Sunday, June 15, 2008

A tale of insurance or no insurnace with Bennetts

I insured my motorbike on-line with Bennetts on 14th April this year (2008). Or at least I thought I had.... I have an Email confirmation telling me so...

After waiting a week for the certificate, and discovering that my insurance details were not on the UK database, I contacted them by telephone, and after a huge struggle, by Email, (Bennetts, we are told, can not accept Emails). This means WILL NOT receive Emails - plainly, they can...

Not having a certificate, and not being on the database, meant that the bike was not taxable, and therefore not useable. After more phone calls it transpired that the insurance certificate number on my confirmation of insurance was in fact incorrect - it was some other persons policy. It appeared that I had no insurance at all. Bennetts told me that their system had failed, and that I needed to re-apply and re-purchase insurance, and that they had not taken the money from the original application. Having lost two weeks use of the bike, I then made a second application, which went through fine.

However, the first payment was in fact taken - over £180. So I phoned the customer service people at Bennetts who could plainly see that they had made a mistake, and said that they would refund the money taken in error. But they did not. I have made repeated telephone calls to the help desk - the supervisor is almost invariably and conveniently in a meeting, and sorry, nobody else can help, but we will send an Email to the finance department, and they will refund your money, which we have incorrectly helped ourselves to... And no - you can't speak to the finance department directly, as thay are unable to take your call (of course - they do have a phone line so I guess that means that they REFUSE to take my call).

So now two months have gone by, by which time I conclude that Bennetts have decided to steal my money, as a refund should take as long to organize as the initial payment. Even the most charitable conclusion would include 'grossly incompetent and negligent' in the description. My last contact with Bennetts was 13th June 2008. I was told to expect a supervisor to call back. it is no surprise that I received no such call. And Bennetts still have my money.

The reason that this came to light is that the motorcycle was not taxed at the time the insurance was purchased – and insurance is required in order to obtain road tax. Had this not been the case, the problem would not have been noticed, and I would have been riding an uninsured vehicle. Many others may be doing just that as a result of the incompetence of this company. The help line operator said that many others had been affected in the same way. The company recognises the error, and has had plenty of time to refund the money. They have not done so, and have not returned my calls when they have promised to do so.

Peter Carnes

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