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Author Topic: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....  (Read 4225 times)

das boot

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A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« on: November 16, 2008, 08:53:26 am »

Gentlemen, a warning to all those of you who have their car insurance payments made by direct debit from your bank…

My car insurance was arranged online by the g/f and a direct debit set up from the bank, each monthly payment was set up to be paid out the day after my pay day…nice and easy, no problems. Each month the payments went out on time, all was good…until last Thursday.

I’m coming home in the car, happened to look in my rear view mirror and there’s police car inches from my boot lid, a few minutes later the blue lights go on and the driver is waving at me to pull over, which I did. My car had appeared on his in-car computer thing as an uninsured vehicle, he informed me, so I gave him all the details of the insurance policy which I keep stored on my pda fone. He made a few checks whilst his colleague did a quick visual  check of the car, and then hit me with the fact that the insurance company had cancelled the policy last month, so my car WAS uninsured. He wrote me up a statuary penalty notice, which means a £200 fine and six points on my otherwise clean for forty + years driving licence, then informed me that technically he could confiscate my car which would mean another £175 plus VAT to get it back, but to his credit and because I lived so close to where we were, he agreed to waive that bit and escorted me home, still with all the blue lights flashing. Much to the neighbours delight…

When I got indoors I phoned the insurance company and asked what the **** was going on…it turns out that the computer had tried to take a payment out one minute before midnight on the arranged day and not one minute after, which meant that my salary hadn’t been credited to the account by one minute. The pompous little git on the other end of the phone informed me that they had sent me an email informing me of the lack of sufficient funds in my account and that they had therefore cancelled the policy on the grounds of a missed payment. No leeway, no apologies, tough luck, you are not insured with our company any longer, have a nice day sir. Their email had gone straight into my junk mail folder and thence been deleted, I never check my junk mail…do you? I didn’t have a leg to stand on, nothing I could do about it…just take the ticket from the nice policeman, write a cheque and wish for a very large scotch.

I phoned the hairydog.com,  got a very good quote, bought the policy and paid up front, no direct debit, just paid it and smiled graciously…so I know I’m insured properly now.

So chaps…the moral behind all this?
Check your direct debits for all your important stuff regularly, make sure your insurances are all being paid out when they should be, keep a very wary eye on your bank account as well as your rear view mirror….
Oh, and make sure that you allow emails from any company you deal with online to enter your inbox and not get directed to your junk mail folder..I never thought about that point. One click of the mouse and I'd have been able to something about it and avoid the penalty.

A £200 fine hurts, six points on the licence doesn’t do you a lot of favours either...


Rich
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The long Build

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2008, 09:04:38 am »

Is email considered a legal form of notification, would they not have to write to you as well.?
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barryfoote

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2008, 09:26:10 am »

Rich,

Legally you have a good civil claim against the Insurance company who have broken the contract they hold with you by applying the DD before the agreed date and thus causing the whole problem. That said, it is probably not worth persuing but may be worth writing them a letter, pointing out their legal responsibilities and failure to comply with the contract....They may just pay you some cash to cover your expenses...
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das boot

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2008, 10:05:47 am »

Is email considered a legal form of notification, would they not have to write to you as well.?

Good point...I think that beacuse they are an online company only, emails are and will be considered as a proper notification

Rich,

Legally you have a good civil claim against the Insurance company who have broken the contract they hold with you by applying the DD before the agreed date and thus causing the whole problem. That said, it is probably not worth persuing but may be worth writing them a letter, pointing out their legal responsibilities and failure to comply with the contract....They may just pay you some cash to cover your expenses...

Barry...another good point. I'm going to have a word tomorrow with one of our works and/or union legal eagles to get their advice on this. It will probably cost me more than the expense I've already incurred to take it further with the insurance company, but the union are a different kettle of fish, our union rep loves this sort of thing, so he may want to take another step further and see what happens.

As they say in all the best police stations....watch this space!

Rich
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Reade Models

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2008, 10:11:28 am »

Rich,

You have my sympathy.

The 'police chase' programmes on TV often show this very sort of incident, it's quite common.  Direct Debits should be straightforward and reliable, but rarely are in practise.

People would be far safer by saving up for the premium before hand and paying it as a one-off annually, or if that isn't possible, use a credit or debit card to pay the annual premium - more expensive perhaps, but cheaper than a £200 fine.

Insurance companies? I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw one.

Malc
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The long Build

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2008, 10:16:34 am »

Going back a few years A friend of mine found out that is DD had not set up correctly and his House Insurance had not been paid for 6 months , He notified the Insurance who had not noticed this !, they then said they would have to back charge him as if he had made a claim they would have honoured the claim even though he had not paid as there had been an error in Admin ! 

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Colin Bishop

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2008, 10:18:24 am »

It may be worth considering the Small Claims process, commonly known as the Small Claims Court. (Google for information) on the basis that they took the money before the due date.

Whenever I agree to a direct debit I always try to make it a few days after "pay day" if possible so as to avoid this sort of situation occurring. You would have been in the same boat if they had taken the money on the due date but your salary had been subject to a transfer glitch - it happens.

Very sorry to hear of your misfortune, this sort of thing can so easily happen and you are effectively stuffed.

Colin
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Reade Models

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2008, 10:18:58 am »

they would have to back charge him as if he had made a claim they would have honoured the claim even though he had not paid as there had been an error in Admin ! 

Pigs all fuelled up and ready to fly?
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barriew

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2008, 10:36:12 am »

I gave up using on-line insurers some years ago - you get a great rate the first year, but it goes up with a bang in subsequent years so you have to keep switching. I now use a broker - I guy I trust ever since he declined business on the basis he couldn't match or beat the current deal :-)

I have had occasion to be grateful for his support over one small claim when the insurance company wanted to settle the claim with a voucher rather than cash - I got the cash thanks to him.

Barrie
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malcolmfrary

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2008, 12:04:15 pm »

I always try to make sure my DDs are a few days into the month.  I have always found that if you regard banks as sluggish, incompetent and untrustworthy, and insurance companies as a bunch of highwaymen, you will not go far wrong.
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funtimefrankie

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2008, 01:29:19 pm »

The other way to tackle the problem is to have an overdraft facility, with Alliance and Leicester I have a £300 fallback which costs 50p a day if you use it. It would have covered the above problem.

Also with online banking I have a look at my account every day, just to see who's had their hands on my money.
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andygh

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2008, 01:33:08 pm »

BACS is never transferred into your account at midnight, it's usually around 2am. Direct debits are debited at start of business on the agreed day not 1 minute past midnight. You have been lied to methinks
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2008, 01:44:12 pm »


"Computer says.... "no"".....

Do you have any proof of what the insurance done?
What the little #@$£%* say and what really happened may be two things entirely!

Quote
   I think that because they are an online company only, emails are and will be considered as a proper notification. 

I think they may have slipped up there, ' duty of care'. They could have EASILY clicked "Return receipt" on the email for
something so important.

They sound like they are hiding something.....  >>:-(


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catengineman

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2008, 05:09:36 pm »

Rich,

You have my sympathy.

I nearly fell foul to insurance missunderstanding.
I insure my car fully comp and it has three named drivers I pay it at the start of the contract.

I did not know that IF I used MY CAR to go to work it would not be insured? would cost an extra £82.00 to have that pleasure!!!!!!!!!!  >>:-(
(don't use that insurance company any more)

minefield of stealing G**s

R,
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The long Build

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2008, 05:31:02 pm »


I did not know that IF I used MY CAR to go to work it would not be insured? would cost an extra £82.00 to have that pleasure!!!!!!!!!!  >>:-(
(don't use that insurance company any more)

Am surprised at this as I have never heard of an Insurance who did not cover you, to travel to & from your place of work, particulary as if you think about it if you are at work that is the car out of Danger (usually) for about 7-9 hours of the day..

Just Double checked mine, I'm Ok  :-))
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Colin Bishop

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2008, 06:03:54 pm »

Usually the restriction is using it FOR work.
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das boot

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2008, 06:37:53 pm »

It's been a whole painful expierence, I paid the two hundred quid today and phoned up my new insurance company just to make sure I was insured to take the car out today, as there was no signs of them taking the money out of my account. 'Oh yes sir' the man at hairydogdotcom said, 'you are completely covered as from now'. "Even if you haven't taken the money out of my account" I enquired? 'Yes sir' he told me, 'you are covered'. Apparently it takes anything up to three working days for them to take the payment out of an account, but at least I am insured again.
Fine...£200   <:(
Insurance premium...£168   <:(
Points on my licence...6   <:(

An expensive week, one way or another.   <:( <:( <:(


Oh well...


Rich

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Wiggy

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2008, 07:38:06 pm »

Hi Rich and everyone else,

With respect to DD's, I was told that the bank or whoever can try to take the agreed amount up to THREE days before the payment date is due as they say that it is the expected time it takes to go through the system to ensure that the payment is made on time. That effectively means that should the payment be due on a Monday, then they could realistically call it on a Friday as they say that the weekend are closed and non banking days, well, that's what they told us when we had a DD was refused through lack of funds as the payment into our account was due in on the Saturday! We therefore incurred charges for having to refuse the DD and also from the company the payment was to be made to for a 'Late Payment' charge. We went and cancelled all our DD's and now pay by 'phone, maybe costs us a bit more in lost discounts sometimes but still saves money on 'return' charges!
My, do I feel better for that little rant,lol. O0
Cheers,

Paul.
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das boot

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2008, 07:59:37 pm »

Hi Rich and everyone else,

With respect to DD's, I was told that the bank or whoever can try to take the agreed amount up to THREE days before the payment date is due as they say that it is the expected time it takes to go through the system to ensure that the payment is made on time. That effectively means that should the payment be due on a Monday, then they could realistically call it on a Friday as they say that the weekend are closed and non banking days, well, that's what they told us when we had a DD was refused through lack of funds as the payment into our account was due in on the Saturday! We therefore incurred charges for having to refuse the DD and also from the company the payment was to be made to for a 'Late Payment' charge. We went and cancelled all our DD's and now pay by 'phone, maybe costs us a bit more in lost discounts sometimes but still saves money on 'return' charges!
My, do I feel better for that little rant,lol. O0
Cheers,

Paul.

I haven't seen any signs of a refused payment charge as yet...mind you, it's Monday tomorrow, start of a new banking week. Let them dare... <*< <*<

Glad you feel better Paul...I don't!!!  >:-o

Rich
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catengineman

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2008, 08:45:23 pm »

Insurance companies don't like you to commute to and from work  >:-o (thats what the man said at more than and again at swinton)

I set up an account for the DD's and SO's, to which my current account sends money to but at a few £ extra per month that way there is always enough to cover the bill and it ends up with a little buffer of cash IF the DD or SO change or the bank demand early.

That way all the bill,s are easy to count up and then you know how much is needed to transfer to the account every month.

Works for me  :-))

R,
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grasshopper

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2008, 10:36:42 pm »

Often can be the case where you do your insurance on-line or on the phone YOU HAVE to make sure you are covered for the right things irrespective of it being holiday, house, car or life insurance. 9 times out of 10 you'l be speaking to some basically educated twonk that only needs to hit targets and not necessarily sell you the right product.
They probably have as much knowledge about insurance as they do about astro-physics.

You also have to be sure you have answered the questions honestly and correctly, and make sure they're paid on time. Believe me, if they found any little reason to not payout in a claim - they won't. And it will be down to you and not them.

Make the time to go and see a broker, pay the small extra fee and know that the local person you can go and sit in front of and moan to will fight your corner - and hopefully know what they're taking about.

(Same goes for car dealerships as well - make a friend of your local dealer and when things go pear shaped you'll have a person to rant at that can't just cut you off.)
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polaris

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2008, 11:27:25 am »


Dear Rich,

Sorry to hear about this very irritating 'happening'.

The SCC is a very good idea/route, but it might also be a good idea to have a word with a solicitor about the Police side of things. Any reasonable magistrate would have sympathy with your situation, but, unfortunately no Ins. is no Ins. and the onus does unfortunately lie with the driver to make sure he/she is insured (as we all know). However, the Court can give leeway under clear 'accidental/unintentional' circumstances - partic. when the 'Defendant' is a sound member of the community (which I certain you are!!! :-)) :}) - and does not have a record of aggravated vehicle taking, 'joy riding', drugs dealing, burglary, GBH/& or otherwise misusing a Police Officer!!! :D %% Whilst a fine might still unfortunately have to be made, it could be token rather than 'serious', and it might be possible to prevent the points on your licence. Anyway, only your solicitor can advise you of how his/her local MC might view this.

I hope you get this wretched thing sorted out soon.

Best Wishes, Bernard
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Roger in France

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2008, 12:24:05 pm »

Bernard, I am sorry but your advice about "Courts/Magistrates" etc. is not accurate. An instant penalty has been applied and the only way of changing this is to refuse to pay, then a summons will be issued, only then will you need a solicitor and go to Court. At that time the Court will only deliberate on the facts of 1. were you insured? 2. was the fixed penalty notice properly issued? As the answer to both is clear you will then receive a penalty and have to pay costs, yours and the police costs.

I suggest you need to forget the police element and chase the Insurance Company.

My advice is, write to the Company (send by registered post, keep a copy) at its Registered Office setting out all the details; set out what you think they have done wrong; what this has cost you; ask for compensation in whatever sum you think is justified; VERY IMPORTANT, give them a deadline to respond (10 working days may be best). Make no threats. Depending on their response, either accept their offer; or appeal to the Insurance Ombudsman Service details on line via Goggle. If still not satisfied, consider the Small Claims Court route.

Roger in France
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polaris

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2008, 12:57:17 pm »


Dear Roger,

Re Summons, my point was to speak to a Solicitor to get a definitive opinion as to whether to let things get as far as that - or just pay the FP and be done with it (as I said, unfortunately no Ins is no Ins.). Shame about the Points though... my thoughts are more about defending Rich's clean licence really. Whatever be the route, I still think it wise to speak to a Solicitor - just for overview opinion.

Then there is the 'small print' of the Contract itself... and we all know how devious some contract T/C's can be! If following the SCC route against the Insurer, and even if one is going to handle matters alone, it is still worth having a word with a Solicitor to decide the best angle of approach. Forewarned is forearmed, and this is always the best policy.

Regards, Bernard

p.s. Rich, as Roger says, Signed For post is vital if anything is sent to the Insurer (new equivalent of Recorded Del.) - you can check rcpt. of delivery via RM's website, and it shows the signatory (printed name and sig.). All this detailed on the back of your SF rcpt.. B.
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polaris

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Re: A Warning - direct debit car insurance payments....
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2008, 01:42:45 pm »


Dear All,

Funny this Topic should have turned up when it has, as here is another 'gem'.

I insure something through 'an' agricultural 'Union'. They recently changed Insureres, and so obviously all the DD's had to be re done. "No problem" I thought, however, after a week a bunch of amateur looking paperwork arrived from 'a' Bank (one of those recently bailed out), which advised me that the Brokers (the Union), had advised suitability for a 'loan' regarding the insurance pymt.! Immediately distrusting this paperwork I rang the 'agent' saying I think someone's trying to pull a fast one somewhere. I was told that this is the procedure the new Ins. Co. worked with, and I then told the 'agent' that it wasn't the procedure I work with... indeed, I have never ever had to take out a loan to pay a DD, and didn't intend starting now! So, paid the whole lot by Credit Card after making sure I wouldn't get charged a fee for using that! Having been told to forget the other paperwork I did... until last Friday when a letter arrived advising I had fourteen days to cancel the Agreement that had been set up!!! I straightaway sent an email to this damn Co., told them that no Agmt. existed, nothing has/was signed, and they are not authorised to do anything whatsoever - and in any case the Premium had been paid in full.

An email arrived today apologising for the inconvenience, that a DD has been set up, and I might care to check and cancel same - and that if any money has been taken it will be refunded!!!!!!!! So I did check up: spoke to Bank Mgr. and indeed a DD had been set up!!! Needless to say it has been cancelled, and the Mgr. (like me), was somewhat concerned that this was done without any signature, approval, or authorisation,by a Bank acting for an insurance Co. who wanted DD pymts. needing a loan created from this bank to get pymt. from one of their clients clients!!!

Life is interesting isn't it!!! %% Weeeee.....!!!!! I will get better soooon :D %%

Regards, Bernard
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