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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I took insurance out against computer breakdown in 2011,have

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I took insurance out against computer breakdown in 2011,have paid the premiums to the present.When I had a problem with the computer I was told that as the computer was not from a major manufacturer but a smaller computer business, something they did know at the time they sold me my insurance, they have said I am not covered at all. They have paid me back the premiums I paid but I feel that this is not satisfactory and there should be some recompense due for the mis selling , the fact that I would not have known I was not covered if there had not been a problem. The simple get out of we have given you your premiums back and now forget all about it just seems wrong

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Did they ask the question as to what make the computer was when you bought the insurance or is there some term or condition somewhere that you agreed to at that time that it must be from a major manufacturer?

How do they define "major manufacturer"? You probably don't know the answer but it's an interesting question.

How much will it cost to repair?

Did the insurer and the computer come from the same seller as whoever supplied the computer?

How much will the computer cost to fix?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No they did not ask me who the manufacturer of the computer was at the time,they asked how much was paid and how old it was.At that point it was 9 months old, about to come out of the retailers 1 year guarantee.I had previously had insurance against my previous computer , that again was from an independent retailer. Ihad decided to terminate the insurance on the older computer and insure the newest one.This was explained at the time to the Domestic and General agent..They have a rule not to insure what they term custom build computers, which is what they class machines from independent retailers.This was their policy at the time of selling me the insurance and it does not mention this anywhere in the policy nor was it mentioned to me at the time of selling.


A major manufacturer is someone like Dell,HP,Packard Bell etc


The problem seems to be an intermittent one and at the moment I am not doing anything about it as I emigrate to the US on the 30th April and the computer would have been sold secondhand or passed to a family member


The retailer had nothing to do with selling the insurance



The company is in breach of the provisions of the Supply of Goods and Services Act for failing to carry out the job with reasonable care and skill or indeed at all!

If they have a rule that they do not ensure custom-built computers, it must be told to you at the time or must be in the conditions that you sign because you cannot be bound by any terms or conditions that you are not aware of.

I appreciate what a major manufacturer is what it would be interesting to know at what stage a minor manufacturer becomes a major manufacturer because there are many mainstream manufacturers which are not household names.

I obviously cannot do anything about you emigrating to the United States and this warranty would not pass on to a family member unless it says in the terms and conditions that it can do.

Obviously you emigrating causes certain practical problems because the only remedy here is for you to either get the computer fixed and then sue the insurance company or make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

Neither of those are going to be quick and as I said earlier, they would both have to be dealt with by you and not by a family member.

There is no reason why the computer cannot remain in the UK and you could refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman wherever you live so that the eventual decision is dealt with by the family member.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The company terminated the insurance and I have no problem at all in dealing with the matter from the US as I can leave the machine in the safe keeping of a family member here.The annoyance to me was that the insurance company seemed to think it was perfectly in order to have taken the premiums and when they found the policy had been mis sold by them to pay the premiums back, wash their hands of my end of the problem and tell me the mis selling would be dealt with internally.I maintaned that there should be some recompense other than just the repaying of the insurance premiums for the time and trouble I am being put to now added to this of course I could have put £300 in the bank rather than pay it to them over the last 30 months.Is this likely tbudsmano be so,if it is I will take up the matter with the Ombudsman or a solicitor. Which would be your advice?

I agree with the you completely. They cannot miss sell your insurance and then decide that they should not have let you have it because of some internal error.
Imagine it was car insurance and there had been a serious accident!
They cannot get out of this by simply brushing it under the carpet and giving you your money back.

However if you have paid £300 in premiums, it may actually not cost that much to fix the computer so the first thing to do in any event is find out how much it is going to cost because regardless of what the amount is, that will form the basis of your complaint.

Even assuming the repair cost you £300 and you have your £300 back, you are in the position that you would have been had the breach not occurred so you have no claim there but I think you do have a complaint to put to the Financial Ombudsman and the right to have some compensation for being treated so shabbily.

Presumably this claim would be under £10,000 and therefore it would be Small Claims Court and even if you use solicitors, you would not recover those legal costs even if you win.

For that reason, it is simply not viable to use solicitors, and I would just refer it to the Ombudsman
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