How do you take out your contents and building insurance? I hope you don’t just renew every year and that you look at comparison sites for switching insurance, energy etc. I do this but do do a little more. I also check the site that comes out the cheapest.
Comparison v direct
Last year MoreThan came out cheaper on the Moneysupermarket comparison site. But this is when it got odd. I went through Moneysupermarket.com and got a reference number and password which did not work when I clicked to go through to the website. The quote included some cover which I did not wish to have. I looked to see if I could ‘phone to discuss the quote and noted that only an 0844 number was provided. It is now illegal to only provide such numbers for customer helplines under the The Consumer Rights Directive 2013 but oddly it was provided at a later date but it wasn’t on the website!Secondly I tried to use Topcashback* (excellent cashbacksite) and get a quote from MoreThan directly. This seemed to come to much MoreThan the Money supermarket.com quote! But it did not include the cover that I didn’t want! It also requested details on specific items which was not included on the Monesysupermarket.com site. The Moneysupermarket.com quote listed certain other items and not others. Basically, the comparisons between the two sites were ridiculous and one could not change them either.
So off went the email to the CEO as I felt that something was seriously flawed with their systems. Why can’t you just get the same cover going through the comparison site as going direct? Why does it cost more direct for a different cover and you can’t use the cashback site when going through the comparison site for the cheaper quote. I stated that I wanted the price stated with moneysupermarket.com minus the cover I didn’t want and to include the cover I did. I also expected to receive the £21.00 Topcashback to which I felt entitled. I got a new quote about £100 more than other quotes in order to get everything I wanted, and a cheque for the difference between the new quote and the cheaper Moneysupermarket.com quote plus the £21 cashback.
I’m not sure that any Laws were broken here, although one wonders about misleading practices and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. I do think it’s poor practice and would advise anyone looking at their insurance to explore all possibilities and to look at the comparison sites and then look at the site directly for further comparison. Make sure you have the cover you want and contact the company if you see anomalies. My guess is that this practice is quite widespread and that we need to make sure that we are not being ripped off as well as ensuring that we have the cover that we want and need.
Lots more information about comparison websites, approved sites etc here.
For more guidance, advice, tips, information, consumer laws and templates GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!
*refer a friend link so if you sign up I’ll get a few pennies for referring you and you should get a few pennies as a welcome gift!
Alternative Dispute Resolution
From the 9th July 2015 The EU ADR Directive was supposed to come into force. It was delayed until the 1st October. This compels the government to ensure that ADR schemes are in place.
ADR is a process that enables disputes between a consumer and a business to be settled via an independent mechanism outside the court system and can provide a quicker resolution. There are different forms of ADR:
Arbitration – an impartial and independent third party will decide how to resolve your dispute. In most cases, the arbitrator’s decision is binding and cannot be challenged in court. Costs vary and sometimes arbitration is free as with IDRS and ACAS services.
Adjudication – by ombudsmen and free to the consumer. Binding on the trader but not on you should you not agree and want to take the matter to court. For details of ombudsmen see the relevant sector chapter.
Mediation/conciliation – remains confidential and cannot be used in a later court hearing. The cost varies: in some instances it’s free; in others, it can get expensive. By the very nature of the word “mediation” someone will work with you and the other party to reach a decision. If agreement is made and signed this is legally binding. You would only be to go to court to enforce it if necessary.
Negotiation – which is used most commonly in employment situations. You can choose to have a union rep or someone else present while you negotiate.
Generally, arbitration is binding on both parties to the dispute; mediation/conciliation and negotiation are non-binding; and adjudication and ombudsmen schemes do not bind the complainant, but will be binding on the other side.
There’s a guest post from the Financial Ombudsman.
Furniture and dispute resolution guest post.
The ADR appears to have let the flood gates open and the potential for an omnishambles of ombudsmen is upon us.
Film recorded for Citizen’s Advice:
Try to prevent many of the problems which arise with builders before using one.
1) Get 3 quotes and describe the job you need in detail.
2) Discuss the length of time the job will take. A rough price is an estimate and a fixed price a quote. If you don’t agree a price then the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 dictates that you are entitled to a “reasonable price”. That of course depends on the job and could be difficult to quantify, so always get a price agreed.
3) If it’s a large job get a contract drawn up. The Defective Premises Act 1972 provides a claimant with 6 years from the completion of the building work to make a claim if they consider the building to be defective. It relates to work undertaken by builders, developers, surveyors, architects etc. “Defective” is limited to work causing the property to be unfit for human habitation as a result of design, workmanship or materials. Improvement, small jobs and refurbishments are not covered by the Act but for services prior to October 1st 2015 you are covered by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 which entitle you to work undertaken with reasonable skill and care and within a reasonable length of time. For services after then, use the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
4) You can contact the Master Federation of Builders who will give practical advice and support to the general public on choosing and working with the right builder
5) The Painting and Decoration Association members either hold formal qualifications in painting and decorating (City & Guilds, NVQs etc.) or have a minimum of five years’ experience in the industry. They comply with the Association’s Code of Practice. In Scotland, the Scottish Decorators Federation members must comply with their Code of Conduct.
If you do have problems, see 6 Top tips for problems with builders/painters/decorators use the tips to complain and of course there is the book recently updated to cover the new Consumer Act 2015.