Last year, I wrote a blog entry about my car insurers, and how useless they were being following a minor (non-fault) bump I had been subjected to a few weeks earlier (https://middlerageddad.com/2018/05/04/minor-bloggywork-damage/)
I said at the time, it would probably be unwise of me to refer to my insurers by name, particularly when using phrases like ‘fucking incompetent’, but if I told you they share their name with a famous battle that took place in 1066, you may be able to work it out (clue: it’s not Aviva, although they are fucking incompetent too – oops). As a further clue, here is their logo, which I have doctored to preserve their anonymity:
Anyway, I try not to repeat blog topics wherever possible – particularly those which aren’t very popular – but since my (now former) insurers recently achieved the unthinkable, by achieving levels of incompetence even I didn’t think were possible, I felt it only right to bring matters to your attention. Not only will it be therapeutic for me (and cheaper than seeking professional help for my anger management), but it may prevent you – and any others you happen to warn – from ever insuring with this company in the future.
To make my dealings with Hastings more entertaining for you (oops again, although it’s not like you hadn’t worked out who they were – unless your knowledge of history is even worse than mine, and you were sat pondering whether there was ever a ‘Battle of Sheila’s Wheels’), I have chosen to dramatise our exchanges.
Part I – ‘The Renewal E-mail’
Hastings: Hello. Did you know your motor insurance is due for renewal next month? Don’t worry, though, because we’ll automatically assume you want to stay with us, and we’ll renew it for you when the current policy expires, for just a slightly increased premium.
Me: How much of an increase?
Hastings: Not much. Roughly double what you paid last year.
Me: Right, and why is that?
Hastings: Well, you did have that accident, didn’t you?
Me: You mean the accident which wasn’t my fault, where you authorised repairs to my car without my permission, still haven’t told me how much the repairs and hire car cost, ignored my e-mails for six months, have so far paid me compensation twice for the complaints I made about your shit company? The accident which still hasn’t been resolved a year later? That accident?
Hastings: That’s the one!
Me: And do you remember the last time I contacted you, when I said something along the lines of “you must be the worst company I have ever had the misfortune to deal with, so don’t bother contacting me when this policy expires, because I would rather insure my car with that Nigerian Prince who keeps emailing me?”
Hastings: Oh, yeah. We thought you were maybe joking, or that you might have changed your mind.
Me: I haven’t. Fuck off, and stick your renewal quote up your arse, because I don’t want any more to do with your company.
Hastings: Maybe we can do a deal? You know, reduce the premium for you?
Me: Unless you plan on halving it, there really isn’t any point. Besides, I warned you about this last year, when I said you should always offer your best quote from the start, not wait for the customer to get pissed off and threaten to leave before reducing it down.
Hastings: But we don’t want to lose you.
Me: Then you shouldn’t have been shit.
Hastings: Please? For old time’s sake? It’ll only take a few minutes.
Me: Fine. But this is your last chance.
Hastings: Thanks! You won’t regret this!
[Five minutes later]
Hastings: Good news! We’ve managed to reduce your premium!
Me: Right. Presumably you’ve reduced it by at least £200, otherwise you would have simply disconnected the call?
Hastings: Not exactly.
Me: Go on. How much?
Me: Fuck off, and never contact me again.
Part II – ‘The Expiry E-Mail’
Hastings: Hey there. Erm, we’ve renewed your policy for you, because it was due to expire today, but we’ve not been able to take that extortionate premium out of your account. What gives?
Me: You did WHAT?! I told you I didn’t want to renew my policy, and that I never want to hear from you again. I couldn’t have been any clearer. How could you possibly think that meant ‘please renew my policy automatically”?
Hastings: Well, we didn’t want you driving around without insurance. That’s an offence.
Me: I’m well aware of that, which is why I told you I had already insured my vehicle with another company. I’ll say again: I don’t want to insure my car with you ever again, I didn’t want you to renew my policy, and you better cancel it now.
Hastings: You’ll have to phone us for that. We can’t cancel by e-mail.
Me: I’m not spending my lunch break, at my own expense, waiting on hold to finally speak to someone who clearly failed their McDonald’s Entrance Exam. It’s your mistake, so fucking cancel it.
Hastings: Sorry, we can’t cancel via e-mail once it’s renewed.
Me: But I asked you to cancel it before it was renewed.
Hastings: Yes, but it’s renewed now. So, you’ll have to phone. You should be grateful, really. We were only trying to protect you so you didn’t drive around without insurance.
Me: I have insurance! Just because the policy isn’t with your shit-show of a company, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Hastings: Phone us.
Me: What happens if I don’t?
Hastings: We’ll keep trying to take the premium out of your account.
Me: Well, firstly, it’s a good job you didn’t manage to take the payment, because it would have sent me overdrawn, and then you really would be in trouble. Secondly, my bank card details changed last year, fortunately for you, so you can keep trying to take the payment all you like, it’s not going to work.
Hastings: Well, if we can’t take the payment, we’ll have to cancel your policy.
Me: GOOD! That’s what I want!
Hastings: So, will you phone us now?
Part III – ‘The Payment Call’
Hastings: Hi. It’s Hastings. Weird one, but we tried to take a payment for your new policy a few days ago, and it didn’t work. Can I take the long number from the front of your new card?
Hastings: Why not?
Me: Do you idiots not speak to each other? I told you weeks ago I don’t want to renew, then you automatically did it anyway –
Hastings: That was to protect you so you weren’t driving around without ins-
Me: Don’t interrupt me when I’m bollocking you. I said I didn’t want to renew, you ignored that, and thankfully my card details have changed so you couldn’t take the payment. Cancel. The. Fucking. Policy.
Hastings: You need to phone us for that. We can’t cancel by e-mail once the policy has automatically renewed.
Me: So you keep saying. Well, we’re on the phone now, aren’t we?
Me: So cancel the policy.
Hastings: Ah. I can’t. See, I work in the ‘chasing people for payments we aren’t entitled to’ department. You want the ‘we better cancel this poor bastard’s policy quickly, as he’s on the brink of driving down here with an axe’ department. I’ll transfer you through.
[Five minutes later]
Hastings: Hello, you’re through to the ‘we better cancel this poor bastard’s policy quickly, as he’s on the brink of driving down here with an axe’ department. How can I help?
Me: Cancel. My. Policy.
Hastings: Can I ask why? Something we did?
Me: Did your colleague not pass on any details?
Me: Jesus wept. Right. Accident last year, not my fault, you still haven’t resolved it, fixed my car without checking the cost with me first, put me in an expensive hire car without checking the cost with me first, dicked about for six months doing nothing, ignored my e-mails, sent me two cheques following complaints to apologise for being shit, wanted to renew my policy, I said not to, you did it anyway and tried to take a payment.
Me: Yes, ‘oh’.
Hastings: Well, I can transfer you through to the ‘utterly-hopeless-at-claims, claims team’ if you like?
Me: I wouldn’t waste your time.
Hastings: Ok. Well, I don’t deal with that side of the business, but what you probably don’t understand, because it is quite technical, is that claims can take some time.
Me: Look, before you patronise me about how long simple non-fault accident claims can take, sweet heart, maybe check your records to see what I do for a living.
Hastings: Erm, ok…… Ah, you’re a personal injury solicitor.
Me: Bingo. So, you can stop with all the lies about claims now.
Hastings: Shall we just cancel your policy then?
Me: What a splendid idea. Let’s do that.
Hastings: The thing is, there should be a charge for the four days of cover you’ve had….
Me: I beg your pardon?
Hastings: …but, as a gesture of goodwill, we we’ll waive it.
Me: I should bloody hope so.
Hastings: And we’ll waive the admin fee. Again, as a gesture of goodwill.
Me: How about this for a gesture of goodwill?
Hastings: I don’t understand.
Me: I’m sticking my middle finger up at you. In hindsight, I realise this is an entirely visual gesture.
Hastings: Well, that’s your policy cancelled. On behalf of Hastings, I’d like to thank you for your custom, and hopefully you’ll consider coming back to us next year…
Me: Not a chance.
Part IV – ‘The Survey Text’
Hastings: Based on your recent experience of Hastings, with 10 being ‘I love them!’ and 0 being ‘I hope they all rot in hell’, how would you rate the service you received?
Hastings: The figure must be between 0 and 10. It’s 10, isn’t it?
Hastings: Can we ask why?
I sincerely hope my new insurers perform better (not that they could offer a worse service, I suspect). Again, I won’t mention them by name, but let’s just say they’re an anagram of VL.
Thanks for reading x