Direct Line send me a letter!

I’ve received this letter from Direct Line’s Chris Moat, have a read:

Dear Mr Jamieson

Thank you for your letter dated 5 June 2007 and your patience whilst your concerns have been investigated.

I understand your frustration with how Mrs Jamieson’s claim has been dealt with and how this may have inconvenienced you. I hope to be able to explain the reasons for our actions and our decision on this matter.

The Contract of Insurance for the vehicle P192PLR was agreed between Mrs H Jamieson and her insurance company, Direct Line Insurance. This agreement was based on ‘utmost good faith’. That is to say that when a contract is taken out customers are obliged to disclose any detail which may be of importance to the insurers whether or not it is requested. At the point of inception of the policy, Mrs Jamieson would have been asked, and confirmed, if she was the registered keeper and vehicle owner. We therefore, under the principle of ‘utmost good faith’, had no reason to question this information. Documentation to this effect was issued and the policyholder is asked to ensure that all information is correct. As this documentation was not challenged it is assumed to be correct and forms the basis of the contract.

Mrs Jamieson is our policyholder and we have to respect her wishes regarding how her policy is managed. After your call to report the theft of the vehicle we later received a further call from Mrs Jamieson requesting that we no longer discuss her policy with anybody but her. In relation to the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, which we must abide by, if a policy holder requests that we only discuss their policy with them then we have to do this. This is the reason we were then unable to discuss the claim with you further. This is In accordance with Direct Line’s settlement process and the process was followed correctly. Once the claim was registered it was then validated and settled on a cash basis with the policyholder, Mrs Jamieson. The vehicle documents were then requested in order for us to take possession of the vehicle.

This case has been referred to our legal department and discussions have been held with Mrs Jamieson’s solicitors in order to make a final decision regarding the ownership of the vehicle. We have been informed that even though the vehicle was insured in Mrs Jamieson’s name you were the main user of the vehicle and we have no rights over the vehicle in question. It is on this basis that your V5 has been returned. The Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) has now been updated to confirm that the vehicle is no longer stolen. You have stated that you feel that you were intentionally tricked into sending in your V5 document so that we could retain it. I can assure you that this was not our intention. The V5 was requested in a genuine attempt for us to further investigate your complaint.

I hope I have been able to explain the reasons for our actions during Mrs Jamieson’s claim. I realise that from your perspective Direct Line were refusing to discuss the claim with you and attempting to take possession of your vehicle. This must have been both frustrating and confusing for which I apologise. More effort should have been made to clarify the ownership of the vehicle at an earlier stage.

We have no offers to make in regard to the depreciation of the car, your loan repayments or the storage of the vehicle, as it is not accepted that these costs were incurred as the result of our actions. However in recognition of any inconvenience caused to you I have arranged for a cheque to be sent to you for the sum of 200GBP which I hope you will accept with my best wishes.

I appreciate the time you have taken to make me aware of the problems you have experienced.

Yours sincerely

Chris Moat
Managing Director

Hmm, 200GBP? That only just covers the loan repayment on the car for the last 4 weeks. I find it hard to believe they say they’re not liable for the depreciation, storage and loans when they have admitted that they should have tried harder to ascertain who owns the car at the beginning.

Obviously I’m going to refuse this, it’s insulting.

I’ll post my reply to this next week.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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