Do you know your #consumerrights when buying goods and services? be a #informed consumer.The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
#consumerrights have changed,before you #spend on #blackfriday #christmas do you know what they are?and how your protected?
UNIQUE #FORD SUIT HELPS TEACH #YOUNG PEOPLE THE DANGEROUS EFFECTS OF #DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ILLEGAL #DRUGS
‘We gotta quit relying on the dashboard light’: Why scans are more important than ever for collision repair
Insurers cash in on your crashEver wondered why insurance companies favour certain garages? Harry Wallop staged his own accident to find out
Harry Wallop and Neil Kennett
7:40AM GMT 05 Jan 2013
On a cold December morning in a car park, I smashed my VW Polo into the back of an old Volvo, causing nearly £2,000 worth of damage to my car. Parking never was my strong point.
However, actually behind the wheel was Jim, an expert driver who has worked as both James Bond and Indiana Jones's stunt double. And our exercise was to put the car insurance market to the test, as part of aDispatches documentary on Channel 4.
Along with most drivers, I've seen my car insurance premiums creep up steadily in recent years – well above the rate of inflation. Over the past four years the average annual premium has increased by 89pc to £840, according to the AA.
Whenever I have made inquiries, insurance companies have told me that it is not their fault.
First, there was the scandal of false whiplash claims. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), every year 570,000 people put in claims for whiplash – an injury that is notoriously difficult to prove or disprove. This drives up premiums by a total of £2bn, adding £90 to the average driver's premium. Fraudulent motorists are to blame and the good guys pick up the tab, the insurance industry insists.
Then in 2011 Jack Straw, the former Lord Chancellor, exposed what he called the legal industry's "dirty little secret" – the "racket" of paying referral fees to insurance companies, or their agents, in return for being passed business. Again, it is the ambulance-chasing lawyers to blame, not the insurance companies.
However, evidence is increasingly emerging that a more systematic problem is bedevilling the industry. So we decided to crash my Polo in order to analyse how the system works.
The first thing nearly every driver does when involved in a crash, even a minor kerbside prang – and there are 125,000 car park incidents every year – is to call their insurance company. The telephone call was revealing. Although the call handler was very helpful, they made it clear that I should drive my car all the way back home, an hour away, to have it mended by their "approved" garage – even though I had taken it to a VW specialist around the corner from the accident.
Why should I drive it back down the motorway? For a start, I was told my local approved garage would be able to offer me "perks", possibly including a courtesy car and free valeting. If I went to the VW specialist, the repairs would not be fully guaranteed, I was told.
I did not realise it, but I was being "steered", as the industry calls it.
Andrew Moody, a former panel beater and now a motoring barrister at Retail Motor Law, said: "With a few clever words from a claims handler the customer will be steered into an approved repairer network, where the focus is firmly on maximising profit for the insurer. In some cases asking to go outside the network might trigger a £200 'non-approved repairer excess' fee. Most consumers are not even aware they have a choice in any of this."
If an insurance company can mend your car in one of their approved garages they can control the costs of that repair. This sounds a reasonable proposition – most drivers would want costs to be kept down if it meant their premiums being reduced.
However, some body shop owners and car makers are concerned that because insurance companies and their agents are primarily concerned about keeping costs down, the safety of drivers is potentially being compromised.
Body shop owners would speak to us only off the record, but Volvo, on its own website, states: "Insurance companies are reducing costs by having non-genuine parts fitted or panels repaired rather than replaced, which may compromise the car's safety integrity." A spokesman for the ABI strongly denied that drivers' safety was ever compromised.
In contrast, when you are the not-at-fault driver – and the insurance company passes on the bill to a rival firm – costs are driven up unnecessarily, it would appear.
Documents submitted by Ford to the Competition Commission, which has started to investigate the industry, suggest that the average price of a repair for a not-at-fault car is £1,530, compared with £1,375 for an at-fault car. Many experts believe that the discrepancy is far wider, however.
When your car is not the one at fault, the insurer does all within its power to grab a slice of the higher costs. The clearest demonstration of this practice is with paint. We spoke to a number of garage owners who said they were forced – or "mandated", in the euphemistic term – to use more expensive paint when mending a not-at-fault car. Each time they did this the insurer got a "rebate" from the paint company.
The body shop owners said the quality of the paint between the expensive brands and cheaper ones was very similar.
In his submission to the Competition Commission, Brian Hecks, who was a major paint distributor, said: "In some cases identical products are supplied [by manufacturers] for each [paint] brand. Brands that are approved by insurance companies, motor manufacturers or claims handlers have experienced greater price rises than other equivalent products that are not approved."
It is not just paint. Insurance companies can receive rebates every time a certain brand of sandpaper or computer software is used.
It is unclear exactly how much money they make from this income stream. Hopefully, the Competition Commission will uncover more details. But Robert Macnab of Trend Trackers, an industry analyst, reckoned that rebates ran to well over £100m a year.
A spokesman for the ABI said: "It is a dysfunctional system and we welcome the Competition Commission inquiry. We've always said referral fees should be banned. Do insurers have commercial arrangements with suppliers to minimise costs? Yes, but drivers shouldn't lose out."
The market certainly is dysfunctional if insurers frequently lose money on actually insuring your car but make a profit from insisting that garage owners use a certain brand of paint or sandpaper. It is a strange state of affairs.
And, as is so often the case, it appears to be the consumer who loses out.
I would like as much as help as you can all give me! i need #consumer input on how you feel having none manufacturer parts fitted to your vehicle..#void warranty & your car had lost value.
Have you had an insurance claim on your vehicle?has the insurance company fitted none original(not from the manufacturer)parts to your vehicle?
Has it voided the manufacturer warranty ?the anti corrosion warranty?
Has it devalued your vehicle if it no longer has the warranty? these are all question that no one seems to have the answer too! we need input from consumers to find out what they know and how the feel about having none original parts fitted.
Did you know that your insurer may be putting your lives at risk by fitting parts that may not perform in the same way as the manufacturer intended. PLEASE SHARE THIS ON FACEBOOK , TWITTER and LINKEDIN.. please leave comments on here.
New figures released suggest the cost of ‘crash for cash’ fraud has dropped by almost £60 million in the last three years following a major crackdown by insurers and the police, forcing insurance cheats to change tack.
Man breaks into Porsche by slashing its roof and climbing in, what a #doughnut, he could have popped the studs off....
The department has worked with the insurance industry to produce a consumer guide to better inform and protect the public when purchasing a used vehicle, especially one that has previously been declared a write-off. The Guide was issued today and below is the wording:
Getting a good deal when buying a used vehicle can be difficult. Often a vehicle’s history and true structural condition can be hard to ascertain, and this may lead to you being sold a vehicle that is faulty or overvalued.
One important thing to consider is the possibility that a used vehicle may previously have been ‘written off’, and the impact that this has on the value and quality of the vehicle.
The process of a vehicle being declared a total loss, commonly referred to as a ‘write off’, is widely misunderstood.
Insurance total losses can be divided into two categories:
- an actual loss
- a constructive loss.
An actual loss is where a vehicle cannot or should not be repaired (category A or B), these will not be re-registered by DVLA.
A constructive loss is one where the vehicle could be repaired but the cost of doing so would exceed the replacement value of the vehicle (category C or D).
A more detailed description of this process is laid out in the insurers’ code of practice on vehicle salvage. The code is currently in the process of being reviewed, and any changes that are agreed will begin to be implemented towards the end of 2016.
Vehicles that are deemed an actual loss should never be repaired and returned to the road. Even if they look like they have been repaired, the structural damage they have incurred makes them unsafe to drive.
However, vehicles classed as a ‘constructive loss’ may often be subsequently repaired by a body shop or vehicle salvage operation and will often then be available to be purchased and returned to the road.
There is nothing wrong with buying a ‘written off’ vehicle that has been returned to a good condition. Indeed, often this represents good value for money.
However, it is crucial that you are able to make an informed choice about whether you want to purchase a vehicle that has previously been written off.
If you are buying a written off vehicle the cost of insuring it can be more expensive. Not all insurers will automatically provide cover for vehicles that have been previously written off.
There are a number of tips to follow in order to ensure you are getting a good deal:
• Check the vehicle carefully
─ Check that the vehicle has been properly repaired and is in a roadworthy condition:
─ Ask who has handled the vehicle between it being declared a total loss and it being repaired for the road.
─ Obtain a report from an independent expert, or have the vehicle inspected by an engineer who will identify any structural damage to the vehicle.
─ It is important to bear in mind that an inspection may also identify additional faults in the vehicle that are not connected to the incident that caused the vehicle to be written off.
─ Category C vehicles are often slightly cheaper to buy than similar age and mileage vehicles. But if the price looks too good to be true, beware.
• Always check the history of the vehicle. There are a number of ways you can find out further details about a vehicle’s history:
─ You can complete a HPI check on the vehicle you are intending to purchase. This will tell you if the vehicle has been stolen, has outstanding finance, has a mileage discrepancy or has previously been written off.
─ The RAC Car Passport provides a similar service, covering 10 areas of a vehicles entire history.
─ Check the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) agree across the vehicle and that they match the VIN recorded in the logbook (V5C) check the logbook details match the DVLA records using the DVLA vehicle enquiry service at the GOV.UK website
─ As well as the registration number of the vehicle the VIN can also be used to get a vehicle history check.
─ Ask to see the V5C registration document known as the ‘logbook’, and check the logbook details match the DVLA records using the DVLA vehicle enquiry service at the GOV.UK website
─ If the vehicle is over 3 years old check the MOT – it will show if the vehicle was roadworthy. You can check a vehicle’s MOT history for free on GOV.UK.
─ Ask to see the full service history, to show what maintenance has been done on the vehicle.
─ Check to see if the vehicle has been recalled by the manufacturer for safety reasons on GOV.UK
─ You could also get an independent engineer’s check to show the condition of the vehicle and to check for any hidden dangers.
• Contact your insurer prior to purchasing a written off vehicle:
─ Getting a quote from an insurer before you buy the vehicle will allow you to ensure that any cost saving on buying a written off vehicle is not offset by a significantly higher insurance premium.
• If you haven’t already, inform your insurer that the vehicle has previously been declared a total loss:
─ If you fail to do so, your insurer can reject any claim you may make on the grounds of non-disclosure.
• What happens if you are told your vehicle is a ‘total loss’.
─ It is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle you drive is roadworthy. You should follow all the steps above to make sure you know the history of your vehicle.
─ However, if you learn after you have completed your purchase that your vehicle was once a total loss, and you were not told this during the sales process, the following options are available.
• The Sale of Goods Act 1979 applies:
─ A vehicle bought from a dealer is covered by the Sale of Goods Act. Any vehicle sold must therefore be “as described”, “of satisfactory quality” and “fit for purpose”. A written off vehicle could well fall short of any of these descriptions.
─ If you purchase a vehicle which does not comply with the above you are entitled to return the vehicle and receive your money back. This must be done in within 6 months of purchase.
─ If you think a company has broken the law or acted unfairly you might be able to report them to Trading Standards, for example if they sold you a car that wasn’t ‘roadworthy’ – this means it would cause danger if it was on the road.
The big news is that from 26 Oct 2015, Category A and Category B total loss vehicles will no longer be allowed to be re-registered and put back on the road.
The letter in full:
"The Regulations have been laid in Parliament to abolish the vehicle identity check (VIC) scheme from 26 October 2015.
The published Statutory Instrument includes an Explanatory Note which outlines the amendments to the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 to make the provision for the VIC scheme to be abolished.
In summary The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) (no.2) Regulations 2002 enables the following changes:
• From 26th October 2015 a new simpler process that will not require a VIC inspection will apply whenever an application for a new registration document is made for certain categories of vehicle that have been involved in an accident and where the insurer has categorised the vehicle as suitable for repair.
• In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the new scheme transitional arrangements will apply from the 1st October 2015 to the 26th October 2015 to make sure that VIC inspections can be completed for vehicle applications already in the system. This should ensure that there is no significant backlog of inspections to be completed after 26th October 2015
• These Regulations also make other minor and consequential amendments to clarify and update the 2002 Regulations.
Following the abolition of VIC the DVLA will no longer issue V5C’s for Category A and B vehicles, this will help to ensure that the most seriously damaged vehicles are processed via the End of Life Vehicle arrangements in line with the Insurance Industry Code of Practice for the Disposal of Motor Vehicle Salvage.
The transition arrangements from 1 October 2015 means that any new applications for a replacement V5C for a category C vehicle are unlikely to need a VIC test.
If the customer applies to DVSA direct they will be informed about whether they can apply to DVLA through the normal process for a replacement V5C.
With effect from 26th October the DVLA will not apply any more VIC markers.
For category C vehicles with historical VIC markers, tests will no longer be required for a customer to get a replacement V5C.
Where an appointment for a VIC is already scheduled the vehicle will be inspected up to abolition.
However if the owner wishes to wait until 26 October they can cancel the DVSA appointment under the normal terms and reapply.
Category A and B vehicles will continue to require a VIC check to obtain a replacement registration document up to 25th October.
For applications after then these vehicles will no longer be issued with a V5C and must be destroyed (if cat A) or can be broken for parts (cat B).
#Drive in ice or rain and your insurance could jump £200New 'black box' technology, incorporating metereological data, means motorists could be charged more if they drive during bouts of bad weather
'I cut my premium with a black box in my car': Insurance premium tax is going up in the FOURTH increase to hit consumer bills.
why should #people be led by you?do you have the #confidence to stand up?#be the change you want to see.
2 November 2015“Typical claimant” is male, self-employed, Asian and aged over 45, major MoJ survey finds
Here to help ensure consumers are treated fairly by insurance companies.