How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
75100385
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

September 2010 I lodged a complaint with our household insurer

Resolved Question:

September 2010 I lodged a complaint with our household insurer about a claim with them for clearance of an oil spill which occurred 06/01/2009. Our complaint was that the insurer created inexcusable delays in deciding what to do. The loss adjustor sent 2 days after the spill said he'd not dealt with an oil spill before and told me to look in the policy booklet and let him know if I found anything which covered us (which it did). Restricted by the insurer's delays, the specialist oil cleansing company came 17 days after the spill which they said was too late. Due to the delay and position of the oil tank they said it was likely the oil would travel to the neighbouring property. Soon after I received a letter dated 08/04/2009 from my insurers stating they would pay for the removing or preventing any of the spillage causing damage to our buildings, but not cover for the cost of the spill spreading to the neighbouring property or land, and said it was my responsibility to ensure that such a spread does not occur. I wrote that on no account would I be held responsible for this, we were untrained and given no guidance from the insurers and supplier, who themselves weren't able to stop the spread.

Later a second pump was refused when high levels of oil were detected near our house, and failed to treat the matter as an emergency as advised by the oil contractors. The lack of action adversely affected the extent of the spill, resulting in our water supply becoming contaminated, had to be dug up, the temporary supply froze, the permanent supply not installed until January 2010.The job took 17 months as opposed to 3- 6 months for an average residential spill. Little oil was retrieved.

22/11/2010 we escalated the complaint, It was found in our favour. The insurer agreed ' the claim could have been dealt with a lot better. Had this been the case it would have ensured a speedy settlement and eliminated any risk of you being exposed to uneccessary inconvenience and distress. The claim was badly mismanaged in terms of scope of repairs and length of time it took to finalise'. They paid an amount of money.

3 years 5 months later our new neighbour detected an odour, the Water Board confirmed his water supply was contaminated with oil from our spill. My neighbour made a claim from our insurance for installation of a new water supply .In response to a letter from my insurance Litigation claims handler who asked me to provide information as to what measures I took to stop the oil, I listed all the chasing up I'd done to get the claim moving, noting the problems caused by their poor service. They paid for my neighbour's new water supply but didn't reply to me questioning about clearing the oil.

When I first heard of this claim from my neighbour, I asked my insurer's Customer Service dept how long can we have anyone coming back to me about this claim. They said 6 years, but as the neighbour's claim came within that time, the 6 years started again in 2012. meaning if nothing else crops up, we won't be clear of this situation until 2018 at the earliest. By then my husband and I will be 80 and 75 respectively, and would want to down size as our garden and house will be too much for us then. We know from the environment agency that this spill will come up on searches. Should we wish to sell we have the Decontamination certificate to show for this.

If we wanted to sell our house before 2018, could you please explain the following?
a)would we have to declare we have further years to go re the 6 year period?
b)would this 6 year period put off buyers, making our house unsaleable?
c)I've received a letter from the Land Contamination officer from our local council who'd become partially involved in a very minor way during the claim.(He told me he has no power to order any companies to do work, but a letter from him can help to move things along).

I am perturbed with his letter which speaks of the 'remediation was on-going or had failed' and writes.... 'if the land is not cleaned up....we will require the person responsible for the pollution to clean up the damage'. This could cost thousands of pounds which we couldn't afford. We would have to involve the insurers due to their poor handling of the case. Does the 6year period apply to everyone, including the council, or would it not apply to the council?

Your help would be much appreciated

DMJ
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Have you complained to the Ombudsman yet please?

Customer:

Last week I spoke on the phone to the ombudsman's office, they sent me their forms after I'd given a basic outline of my complaint. I'd sent a complaint to my insurers and was surprised they immediately escalated it, Their reply was therefore their final answer, even though the person said they didn't understand what I meant.. My questions to you re the 6 year period are because I want to be accurate in what I say when submitting my reply to them, as to how that might be a problem should we wish to sell our house some time in the future.. I gave a basic outline of my complaint to the

Customer:

Hello Alex, Thank you for your message. Sorry, last few repeated words of my reply I meant to delete, but it whizzed off before I could do so.

Alex Watts :

I would usually advise you take the following steps:

Alex Watts :

1) Complain directly to the insurer

Alex Watts :

But it sounds like you have already done this and got a final response

Alex Watts :

2) Once you have this the next step is the Ombudsman

Alex Watts :

They are independent and free and offer an investigatory service

Alex Watts :

Their website is: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Alex Watts :

If they do not uphold your complaint then the only option is Court:

Alex Watts :

3) For this you would need to write to the insurer and set out your losses.

Alex Watts :

You should to write and set out your losses and ask for a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court. Make sure you send this recorded delivery and keep a copy.

If they refuse then you can issue proceedings which can be done online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by competing form N1 at: https://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf


The Court will then issue the claim which will be sent to the seller and they will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce it. If the matter is defended it will be set down for a hearing. If the losses are £10,000 or less then it will be a small claim and you do not need representation.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Hello Alex,

Alex Watts :

Hello

Customer:

Thank you for your reply. How I can find out the answers to the 3 queries I made re the 6 year saga please? I'd like to know where I stand re this for my own peace of mind, and would like to include facts about it in my response to the Ombudsman. They are namely a)would we have to declare we have further years to go re the 6 year period? b)would this 6 year period put off buyers, making our house unsaleable?Does the 6year period apply to everyone, including the council, or would it not apply to the council?

Alex Watts :

You can ask for information under the Data Protection Act. But they only have to keep records for a 'reasonable time' which is normally around 5-6 years.

Alex Watts :

You can't claim beyond 6 years because of the Limitation Act 1980.

Alex Watts :

But Data Protection - yes 6 years applies to everyone

Alex Watts :

Does that assist?

Customer:

Hello, yes that helps a lot. Thank you so much. DMJ

Alex Watts :

 


If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.


Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.


 


Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Jo C.

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/EM/emus/2015-7-7_192327_bigstockportraitofconfidentfemale.64x64.jpg Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/BE/benjones/2015-12-1_0437_ennew.64x64.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11553
    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/BU/Buachaill/2012-5-25_211156_barrister5.64x64.jpg Buachaill's Avatar

    Buachaill

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    1754
    Barrister 17 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    894
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/UK/UKLawyer/2012-4-12_9849_F2.64x64.jpg UK_Lawyer's Avatar

    UK_Lawyer

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    750
    I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    402
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8199
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice