Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Rip-Off Britain!

I have used these pages to highlight my disapproval of the way we are forced to pay more for our cruise holidays than our Australian friends who are always able to buy the same product, from the same company, but thousands of pounds cheaper than the company is prepared to sell to me, being from their British market. See: 2012 world cruise review.

I now turn to the UK banking and insurance industries.

The current average interest rate available to savers in the UK is less than a paltry 2%, and to get the best rate, you have to sign your cash up for at least 12 months. What really annoys me, and is done in the name of 'fair competition', is the modern syndrome of 'Brand New Customers Only'. We now have to search the markets annually to obtain anything like a decent rate, where the bulk of that rate is made up of a new customers only bonus. Once the term is up, usually 12 months, the rate reverts to an amount, usually less than 1%, forcing the need to research and make annual changes. Crap!

My latest meeting with Mr. Rip Off is with Motor Insurance. We now have to make similar annual searches for the 'best deal' in the name of fair competition. But the so-called best deal, is of course made up of the new customers only bonus, and if foolish enough to continue to renew with the same company year on year (as a loyal customer), you will soon find you are being ripped off as opposed to what you can find available on the open market, and often with the same company you are already with.

It was only after I had been one of those 'loyal customers' to the same company for 4 years, having entered in to their contract with a full no claims bonus from my previous company, (which was allocated by them as being 9 years), that I discovered the new company awarded their full NCB after only 4 years, and unbeknown to me at the time, this is what my new entitlement became as I joined them.
So, after a further 4 years with them, when I decided to change company again, I found out I was now only entitled to 4 years NCB - (or the amount any previous company is willing to put into writing, even though I have a claim free record of 40 years!) Furious at this, I then went on to find that all motor insurance companies award their full no claims bonus on varying years of entitlement - some 4, some 5, and all the way up to 9. Further to that they always advertise their allowance as a percentage - i.e. 'we offer up to 60% no claims bonus'. When you buy the policy, you find that your 'full' NCB is noted as whatever years their offer is awarded at, i.e. 'No Claims Entitlement: 5 years' as written on the new certificate - 5 years being the time taken to earn their own maximum of 60%. This is all well and good until a change of company is made - to avoid the 'Brand New Customers Only' rip-off. If the new company's full entitlement comes in at say 9 years, then all of a sudden you are at a loss - another RIP-OFF!

To make matters worse, because I had stated an 'incorrect' amount of years NCB that I (thought I) was entitled to when leaving the old company before I discovered this rip-off - the new company then charged me £25 to amend the details on the new certificate and re-issue it. Blah!

On to household energy supply companies, vehicle fuel prices, leisure boat fuel taxation, ppi's, where there's blame there's a claim,....... next? Don't get me started on those!

** A further motor insurance rip off has come to light since writing this post. One of our family cars had been damaged whilst parked and unattended on the street. The damage was so severe a new tailgate was required. With no third party to claim from, our own insurer was informed, who pointed to their own small print that the car must be taken to their own "approved" repairer, and repairs rather than replacement of panels with generic ones will be made at the insurer's discretion. When your car is less than 3 years old, I for one, would expect it to be repaired with manufacturer's genuine parts, and by the vehicle manufacturer's approved agent, not the insurers. I looked this up, and found test cases had previously been filed, and won by others - so we insisted on taking the car to the brand owner's repair agent where original equipment parts would be used in the repair, and it's warranty would be unaffected. The insurer accepted this, but stated that in those circumstances we would not be entitled to a free courtesy car while ours was off the road. 'No problem' we replied, the repairer is prepared to loan one. That is all well and good, but would you believe the insurer then went on to refuse to insure the other 'free' courtesy car under any circumstances! The repairer had to provide the insurance cover as well. They said it is a growing problem in their industry, and they are losing business as a result, which of course means that there are many owners of newer cars out there that have undergone sub-standard repairs simply to save the insurance company money. It is high time these insurance sharks were legislated against, along with all those bogus injury claims that came about when law firms were allowed to advertise their 'where there's blame there's a claim' services that are probably the reason all this started.

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