Why this ex­tra car crash bill?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

I crashed my wife’s car and it was a write-off. The in­surer, LV=, fairly as­sessed and paid the car’s value.

Apart from my giv­ing up driv­ing and send­ing my li­cence to the DVLA, as far as we were con­cerned that was the end of the mat­ter.

Then some four months later, I re­ceived a let­ter from a util­ity com­pany de­mand­ing im­me­di­ate pay­ment of £4,665. It said it had al­ready asked for this and it was now 47 days over­due.

Hav­ing never dealt with

this com­pany and with no in­for­ma­tion as to why I owed this money, my wife phoned its of­fice.

She was told that the bill was the cost of re­pairs to a road­side util­ity dam­aged by a car driven by me. It also said that an in­voice had been sent to me be­fore.

An­other in­voice was sent and I dis­patched a cheque the next day. JC, GWENT

You are 87 and had suf­fered an un­ex­plained black­out while driv­ing your wife’s car.

Had it not been for your wife’s pres­ence of mind in seiz­ing the steer­ing wheel, it could have been much worse.

As it was, the ve­hi­cle rolled into a bank and dam­aged a util­ity com­pany’s gas box. Your wife has no rec­ol­lec­tion of the car hit­ting any ob­sta­cle.

You paid the bill up front, want­ing to have the prob­lem sorted out as quickly as pos­si­ble.

Af­ter pay­ing the bill, you im­me­di­ately wrote to LV= ex­plain­ing what had hap­pened and en­clos­ing a copy of the re­ceipted in­voice.

You asked the com­pany’s opin­ion on the in­sur­ance po­si­tion. You had no idea that the util­ity com­pany had also ap­proached the in­surer.

LV= was in fact dawdling over pro­cess­ing this third­party claim and still hadn’t done so. This has ac­tu­ally had the ad­van­tage of pre­vent­ing any is­sue aris­ing over a dou­ble pay­ment.

Seven weeks passed with no re­sponse to your let­ter. You wrote again to LV= and still heard noth­ing back.

I con­tacted LV= and it re­im­bursed you the £4,665 at once. It did not ad­dress the is­sue of the lack of re­sponse to your cor­re­spon­dence.

Re­fer­ring to your wife, who is the pol­i­cy­holder, LV= said: “It was never the case that we were re­fus­ing to re­im­burse the cus­tomer the costs claimed against her by the util­ity com­pany.

“Sim­ply we failed to un­der­stand that our cus­tomer had, rather un­usu­ally, set­tled the util­ity com­pany’s claim di­rectly and was look­ing for re­im­burse­ment from us.

“Now we have re­alised this, we have re­im­bursed our cus­tomer in full, with a pay­ment for loss of in­ter­est and fur­ther com­pen­sa­tion for the dis­tress caused.”

These are £160 for in­ter­est and £50 for good­will. You are giv­ing a do­na­tion to char­ity in re­spect of this out­come.

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