"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A letter to Direct Line

I am, to quote some TV sitcom that I vaguely remember seeing, a Woman on the Edge...
Let's see if I get any results from this letter. I certainly can't any other way.

Mr Darrell Evans,
Chief Customer Operator,
Direct Line Insurance,
Churchill Court,
Westmoreland Road,

Dear Mr Evans,

I am writing to you in the hope that you may be able to use your influence to bring about a statisfactory outcome to my extremely fraught dealings with Direct Line Car Insurance, as I seem to be making no progress at all through the normal channels.

At the end of April this year I did some research in order to renew my car insurance, due at the end of May and, having received a very reasonable quote from Direct Line, decided to buy from them. I paid the total amount and received the documents very quickly, in addition to a request for a Proof of No Claims Bonus letter and proof that an imobiliser was fitted to the vehicle. The NCB letter was duly dispatched and so was the paperwork that I had about the immobiliser, which, in all my forty years of driving, I have never before been asked for, I might add. Noticing on that paperwork that the car's number plate had been changed since the immobiliser was fitted (it is about 20 years old), I also sent the car's log book so that the VIN number could be checked as proof that this was indeed the same car.

As I had not had my documents returned by the end of May, as promised in the letter requesting them, I rang in early June to chase them up and was told that they 'had only just been received' which I translate into 'Because they were sent early, they have only just made their way onto our system' and I was told that they would be returned shortly. Unfortunately, we are now in mid-July and I am still waiting, which I presume means they are lost but that no-one is going to tell me so.

The other problem was that the proof of immobiliser which I had sent was deemed to be inadequate, as it was 'only the handbook for it'. If that is the case, it would not have had the previous registration number on it and VIN number on it. I was advised to take the car to a garage and ask them to provide written proof of the presence of an immobiliser, which I did. However, as the auto-electrician who provided the letter does not have headed notepaper and there was no information about the model of immobiliser on the actual immobiliser, this too was deemed to be unacceptable, even though he was able to guarantee that an immobiliser was fitted and working. Maybe if the documentation I orginally sent could be returned to me, I would have the model information and could provide it! (The conundrum of which comes first, the chicken or the hen, springs to mind.)

Every time I ring Direct Line, on an 0845 number, by the way, I am informed that 'We are experiencing an unusually high volume of calls' and that my call will be put in the dreaded queue. I might add that I have now found a way of circumventing that. If I choose the 'cancel policy' option, I get through to a living, speaking person straight away. A cynical person might choose to interpret that in a decidedly non-favourable way.

The last person I spoke to offered to open a complaint for me and did so, but I am still told I need proof of the immobiliser, albeit the headed notepaper demand has now been waived, and I STILL have not had my documents returned.

To add insult to injury, I was then emailed with an online customer satisfaction questionnaire, but it was concerning the lady with whom I last dealt. I had no problem with her handling of my problems. My complaint is with the fact that I have not had my documents returned and with the difficulty, not to say expense, of contacting Direct Line.

At present, I am one extremely dissatisfied customer and I am hoping that you will be able to instigate some action on my behalf. I await your response and thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,


David Oliver said...

It is a good letter. However, I would have added this:

P.S. I am posting a copy of this letter online.

Cro Magnon said...

Miracles do occasionally happen, but don't hold your breath. My advice would be to change your insurer at once! Is there one near you called 'No Bullshit Insurance Ltd'?

Flighty said...

I sympathise, sadly it's all too typical nowadays, and I hope that it all gets resolved soon. Flighty xx

Jennyta said...

I haven't sent it yet, David, so I could still do that. ;)

Jennyta said...

We are selling the car concerned, Cro, so we will be cancelling that insurance when we have sold - can't wait!

Jennyta said...

Thanks, Flighty.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Dear Ms Aspin,
We have passed your letter around the office and enjoyed a right laugh. The main assumption in your letter is that we might give a damn about our customers! We don't! We just want your money. Our systems are specially designed to deflect complaints or to tie whingeing customers like yourself up in knots so they won't be able to tell their arses from their elbows.
Yours hideously,
Darrell (aged 23)

Jenny - you have probably thought of this already > http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/

Jennyta said...

That will be my next step, YP...!

ZACL said...

You've heard, no doubt, that the esteemed organisation of which you have given the courtesy of your calls and the assumption that they can read, are in trouble. Except that, it is announced that they are streamlining their insurance business by dispensing with the about 2000 of their staff...(or was it 1000). A large number imho. It tells you a great deal.

I, for one, will be helping Direct Line work with a minimum amount of input. I won't be insuring through them!

Jennyta said...

I must have missed that item of news, ZACL. We have our home contents insurance with them too but that will be moving to another provider just as soon as it's due for renewal.


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