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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70416
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have been paying by direct debit home insurance policy

Customer Question

I have been paying by direct debit for a home insurance policy for several years with Halifax home insurance.
Times have been tough and the policy has been expensive at £54 a month,so after looking around I found similar cover at a more affordable rate and purchased it.
My issue is, Halifax - when they send out a renewal quote state that if you wish to continue with the policy you need do nothing, as I did not respond to the renewal and did not authorise the continuance of the home insurance direct debit , does this mean that Halifax have a legal right to continue to debit my account until I contact them to cancel it
The policy was up for renewal 01-04-2015 I have cancelled it today 04-06-2015
Halifax say that they will stop the policy on 04-07-2015 - and that continuing to take a direct debit was and is legal
Yours
Eugene connolly
Belfast
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Does your original policy say that there is a roll over?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

On reading an insurance statement issued 06-03-2015 it states the if you happy that the answers shown are accurate and complete you don,t need to do anything - there's nothing to say on this statement or in the policy booklet that about roll over of any sort

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, but it will probably be in your original contract.
Ask them where it is if you are not sure. They are relying on it so should tell you where it is.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have had a telephone conversation with Halifax staff who state that because it says on the renewal (if you are happy with the contents of the policy statement you do not have to do anything) - they say that a non response is basically an affirmative to the continuance of a direct debit

it is my belief,a non reply should not be interpreted as a positive to continuing with debiting someone's bank account, and that what Halifax are doing is morally wrong - If I take out a policy for 12 months,its for 12 months, I dont expect Halifax to continue the policy because they have not heard from me. I am not seeking any financial remuneration,although they have returned one direct debit - its just that I feel a non response should not be seen as an agreement to continue persay

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It is not that simple.
It is certainly is right that a silence doesn't bind you to a contract.
The question though is whether or not there is a renewal clause in the original contract. If there is then the fact of silence does bind you. It used to be that they didn't even have to send out notifications but the OFT criticised them for that and they do now.
On the face of it, what they are saying does not allow them to charge you again. It is always possible though that you spoke to people who didn't understand the basis of their actions. They are probably not lawyers.
The practical reality though is that if you sued for the sum they charged then probably they would just give in because it isn't cost effective to defend it.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo