I’m fed up of being ripped off and even more fed up of my vulnerable, sometimes a bit confused Mum & Dad being ripped off.
My parents live in an upstairs apartment and have a stair lift as my Mum can no longer manage the stairs. At the end of the 12 month warranty, the company wrote to my Mum trying to sell her stupidly expensive insurance of nearly £200 ($300) a year for servicing and in case of breakdown. The tone of the letter was worrying and implied if you didn’t take out the insurance the world would cave in. I rang the company to discover she didn’t have to take out the insurance and could have the lift serviced for £70 ($110) a year which is what happened. This week the lift, which is only 30 months old, broke down. Mum rang the company who are charging her £150 just to come and look at it “because she isn’t insured”. WTF. They can spend an hour servicing it for £70 but are charging twice as much just to come and look at it now it’s broken down. I did get quotes from two other companies, who would charge £55 and £65 respectively, but both their engineers were on holiday and couldn’t come out for at least another week which is no good to my Mum. How can these people sleep at night? They are dealing with elderly, vulnerable, sick human beings. I will be complaining and will refuse to pay the bill when it arrives particularly as the bloody lift has never been right since the day it was installed.
My parents also have insurance to cover their washing machine, fridge/freezer and dishwasher. They pay about £150 ($235) a year and have done for 10 years yet have never claimed on their policy. This spring my Mum discovered a disgusting smell coming from her sink and to cut a long story short I found that the smell was coming from the drain hose at the back of the washing machine. But the machine is integrated and the hose is moulded to the back, so I couldn’t fix it. She is insured and got the company to send out an engineer, who didn’t even pull the machine out despite being told we knew what the problem was. He ran the machine through a wash cycle, declared it working fine, said the smell was coming from the outside drain (in an upstairs flat?!) and left. I then had to get a Bosch engineer out to fix the bloody thing, costing my parents £70. Needless to say I have now cancelled the insurance and have made a formal complaint to claim the money back my parents paid for the independent engineer.
My dog Bertie is insured at a cost of £17.50 ($27) a month with Tesco. I made a claim this year for approx £180 ($280). I paid the first £120 ($187) due to excess charges, so Tesco only paid out £68 ($108) then put next year’s premium up by a whopping £244 ($380), getting back three times what they’d paid me. I am now in the process of complaining to the Financial Ombudsman – being penalized for using a product for the very purpose it is bought is just bloody outrageous. Do they give people who never claim a 2/3ds refund? No they sodding well do not.
And now the Government want us to work another seven years, knowing there is more chance we will get sick as we age, yet not insisting the insurance industry cover us against illness until we retire.
I despair of the greed. I despair of the Government who don’t seem to give a crap about the very people they are elected to “look after”. I am ashamed to live in a country which allows its citizens to be treated like a commodity. I feel sick at the way elderly people are looked upon as a “soft touch” there to be ripped off for another’s financial gain. Do these people not have parents of their own? Do they think they will never be old and losing their mental faculties? At the same time I despair at the complacency of UK citizens. Why don’t we complain more? If every person who was ripped off by insurance took the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman the sheer volume would force them to act on a national scale. Despite advertising on several sites about the PHI issue I’ve had one response. One! Come on Britain, stop acting like a bloody doormat and DO something.