is not reasonable to expect a consumer to provide information that we decide the insurer should reasonably be expected to know - for example, where a consumer answers "see your records for claims history" and the insurer does not check them.'

    Quote Originally Posted by David_D View Post
    For what it's worth, I wouldn't read "Full UK licence" as including an 'automatic only' licence. I think the law has been relaxed in the last few years but certainly historically it was the policy holder's responsibility to make sure every detail was correct and that meant scrutinising the policy line by line. Do we all do that? No, but that was what the law assumed. I can't remember the 'relaxation' in the law but the effect, from memory, was that trivial matters couldn't be relied upon by insurers to void a policy.
    You are absolutely correct.

    'The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012' came into force in 2013, reviewing insurance law last set in 1906 and providing enhanced legal protection to policyholders who unknowingly give incorrect or incomplete information to an insurer. That meant an insurer would not be able to decline a claim on the grounds of non-disclosure unless the policyholder carelessly or deliberately lied or misrepresented your circumstances.

    Ironically, in this instance the complaint is about paying extra premium, whereas under the old system the Insurer would probably have been within their rights to take more punitive steps by just cancelling the Policy for breach of good faith/non-disclosure, even if it was an innocent mistake.

    Under the 'new' guidelines, the consumer is protected in that insurers can't just cancel cover, but they can go back and ask for extra premium if the misrepresentation later comes to light (after the policy start of course) and is such that they can reasonably demonstrate that if they had actually known about it from the start, and if it would have affected the terms or premium at which they went on cover i.e. presented more risk in their eyes, then they can instead ask the policyholder to pay extra in recognition of that, instead of cancelling cover outright.

    I know it's really crap to pay more, but cancellation of cover by an Insurer is no small thing - notice how proposal forms or online systems always ask if an insurer has ever cancelled your cover before? If you say yes to that, it raises a red flag to insurers, who start to wonder why. If you say no and lie about it...

    Anyway, in recognition of the fact that the Act is fairer to consumers by taking away some of the powers of Insurers to just rip-up the policy & walk-away, it did consequently place more duty on policyholders to check their renewal notice and notify insurers if the information held has changed or is incorrect. Some renewal notices often ask customers to check that specific important information is correct.

    That's the issue faced here. But I think a deal is there to be cut, because the past year's insurance has been & gone and the amount of money is tiny to an insurer - threaten with the ombudsman & offer to pay-up one fair payment of £90 for the current year. Also, it sounds like communication has been piss poor, and using those online aggregator websites is a disaster zone for things like this, it's hard for consumers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    I would assume that there actuary function indicates holders of a full license restricted to automatics are a greater risk than holders of a license for both manual and automatic hence the difference in premium.
    Correct. There'll be a computer program churning the stats of the insurer's claims which presumably concludes auto-only drivers are more likely to have an accident and levies a higher rate in consequence. I have no idea if that's true for all insurers, but presumably they haven't just plucked it from thin air for the fun of it. Seems unfair, when she's only driving an auto, but it's a bit like a 21 yr old driver as against a 30 yr old driver - both may have the requisite licenses, drive the same car, have no claims etc. but the stats will show younger drivers produce more claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    How can any company justify a charge for cancelling insurance.

    HASTINGS do this sort of thing........................My thoughts are that its criminal and that they contravene the unfair contracts terms act but no-one seems to be querying these things on behalf of the consumer these days.
    Well, clearly it's not unfair or it would have been kiboshed by now.

    The thing is, it's not so much a cancellation charge as an admin charge for the extra work to cancel the policy - amending the system, sending out letters, extra phone calls etc.

    Seems like nonsense, but when you consider two things, maybe less so:

    - Those online aggregator websites are automated to take all human interaction out of things. Humans cost, computers much less so. By cutting expenses in that way and automating the whole thing from a computer programmer, that's why online policies are so cheap. If you mess with the system, and require extra input mid-term, then the terms & conditions will state insurers can charge more to reflect their increased work load which eats into their profit. It seems odd, but you get what you pay for - monkeys for peanuts. Everybody wants the absolute rock-bottom price, but wonders why the service is crap. You can't have it both ways - pay more for a human broker and decent service, or buy online with your Asda shopping and take the risks.

    - The UK motor market has lost money nearly every year since the 1980's i.e. Insurers as a whole have paid more out in claims & expenses than they've taken in premium. Typically, for every £100 of premium the policy costs them £105 - £110. But they struggle to raise prices much, because buyers only care about getting the cheapest price, and online aggregator websites make it easy (!) to switch insurer. What that means is insurers resort to other, ancillary income streams to make a profit on motor - commissions on DD installment facilities, referrals, legal expenses policies etc. and yes, Admin charges like this £50 cancellation fee, or a fee to change drivers or car mid-term.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwg663 View Post
    Just to make slight clarification here:

    a person passing their test in an automatic car cannot drive a manual car (without 'L' plates & a supervising, qualified driver) without passing a second test in that type of vehicle.


    When passing in an automatic, the DVLA will issue a licence with a restriction code of '78' displayed on it to signify the driver is passed for automatic transmissions only.


    The licence may be 'full', but it carries a restriction.


    https://www.gov.uk/driving-licence-codes
    What he said...my partner drives on an automatic license and I declare that everyear for insurance quotes.

  27. #27
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    Interesting. Thanks.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stringer View Post

    You are absolutely correct.

    'The Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act 2012' came into force in 2013, reviewing insurance law last set in 1906 and providing enhanced legal protection to policyholders who unknowingly give incorrect or incomplete information to an insurer. That meant an insurer would not be able to decline a claim on the grounds of non-disclosure unless the policyholder carelessly or deliberately lied or misrepresented your circumstances.

    Ironically, in this instance the complaint is about paying extra premium, whereas under the old system the Insurer would probably have been within their rights to take more punitive steps by just cancelling the Policy for breach of good faith/non-disclosure, even if it was an innocent mistake.

    Under the 'new' guidelines, the consumer is protected in that insurers can't just cancel cover, but they can go back and ask for extra premium if the misrepresentation later comes to light (after the policy start of course) and is such that they can reasonably demonstrate that if they had actually known about it from the start, and if it would have affected the terms or premium at which they went on cover i.e. presented more risk in their eyes, then they can instead ask the policyholder to pay extra in recognition of that, instead of cancelling cover outright.

    I know it's really crap to pay more, but cancellation of cover by an Insurer is no small thing - notice how proposal forms or online systems always ask if an insurer has ever cancelled your cover before? If you say yes to that, it raises a red flag to insurers, who start to wonder why. If you say no and lie about it...

    Anyway, in recognition of the fact that the Act is fairer to consumers by taking away some of the powers of Insurers to just rip-up the policy & walk-away, it did consequently place more duty on policyholders to check their renewal notice and notify insurers if the information held has changed or is incorrect. Some renewal notices often ask customers to check that specific important information is correct.

    That's the issue faced here. But I think a deal is there to be cut, because the past year's insurance has been & gone and the amount of money is tiny to an insurer - threaten with the ombudsman & offer to pay-up one fair payment of £90 for the current year. Also, it sounds like communication has been piss poor, and using those online aggregator websites is a disaster zone for things like this, it's hard for consumers.

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