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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Jo C I wonder if you could advise me on a small insurance

Resolved Question:

Good Evening Jo C
I wonder if you could advise me on a small insurance matter please.
In brief, it concerns the insurance procedure that SKODA has established whenever a customer returns a courtesy/loan car that has been damaged (the degree of damage would appear to be irrelevant)
The narrative is as follows:
Recently, I was afforded the use of a courtesy car from SKODA Westover, Bournemouth whilst my own car, which I had recently brought from SKODA, was returned for a repair under warranty.
When I returned the courtesy car to collect my own vehicle, I noticed for the first time that there was some very slight damage to the front left panel.
I reported this damage immediately to the chap who was serving me, making no attempt to evade or misstate the facts. I indicated that the damage was almost certainly caused by a third party as I have absolutely no recollection of any impact to the car.
However, this aside I fully accepted that the vehicle was damaged whist under my watch and that some financial penalty would be imposed. I was, nonetheless, unprepared and surprised when an insurance excess of £500 was requested. To avoid any bad feeling, I paid the amount in full. It was quite apparent that this condition was not for discussion.
When I left the showroom I was left with the distinct impression that the matter was closed and no further contact from would be made. Also, surprisingly, I was not required to complete an accident report form. Thus, when I returned home and pondered on the brusque and seemingly offhand way I had been treated I decided to telephone SKODA to make representations and also to raise personal financial concerns about the levying of such a large amount of insurance excess (I am a 67 year old pensioner)
It was during this call that I realised that the £500 insurance excess that I had paid would not actually be forming part of a valid insurance claim but would instead either wholly or partially finance the damage to the vehicle.
To Joe Public this must feel very odd and incomprehensible, as many folk clearly understand that an insurance excess is clearly defined as an agreed sum of money, levied by the insurance company as a contribution towards the total cost of making a claim.
I am struggling to understand how it is possible for SKODA to levy an insurance claim on a customer with no intention of submitting an insurance claim.
In the final analysis I may possibly have to accept that SKODA have acted quite properly in this matter and all is well and above board, however it just feels underhand and dishonest.
In short can any company ask a customer to pay an insurance excess without making a valid claim.
I wrote to the Financial Ombudsman who replied saying that my enquiry is not something that is covered by their service. They did however remark that in their view SKODA may not have handled the situation in the most informative or best way to begin with.
They suggest I consider legal action if I wish to pursue the matter further.
Yours sincerely
Peter Jarvis
Yours sincerely
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 12 months ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Hi Nicola
Thank you for your holding message.I can confirm that I am more than happy to wait for an answer.Kind regardsPeter Jarvis
Expert:  Ash replied 12 months ago.

Hello Peter my name is ***** ***** I will help you.

For now please let me know whether you have been asked to pay anything?
Alex

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Hi Alex
Thank you for your message.
I am sorry but I do not understand your question when you ask whether I have been asked to pay anything.Payment to whom - SKODA? Just Answers? Third Party? Sorry to be so thickRegardsPeter
Expert:  Ash replied 12 months ago.

Sorry my fault for not being clear. Have you paid any excess to anyone?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi Alex
Thank you for your most recent message.In direct response to your question - Yes, I have paid £500 excess to SKODA insurance.It might be helpful if I outlined, briefly, exactly what my query is.I was recently afforded the use
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Please ignore prevous messageHi AlexGood afternoon.In response to your question:Yes, the amount of £500 was paid to SKODA under the entry: insurance excess. (See attached agreement)However, there is something that I wish to make clear at this point – this has nothing to do with money and I am not seeking any form of compensation.What I am seeking is legal clarification about the following point:Recently, I was afforded the use of a courtesy car from SKODA, Westover whilst my own car, which I had recently brought from SKODA, was returned for a repair under warranty.
When I returned the courtesy car about three days later, to collect my own car I noticed, for the first time, that there was some very slight damage to the front left panel.Putting aside the rights and wrong I fully agreed that the vehicle had been damaged while in my possession, but was, however, really astonished when the sum of £500 was requested for the insurance excess. I paid the amount in full.When I returned home I telephoned the showroom to raise my concern about the size of the excess, particularly when the damage was so small. It was during this conversation that I realised that money I had paid would not be forming part of an insurance claim as SKODA would not be informing the insurance company.And there lies my concern. Given that an insurance excess is clearly defined as …an agreed sum of money, levied by the insurance company as a contribution towards the total cost of making a claim .I am, therefore, struggling to understand, in this particular how an insurance excess can be levied without reference to the insurance company.I believe that most folk in this situation would automatically assume that a claim was being made. To the man in the street this must feel underhand, deceitful and falsified.I hope the aforementioned clarifies my positionRegardsPeter
Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.

Are they claiming anything in addition to the £500 or just this £500 from you for a 'non insurance' claim?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
As far as I am aware SKODA are not making any further claim.Just to confirm that I have paid a single amount of £500, which as you can see from the Courtesy Vehicle Agreement that I sent you under the heading Charge Details, this is recorded as an Insurance Excess. It has never been suggested either verbally or in writing that this amount was for a 'non insurance claim.As a point of interest a good friend of mine who is an insurance broker strongly suggested that loan car/courtesy car insurance should be processed in exactly same way as any other insurance ie claim minus excess = final payment.RegardsPeter
Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.

Yes thanks. What is it you want to achieve then if you don't want the £509 back?

Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.

£500

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi
Yes of course I would like my money back, but to achieve this I need to be sure of one legal point:Are SKODA legally allowed to take money from a customer under the heading of INSURANCE EXCESS if they have no intention (or need) to make an insurance claim. If the answer is no they do not then presumably I can seek redress. Until this point is clarified then I am stuck.Is it possible to clarify please?Regards
Expert:  Ash replied 11 months ago.

No, that is misrepresentation. They can only take money for the purpose it was intended, so if they didnt intend on making a claim, you didnt need to pay an excess.

You may have had to pay for a repair or contribution towards it though, as the damage was not spotted when it was booked out. Or in the alternative if they dont repair, the depreciation only because of that dent.

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Alex

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