Swinton's Rip-off Tactics

I just wanted to flag to other users some of the tactics I've experienced from Swinton Insurance over the last few years, they especially like people like me who aren't the fastest to act or most organised so if you're anything like me they're very unlikely to be the insurers for you.

1. They've pretty much doubled my car insurance year on year. My first policy covering two experienced drives had a quote of around £380 which seemed competitive. The most recent policy is for £1043. Last year I wasn't really paying attention and it jumped up to £820 and had automatically renewed before I realised. We haven't had an accidents or claimed during this period.

2. On signing up they've fined me £40 for not returning forms on time despite me doing business with them over the phone. They stated that they flag these charges during the call but its actually deep within many minutes of read out T&Cs.

3. If you chose to pay monthly they charge a 16% 'finance' charge — in my case £143.99. Well above anything I've had from any of their competitors.

Arguably all these extra costs are avoidable, and I'm sure had I been more organised I could have negotiated better prices, but personally I see these for what they are, stealth taxes for you're not paying full attention. So if you're anything like me and casually grab car insurance based on the cheapest quote without reading the full T&Cs ( aren't always hot on opening your mail when it comes to renewal time) I'd recommend avoiding Swinton Insurance.

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  • custardycustardy Forumite
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    Dantastic wrote: »
    I just wanted to flag to other users some of the tactics I've experienced from Swinton Insurance over the last few years, they especially like people like me who aren't the fastest to act or most organised so if you're anything like me they're very unlikely to be the insurers for you.

    1. They've pretty much doubled my car insurance year on year. My first policy covering two experienced drives had a quote of around £380 which seemed competitive. The most recent policy is for £1043. Last year I wasn't really paying attention and it jumped up to £820 and had automatically renewed before I realised. We haven't had an accidents or claimed during this period.

    What insurer do you suggest for cheap auto renewal?

    2. On signing up they've fined me £40 for not returning forms on time despite me doing business with them over the phone. They stated that they flag these charges during the call but its actually deep within many minutes of read out T&Cs.

    You were not fined. You failed to meet the T&Cs you agreed to

    3. If you chose to pay monthly they charge a 16% 'finance' charge — in my case £143.99. Well above anything I've had from any of their competitors.

    Arguably all these extra costs are avoidable, and I'm sure had I been more organised I could have negotiated better prices, but personally I see these for what they are, stealth taxes for you're not paying full attention. So if you're anything like me and casually grab car insurance based on the cheapest quote without reading the full T&Cs ( aren't always hot on opening your mail when it comes to renewal time) I'd recommend avoiding Swinton Insurance.

    Casually grabbing insurance types are unlikely to read your post.
    Stealth tax,really?
  • In short yes. I think 'stealth tax' is a fair term if you agree that it is a cost that largely intended to go unnoticed. As I stated "these costs are avoidable" so it's more than fair on Swinton. I'm trying to help others avoid what I've been through, but thanks for the feedback.
  • csgohan4csgohan4 Forumite
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    OP While I agree Swinton are not great, you chose to pay monthly and incur high interest charges, you didn't read the T+Cs and return the forms as requested. Don't give them a reason to fine you.


    in short not a rip off in this case, but of your own doing
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land/Estate Agents"

    G_M/ Bowlhead99 RIP
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    they especially like people like me who aren't the fastest to act or most organised so if you're anything like me they're very unlikely to be the insurers for you.

    So, its actually you that is at fault here.
    1. They've pretty much doubled my car insurance year on year. My first policy covering two experienced drives had a quote of around £380 which seemed competitive. The most recent policy is for £1043. Last year I wasn't really paying attention and it jumped up to £820 and had automatically renewed before I realised. We haven't had an accidents or claimed during this period.

    So, they offered you their price and the opportunity to not accept it and go elsewhere but you chose to remain with them. So, again. Your fault.
    2. On signing up they've fined me £40 for not returning forms on time despite me doing business with them over the phone. They stated that they flag these charges during the call but its actually deep within many minutes of read out T&Cs.
    They are not allowed to fine you. However, they are allowed to charge you administration fees when you create administration. This is actually very fair on policyholders. Why should other policyholders that do their work have to suffer costs that you create?
    3. If you chose to pay monthly they charge a 16% 'finance' charge !!!8212; in my case £143.99. Well above anything I've had from any of their competitors.

    Using a loan to pay for insurance is expensive across the board. Its almost subprime levels.
    Arguably all these extra costs are avoidable, and I'm sure had I been more organised I could have negotiated better prices, but personally I see these for what they are, stealth taxes for you're not paying full attention.

    It is too easy to say it is a tax on the stupid. However, it is not. Mainly as its not a tax. Maybe in future it will encourage you take more care with your finances.

    There are plenty of reasons to avoid Swinton. However, your post doesn't highlight one of them. Your post is a good example to others of what bad money control is like.

    Oh, and not a rip off, as per usual.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • :T
    Really helpful replies. Thanks for taking the time out.
  • What help were you looking for exactly?
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    Destined to never learn
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • I disagree dunstonh — I have learned from this which is why I'm trying to share my experience. I had wrongly assumed this was a place where people came to share such things and help each other, rather than do nitpicking verging on trolling responses.

    I'm a busy guy, I travel a lot so don't always get to my mail — I'm the first to admit that car insurance isn't my number one focus. I've been pretty open about my failings, which you've then very helpfully also pointed out – as my failings. I'm lucky enough to be able to afford to screw up on things like this but I wanted to make people aware of these thing to watch for in the future so that they don't make the same mistakes as I did.

    It's quite clear many of these additional costs could be avoided and I've clearly stated that I'm at fault on all counts. My point is that the fees, fines and doubling of insurance is a deliberate and cynical attempt to extort money to the unwary or god forbid, financially lazy. Lets be honest nobody reads T&Cs other than financial advisors (and even they skim most of it). The items I mentioned are deliberately placed in the T&Cs to trick people [like me] which I believe to be unfair. The ethics behind the additional fees and extra charges and doubled insurance are questionable at best — that's my point. I'm all for making a profit but this is a nasty way to do business.

    We'll have to agree to disagree.
  • ValliValli Forumite
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    Just beneath your thread title are a series of links, the first of which is entitled Cheap Car Insurance.

    Might be worth your while to read it.
    Don't put it DOWN; put it AWAY
    "I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness" Emily Dickinson
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    Thank you Honey Bear
  • forgotmynameforgotmyname Forumite
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    16% interest a bargain. Interest of 29% is not unheard of.
    Censorship Reigns Supreme in Troll City...

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