Auroral

I’m Tim, Married to Helen and father of three incredibly beautiful princesses whom are also known as monkeys, rascals, pains in the posterior and the loves of my life who I’d move heaven and hell for! I’m also the head of sales and support over at Incsub, LLC for WPMU DEV.

Oh, and I’m an absolutely terrible and extremely inconsistent blogger, don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

Hastings Direct has to be the biggest con going, they are incompetent, useless and their staff seem uneducated. I called to complain once about their level of service and the customer service agent was to pass me through to customer relations, yeah he was so competent at his job that he passed me through to sales with an incorrect reference number for a new quote. Anyway, I’ve an active complaint going through with the Financial Ombudsmen, this letter should explain what has been happening, but to summarise:

I called Hastings Direct to check I could drive a car I was purchasing from ebay, they said yes. The police stopped me for no insurance. I requested a copy of the audio from the call. Many missed call backs, misinformation, wrong department transfers, lack of communication later I was starting to get annoyed. They finally said it would take them 28 days to investigate, we transferred our insurance over completely which cost of course. That passed so I called them and called them to finally learn they have 8 weeks to investigate a matter as per the Financial Ombudsmen’s regulations. 12 weeks later and still nothing from them so I took the complaint to the Financial Ombudsmen. Hastings Direct then cancelled my car insurance.

So they took payment to transfer my insurance from one car to another knowing their previous advice has given me 6 points pending on my license. They then cancel my insurance with no refund for driving with no insurance. I paid for the year upfront. Lying, cheating, dishonest thieves. Why take more money from me and then cancel my car insurance, its rhetorical, their thieves I know!

I still have 6 points pending and they are refusing to provide me audio despite me quoting the Data Protection Registry and the Freedom Of Information Act. My life now rests on the outcome of the Financial Ombudsmen investigation, I just hope they see the clear pattern of neglect and incompetence with regards to how Hastings Direct has unprofessionally dealt with my issue.

Here’s the letter:

25th November 2010

Your reference:

Recently as your aware I made a complaint against Hasting Direct regarding a matter where they misinformed me, chose to delay their correspondence to me, failed to give me numerous promised call backs, failed to respond in their 28 days to resolve a complaint, failed to respond and resolve my complaint in the 8 weeks allotted by the Financial Ombudsmen. I believe they have shown deception, clear neglect of their duties, incompetence and fraud after taking my money to change a policy and then cancelling the policy shortly afterwards.

Originally I stated to Hastings Direct that if this problem was resolved and they gave me a copy of the recording or a letter to indemnify me they I would take no legal action and I would be happy to sign something stating that. I’m now contemplating suing them for the damage they are causing my family and myself both physically and mentally.

I will document in this letter a chronological order of events:-

6th August 2010:
I contacted Hastings Direct on two occasions firstly to confirm if they could e-mail or fax a copy of my motor insurance if I required it for the purpose of taxing a new vehicle, at this time I was looking at a couple of different cars. I stated that I was aware of a regulation change in April 2010 which allows companies to send these documents out electronically. I was informed by their customer service adviser that they could not e-mail the documents but they could fax them for a charge of £10.

After finding a possible vehicle on e-bay which already had tax I then called to ask if I could drive the vehicle back from Wrexham under my insurance to which I was informed I could. On this basis I made arrangements with the seller to pick the vehicle up however the seller was currently away that weekend and on the Monday my wife and I were going camping for 5 days and so we left collection of the vehicle until Sunday the following week.

I was not informed I could not drive the vehicle without a third party owning it and insuring it. Its a ridiculous notion that I would risk driving a vehicle without insurance especially when the cost to change it was only £1 to £2.

15th August 2010:
On rout back from Wrexham I was stopped by Cheshire Police and was subsequently informed I had no insurance, they called Hasting Direct to check that I could drive it and was informed by the customer service agent I could not and thus ceased the vehicle.

16th August 2010:
Approximately 8am I called Hastings Direct to have the policy changed over for a fee of £1 to £2 including an admin because the insurance was cheaper it resulted in most of the total cost being covered. I informed them I would need a copy of the insurance faxing to Warrington Police Station so that I could recover the vehicle at a cost of £150. The lady said something along the lines of “Are you aware there will be a charge” to which I replied along the lines of “Yes, I was informed last week it would cost £10 to fax a copy”. I’d already made these enquiries in the original phone calls where I was deceived.

I arrived at the Police station a couple of hours later to find out that Hastings Direct could not be bothered to send the Police a copy of my insurance certificate.

I called Hastings Direct at approximately 10:50am to 11:30am to complain and request another copy of my motor insurance, the young gentleman on the phone was more accommodating this time and took the time to resolve the matter, he also called me back to confirm it had gone though and apologised that it had not been done previously but the previous customer service agent had not added notes on the system to explain what had happened and so he could not comment on the situation. More of my time wasted because most the staff of Hastings Direct seem incapable of performing simply tasks

During the first phone call at 8am I requested for a copy of the call recording so that I could vindicate my name to which the young lady replied “We only record most phone calls” to which I responded “I don’t want most phone calls, I want the call recording of my conversation regarding the misinformation I was given”. She said there would be another charge of £10 to which I agreed.

In the afternoon I received a callback from a lady in Hastings Direct informing me that Hastings Direct were under no obligation to provide the recording as it already states in my policy small print that I would not be insurance to drive another vehicle third party which I own, and it would also need to be insured by a third party. I responded quoting the Freedom Of Information Act and the Data Protection Registry that I’m entitled to a copy of the recording and any information which they hold on their systems pertaining to me. She then placed me on hold whilst referring to a manager, I was then informed that this had to be refereed and someone would call me back that day or the next.

17th August 2010:
After receiving no call back I decided to call them only to informed by another young lady that my initial request and complaint had not been escalated and that I should have been passed to Customer Relations not Customer Services, which is something that occurred again and again in later days and weeks.

So their investigation into my complaint was delayed as confirmed by the agent on this phone call, she stated that someone in in Customer Services should have transferred me to Customer Relations because Customer Service was not equip to deal with such a matter. So more lies, misinformation and clear patter of incompetance.

I requested someone call me back who is handling the case now to let me know what is happening.

19th August 2010
I received no call back, and so I called to check the progress to be told that the complaint had now been escalated and that it could take up to 28 days until they have an answer.

30th September 2010
I called to check the outcome as I had heard nothing despite me asking specifically to be kept informed either through letter or a call back, the person on the phone was not very forthcoming and couldn’t really give me anymore information other than her own name and that they could go over the 28 days and anything up to 8 weeks as allowed by the FSA, Financial Ombudsman.

1st November 2010:
I received a letter informing me that they were cancelling my motor insurance with them but still no correspondence about my complaint, thus they acted without resolving the matter leaving me without insurance, heightened premiums with other insurers due to cancellation of my insurance, 6 points pending on my licence with a £200 fine and £150 release fee from the impound for my car.

Further more I pay yearly for my insurance and they charged me to change my car insurance to the new car knowing that I had 6 points pending. I’ve had no refund for the remainder of my policy and taking money from me to change the policy and then cancelling it afterwards without refund is fraud and deception. Why change the policy and charge me money if they were only going to cancel it without concluding their investigation or informing me of any outcome. That is pure evil, my wife and I are currently going through IVF, our one chance to have a child and this company, Hastings Direct are doing everything in their power to ruin our lives, we can’t get to hospital now without relying on others, this is putting a huge amount of strain on our lives and without a car if we miss an appointment then we could miss our chance.

As a man who has a clean criminal history, a clean driving licence of over 10 the life of my driving history, a clean PSV licence for professionally driving large vehicles, a person who stops at the side of the road to assist people, help the emergency services, call the police, you know a decent honest man who tries to do right and has always had tax and car insurance I find it disgusting they treating me like this!

I would never have risked my licence, my life to drive uninsured, I could never have lived with myself if there had been an accident through a fault of my own and my insurance was not there to help the other person and their family should it be needed, and I most certainly would not have risked it for the sake of £1 or £2 to change the cover over, that’s ridiculous on so many levels!

After receiving the cancellation I then tried calling them and was given numerous promises of a call back which I did not get, in addition to my complaint being passed to the sales department to handle. Quite clearly their staff are ill trained and incompetent in their actions.

3rd November 2010
I called them to complain about the letter informing me that my insurance would be cancelled. I requested the Customer Relations department but was informed the person I needed was in a training session that day and that they would call me back the following day.

4th November 2010
No call back again!

5th November 2010
I allowed the person all Tuesday to call me back but they failed and so I called them once again to be told by an adviser that their manager would e-mail the person investigating my case and that they would call me back that day.

6th November 2010
Still no call back and so I called once more to complain, only to be told that the department I require does not open on weekends, the agent then said there was nothing he could do other than what has already been done and that was to e-mail the person investigating the matter again. He stated that this could only end up delaying the matter though as the more e-mails sent the more time it takes to go through them. Lets be honest with ourselves here, that really is lie because if they dealt with the e-mails in chronological order then if they had been reading their e-mails they would have called me before getting to the second one.

I then contacted yourselves, the Financial Ombudsmen to lodge a complaint because now it had been some 12 or 13 weeks.

11th November – 1:15PM
After opening the complaint with yourselves I called them to inform them I had done so, as usual I requested for the Customer Relations department, the customer service agent seemed reluctant at first, I explained the complaint and I used words like “Your ruining our lives” to which he replied “I’m not ruining your life” my was response was along the lines of “Look you are representing this company, when I refer to you, I refer to you as a company not an individual” I guess I assumed some level of intelligence where Hastings Directs staff could differentiate between professional and personal because I certainly was not attacking him I’m mealy frustrated at their lack of willingness to resolve this situation in a timely manner, I guess those assumptions were wrong.

This customer service agent then told me he would need to transfer me through to the right department, Success!!!

At least I thought so until the next lady answered, and guess which department she was in?

Customer sales, why would customer sales need to deal with the situation? They don’t, I complained though and she apologised and said there was nothing she could do unless I wanted a quote. I complained and was then told she would have it referred and someone would call me back.

No call back again!!

They have my mobile, my land line number and in one of the conversations I gave them my wife’s mobile number. They also have my address so if they couldn’t contact me for any reason (which there is no reason) they could mail me, I also believe that when I set the policy up I did it on-line originally (this year was a renewal) and so they should have my e-mail address also.

This is not acceptable by any standard!

After contacting yourselves I have now finally received a reply which pretty much stats they don’t have the recording however in previous phone calls they made reference to the recording. In fact on the 16th August 2010 when they did call me back they stated “We will not give you a copy of the recording”. I suspect they have it and are covering for a friend who gave me ill advice as well as covering their own backs against legal action, why keep stalling me all this time, why keep putting me off, why keep telling me they only record most calls, telling me I can’t have a copy of the recording even though I would have been paying for it, why avoid my calls, not send me any correspondence pertaining to the matter at hand, why did it take a complaint to the FSA and Financial Ombudsmen to actually get them to do something. I now believe their deceit and dishonesty through all this that they have deleted the audio, I’m informed that if I take legal action I could have a forensic investigation into their computer systems, I realise it would be costly at first but once my innocence is proven I could claim all that back in addition to much more in compensation.

That said, I’m a decent guy and would rather sort this matter amicably. I believe if they provide me a letter or the audio recording so I can present this to the police to clear my name and to clear the 6 points thus indemnifying me in addition to covering the costs I’ve incurred so far, reinstate my policy, refund me for the time I’ve not been insured and refund me for the wasted time on my car tax then I’m happy to drop the matter. Remuneration for the time I’ve spent chasing them all the time to resolve matter

I’ve been through the legal systems successfully suing a company for incompetence in the past I know it is rather time consuming and I really want to avoid this option but if thats the only choice I have then I guess I will.

I believe that a judge will see a clear pattern of incompetence and neglect, I also believe I would be in good standing with my clean and untarnished record for both criminal and motoring convictions, I realise a judge could give a court order forcing the surrender of all phone call recordings they have which will also demonstrate a clear pattern of misguidance, incompetence and neglect.

I really hope you can help me resolve this situation amicably.

Kindest Regards
Timothy Bowers

Through out all this I believe I’ve been made to feel like a criminal from the first instance of being stopped by the police to collecting my vehicle from the impound. I found the police rude, he gave me permission to call my mother so I could I explain what was happening and then gave me permission to take a call from my brother again to explain what was happening, he spoke over me rudely and abruptly. I complained about the matter but the officer that called me back seemed to think it was because I was being to emotional. All I did was explain to my mother and brother on the phone that I’d been stopped for no insurance and that the police officer could not allow me to proceed, the officer took this as me accusing him of being at fault, he said I was blaming him for me having no insurance. Well my mother and brother as my witness saw this as me simple telling them that he was doing his job, I wasn’t blaming him. It was my insurance company at fault.

The police a law unto themselves eh…. That and their tactics of steeling laptops (see my other blog) I really doubt I will ever help the police again, what’s the point? RESPECT MY AUTHORITAAAAAAAAAAAY – As Eric Cartman from South Park would say.

At the moment we can’t drive the car as we have no insurance, insurance will now cost me over £1200+ (one quoted £4500) because I have to tell them I have 6 points pending and I’ve had my insurance cancelled in the past! Feels like I’m a teenager again with this rip off prices.

**Warning Strong Language Follows**

The wife and I were going through IVF throughout all of this, this stress we don’t need so Merry Fucking Christmas Hastings Direct you lying, thieving twats!!

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