Malleable Musings

January 19, 2009

Put it in writing

Filed under: Life at home — Tags: — Brendan @ 12:44 am

A story about how a little bit of data can be a dangerous thing!

A week or two ago we got rid of my knackered old Daewoo Matiz. We got my wife a bigger car (a Peugeot 307) and I’m now driving her Ford Fusion. We timed the exchange for when my insurance policy was running out to save paying too much for the changes on the insurance policies.

Now, I’m one of those people that insurance companies love as I hate doing all of the running around that seems to be necessary, even when using sites like compare the meerkat. So when the renewal option came through for my Matiz, I rang my current insurers, Direct Line, and told them that I wouldn’t be renewing for the Matiz but I would be interested in insuring the Fusion. They already had details of the Fusion as it was covered on breakdown cover that was also being renewed. Given that Direct Line held all of these details I thought that going through them would be the quickest way of doing things – how wrong I was. (This phone call was on the 2nd Jan and took 15mins – most of it holding).

They said that they would send out a new renewal notice which they did, however the breakdown cover seemed to have fallen off this renewal notice (dated 3rd Jan) so I rang them up. I was assured that the breakdown cover, which covers two cars the 307 and the Fusion, would be on a separate policy and would be in the post. (Time taken 20mins).

I gave it another couple of days and the renewal notice for the breakdown cover still hadn’t arrived, so again I rang them up and checked that everything seemed to be in place. Given that my renewal date was now only a couple of days away I asked them to proceed with the renewal. (Time taken 10mins).

Then last Thursday (15th Jan), a couple of days after the renewal date, when I got home in the evening I found that I’d received a certificate of insurance. Unfortunately this showed that it was the Matiz that was insured and not the Fusion. So I had to make another phone call.

I still hadn’t received the breakdown cover however I found out that this appears to be correct (both 307 and Fusion were covered).

Whilst on the phone it was explained that they hadn’t taken enough money for the payment, as the Matiz is a much lower insurance group than the Fusion. Therefore I made a payment for the difference between what I /they thought I had been charged and what I was quoted – bizarrely I had to help them work out what this amount should be. Whilst making the payment I noticed that the last four digits on the renewal notice didn’t match with any credit/debit card that I currently hold. Therefore we worked out that payment couldn’t yet have been taken for insurance.

This took 30 minutes. I explained that I was a bit disappointed with the process I’d met so far. The lady I talked to said she’d talk to a manager and call me back the following evening.

Unfortunately I missed the call, as I was already on the phone. By the time I rang back their customer service department had closed.

Therefore on Saturday morning (17th Jan) I had to endure a further 20 minutes on the phone to be told that my policy is correct and all in place. I then asked about the payment and was told, “ah yes, we didn’t take the original payment, therefore you owe us the best part of ¬£300. Unfortunately I can’t take the payment you need to speak to our accounts department and I can’t put you through.” Therefore I had to make another call which lasted a further 20 minutes (mostly waiting) to tell the accounts department to use the credit card that they had used on Thursday evening.

That’s nearly two hours that I wasted on the phone. About an hour and a half longer than it would have taken me to start again with a new insurer!

Direct Line only attempted to communicate with me once, and that was only because I’d made a complaint. Other than that I’ve done all of the chasing. In the first phone call of Saturday 17th they told me if I wanted to make a complaint I should put it in writing, although they didn’t say to whom I should write to??? I’m loathed to ring again to find out!

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