I didn’t get the car pol­icy I asked for

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

I re­turned from Spain af­ter 12 years and wanted to in­sure a car. I am par­tially deaf and, when I con­tacted Swin­ton, the in­surer, I said “yes” to ev­ery­thing that the young lady said.

I asked for third party, fire and theft cover. But when the pol­icy ar­rived it was for fully com­pre­hen­sive. This I re­fused.

I then re­ceived the year’s quote, which was £3,088. When I com­plained it was re­duced to £2,707.

When I spoke to the tele­sales man I told him what I had ini­tially asked for. He said the pol­icy I was sent had been ap­proved dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, which it hadn’t. MP, EAST OF ENG­LAND

The price re­flected your zero no-claims dis­count and that you had lived in Spain for the past 12 years.

You only wanted in­surance that made you “le­gal” as you drive just 2,000 to 3,000 miles a year.

Your next-door neigh­bour is 80 and pays £314 for mo­tor in­surance. Your younger son, who is 40 and learnt to drive only six years ago, pays just over £300. You have ex­ten­sive driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing driv­ing cars for a car sales com­pany you worked for. Af­ter that you drove the com­mu­nity bus on a full­time ba­sis for 10 years.

You tried to can­cel the pol­icy bought through Swin­ton dur­ing the year you had it. How­ever, you wrote to an ad­dress that Swin­ton no longer uses, al­though you re­cently re­ceived a com­mu­ni­ca­tion ap­par­ently from that same ad­dress.

Some­what sur­pris­ingly, there is no guar­an­tee that a third party, fire and theft pol­icy will be cheaper than com­pre­hen­sive cover in the same cir­cum­stances.

Hav­ing lis­tened to the phone call you had over this point, Swin­ton says it had clearly ex­plained that its fully com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy was cheaper and you said you were fully aware of this and were happy to pur­chase fully com­pre­hen­sive on that ba­sis. It says the branch ad­dress is­sue was an un­for­tu­nate ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror, for which it apol­o­gises.

When the year was up you found the same cover else­where for £700. Fur­ther to my in­volve­ment Swin­ton, as a ges­ture of good­will, re­funded £1,000. This is about half the dif­fer­ence be­tween what you paid it and what you are pay­ing now.

The firm apol­o­gised for “not pro­vid­ing the ser­vices our cus­tomers rightly ex­pect”. had ex­pected to re­ceive a pack­age con­tain­ing fig­ures and op­tions for claim­ing my pen­sion.

I had re­ceived a let­ter from my work­place’s hu­man re­sources sec­tion in­form­ing me that I would get this in­for­ma­tion shortly af­ter re­tir­ing. I got noth­ing.

Af­ter sev­eral weeks I rang Capita, the pen­sion ad­min­is­tra­tor, and was told that the pack­age had been sent to me more than a month be­fore I re­tired. I had never re­ceived it – and this did not tie up with what I had been told.

My fi­nal salary pen­sion was sup­posed to pay £19,000 a year. I in­tended to buy an an­nu­ity with the £10,884 in­vest­ment plan I also have with Capita.

I have spent hours on the phone be­ing passed back and forth be­tween peo­ple who can­not help. Capita seems in­ca­pable of un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of hav­ing no in­come from it. PM, CHESHIRE

You had been told that, as the in­vest­ment plan was worth more than £10,000, you were obliged to find the an­nu­ity your­self. You duly filled in what seemed to be the ap­pro­pri­ate form ask­ing if you could take £1,000 in cash from the in­vest­ment plan, thus re­duc­ing it to less than £10,000. You ex­pected to re­ceive a quote but heard noth­ing back.

Sev­eral weeks passed and you were told that Capita was wait­ing for you to re­turn all the forms and de­tails of your bank

ac­count and so forth. You sent ev­ery­thing asked for and, hav­ing not heard back, rang two weeks later. For the first time you were told the ar­range­ment you had pro­posed for the in­vest­ment money was, af­ter all, not vi­able.

You were then given fur­ther con­tra­dic­tory in­for­ma­tion by Capita. Al­though you were as­sured the mat­ter was with the “es­ca­la­tions” team, yet again you did not hear back.

Only af­ter my in­volve­ment was the in­vest­ment el­e­ment, which you had de­cided now to take in cash, paid.

Pen­sion pay­ments also be­gan to be made, in­clud­ing the back pay­ments. This came, as you say, four months and six days af­ter

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