1stCentral Car Insurance Renewal quote

Just a brief recap of my efforts to cancel my auto-renewing car insurance  - due to commence in seven days.  I'm not sure whether this is of any use to anybody but it helps get it off my chest!

I know the thing to do is to move your car insurance every year. Last year I got caught out and left it too late so I was coming up to the end of two years with 1stcentral during which just about my only activity with them was confirming the insurance for the first year....no claims, but I did move and so changed the address on my policy a while back which cost me £10 to do!

I got an email telling me about the renewal 13 days ahead of the actual renewal date.

the email included these words..."*Your quote includes optional cover, interest, and a £50 arrangement fee. To make things easy, you can compare your renewal quote with what you paid last year on a like for like basis. Last year's price in total would have been: £226.27 with a premium of £176.27"

That's alongside their quote which is pennies shy of being £100 more!

So it's a no-brainer for me not to renew. But cancelling a 1stCentral auto-renew quote is harder than Elton John thinks the word "sorry" is to say!

1stCentral have everything online and seem to make it so easy to do anything EXCEPT decline a renewal quote.

So I rang the number provided and selected the option for not taking up a renewal quote.  I waited 20 minutes for someone to answer before I gave up.

I rang the number again and this time selected the option for amending my quote.  Within 30 seconds I was speaking to someone.

I explained the position to her, and at the same time asked if she had any objections to being recorded  (just bluff on my part though,,,,I actually wasn't recording!). she had no objections and seemed pretty understanding of the situation.  We passed through security checks and she took all the details down. She asked me why I wasn't renewing and I said it was the price, I was confident I could get it a lot cheaper.  Then she said she could put me through to the renewals team to see if there was something they could do.  I politely told her that I had no wish to talk to the renewals team. I said if 1stcentral wanted to send me further quotes through by email, that would be fine, but as far as I was concerned if they had a more reasonable price to offer me, they should have started with it.

I do know that this is the game they play...I just wanted to ensure they were not going to debit anything from my bank on the basis of "auto-renewing me".

After she insisted I should talk to them, I politely but for firmly declined again, at which point she then said "your quote cannot be cancelled unless I put you through"! I told her I wasn't wasting any more time and that, as far as I was concerned, I had more than ample evidence that I had rang up and cancelled my quote and 1stCentral had no right to take any money from me in regard to it.

Waking up this morning, I decided I had better check further.  To start with I went to my online account.  The only documents there relating to my insurance were the two polices relating to my last two years insurance. There was no mention of a renewal anywhere, let alone a document giving the terms of one.  As the email accompanying their renewal quote stated - under a section entitled "Why is staying with us a good idea?" the statement  "All your insurance-related information is stored in Your Account and you can make some changes online for a reduced fee too!", I felt pretty confident that the auto-renew must have been cancelled. Nevertheless, to be doubly sure, I went onto the chat facility where I ended up speaking to an operator called Shannon. Before giving my details I explained that I had an auto renew quote emailed to me but I couldn't see it on my online account. They said it would be in the renewals section.  I asked how I access this because I couldn't find anything within my account that even mentioned the word "renewal". (I had to refer back to this answer about three further times in the subsequent conversation when  they told me to look in renewals!) . Eventually they took my details and I passed the security test . After once again confirming to them that there was not renewals section in my account, I explained the conversation I had had previously on the phone with the girl who answered my "amend contract" option selection.  They said they would look into my account....then came back and said "I can see the note left from the agent you spoke with. as you were not transferred to the correct department this was not cancelled off"

So 1stCentral had effectively put themselves in a position where I was not able to see my renewal quote on my online account with them - despite  "all your insurance-related information is stored in Your Account.."  but they were still setting themselves up with a justification to take money out of my account the day after my policy with them expired.

Fair play to Shannon they then went through the process of cancelling the auto-renew which took them one minute to do after I confirmed to them that's what I wanted. Unbelievable after all the time they made me spend on the phone and on the chat prior to being asked!  Shannon couldn't send me an email to confirm this had been done, but I have a transcript of our conversation so now I am positive it won't go through.

To my mind it should be illegal for any quotes, even renewal ones, to be put through automatically and for customers to be billed.  And, even if there is a case for auto-renewals, they should be allowed to be declined online, without the need to speak to anyone.

I'll renew my insurance with someone else this year.  And next year I'll no doubt go searching again, but even if 1st Central somehow decide that they can offer me the lowest rate then, I will be sure to avoid them like the plague!

Apologies......rant over!  

Comments

  • csgohan4
    csgohan4 Posts: 10,587
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    They weren't the cheapest you found by any chance? 

    Auto renewal is also a safe guard for customers who 'forget' to renew and get involved in an accident.

    You will be told at time of policy if they will be an auto renewal basis, direct line do it. But up to you to lapse the insurance. You had 50 weeks to cancel the auto renew to be fair. 

    Switch to someone other insurer who are easier to reach on the phone/ Lapse insurer
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land/Estate Agents"

    G_M/ Bowlhead99 RIP
  • chrisw
    chrisw Posts: 3,372
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    Direct Line failed to stop the auto renewal on mine despite me telling them. A few days into my new policy year I got an email from them thanking me for renewing.

    When I phoned them about it, it was clear they didn't believe such a thing could happen, The person went away to speak to their team leader about it and they eventually called me back, admitted it was their fault and refunded my premium in full.

    Not a good experience.
  • csgohan4 said:
    They weren't the cheapest you found by any chance? 

    Auto renewal is also a safe guard for customers who 'forget' to renew and get involved in an accident.

    You will be told at time of policy if they will be an auto renewal basis, direct line do it. But up to you to lapse the insurance. You had 50 weeks to cancel the auto renew to be fair. 

    Switch to someone other insurer who are easier to reach on the phone/ Lapse insurer
    I don't mind the auto renewal bit I suppose because to be fair it would have come in handy had I forgotten to renew.

    But having remembered, I just knew they were going to make it as difficult as they could. I really don't understand why - when everything else steers you towards doing things through your online account - the process of electing not to take up the auto-renewal quote is provided that was as well.  Of course I know it's a policy to make it as difficult as possible and put you off going through the process - I just don't think it should be allowed   (and If I'm right I think the rules are changing soon)

    I'll admit I haven't gone into this but I suspect that I actually wouldn't have been able to cancel the auto-renewal until such time as it was issued to me, which was only 13 days before the renewal date.
  • csgohan4
    csgohan4 Posts: 10,587
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    Forumite
    csgohan4 said:
    They weren't the cheapest you found by any chance? 

    Auto renewal is also a safe guard for customers who 'forget' to renew and get involved in an accident.

    You will be told at time of policy if they will be an auto renewal basis, direct line do it. But up to you to lapse the insurance. You had 50 weeks to cancel the auto renew to be fair. 

    Switch to someone other insurer who are easier to reach on the phone/ Lapse insurer
    I don't mind the auto renewal bit I suppose because to be fair it would have come in handy had I forgotten to renew.

    But having remembered, I just knew they were going to make it as difficult as they could. I really don't understand why - when everything else steers you towards doing things through your online account - the process of electing not to take up the auto-renewal quote is provided that was as well.  Of course I know it's a policy to make it as difficult as possible and put you off going through the process - I just don't think it should be allowed   (and If I'm right I think the rules are changing soon)

    I'll admit I haven't gone into this but I suspect that I actually wouldn't have been able to cancel the auto-renewal until such time as it was issued to me, which was only 13 days before the renewal date.
    As you've seen above, insurers do make mistakes, the calls are generally recorded so if you said you lapsed it and you have separate cover in place, they will refund you and if your lucky, provide a gesture of good will

    But I always diarize 4 weeks before policy is due to finish to check for quotes and buy roughly 3 weeks before expiry and cancel or renew
    "It is prudent when shopping for something important, not to limit yourself to Pound land/Estate Agents"

    G_M/ Bowlhead99 RIP
  • csgohan4 said:
    csgohan4 said:
    They weren't the cheapest you found by any chance? 

    Auto renewal is also a safe guard for customers who 'forget' to renew and get involved in an accident.

    You will be told at time of policy if they will be an auto renewal basis, direct line do it. But up to you to lapse the insurance. You had 50 weeks to cancel the auto renew to be fair. 

    Switch to someone other insurer who are easier to reach on the phone/ Lapse insurer
    I don't mind the auto renewal bit I suppose because to be fair it would have come in handy had I forgotten to renew.

    But having remembered, I just knew they were going to make it as difficult as they could. I really don't understand why - when everything else steers you towards doing things through your online account - the process of electing not to take up the auto-renewal quote is provided that was as well.  Of course I know it's a policy to make it as difficult as possible and put you off going through the process - I just don't think it should be allowed   (and If I'm right I think the rules are changing soon)

    I'll admit I haven't gone into this but I suspect that I actually wouldn't have been able to cancel the auto-renewal until such time as it was issued to me, which was only 13 days before the renewal date.
    As you've seen above, insurers do make mistakes, the calls are generally recorded so if you said you lapsed it and you have separate cover in place, they will refund you and if your lucky, provide a gesture of good will

    But I always diarize 4 weeks before policy is due to finish to check for quotes and buy roughly 3 weeks before expiry and cancel or renew
    Yeah all true,  I usually do make a point of cancelling, but just for some reason let the time slip by last year.

    So this year would have been doubly loaded up.  But I have now received an email from them saying they won't renew until I specifically request them to.

    And I now have a quote with the AA which is over £150 lower than the 1stcentral renewal quote and which is also inclusive of optional extras for which 1stcentral would have charged more! 

    So Happy Days!  :)  
  • Marvel1
    Marvel1 Posts: 7,138
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    The caller who said you need to go through renewals they couldn't do it is probably correct, you went to the wrong department.

    I work in similar and it's annoying repeating the same, how many times do i habe to say "I cannot assit you, you have come through the wrong department" while in my head "cursing etc".
  • Marvel1 said:
    The caller who said you need to go through renewals they couldn't do it is probably correct, you went to the wrong department.

    I work in similar and it's annoying repeating the same, how many times do i habe to say "I cannot assit you, you have come through the wrong department" while in my head "cursing etc".
    I would say it's the customer who endure the most annoying thing as when they try and go through to the correct department they are left hanging on for ages with no clue as to when the phone will be answered. I was on the phone for 20 minutes before giving up. I very strongly suspect that where cancellations of a renewal quote are concerned, this is a deliberate tactic, designed to put off the customer from cancelling.

    In contrast, a call going through the option to change a policy got answered within 20 seconds. I immediately explained the position to the girl who told me she understood and would sort it for me. She took all the relevant details and  did not mention that she could not actually process the cancellation, until such time as she told me she would put me through to the quote department to see if they could come up with anything.  As I informed her, I no longer wished to speak to1stCentral about quotes, I just wanted to cancel and move on.  I suspect I was going to be transferred and left in the same black hole as my original selection of the option relating to cancel an automatic renewal had left me.

    She was a representative of 1st Central. I don't give a flying you-know-what  about 1stCentral's procedures.  What my contract with them stated was that I had to ring a certain number in order to cancel the auto-renewal. As far as I was concerned I had done just that. There was no onus on me to ensure I was through to the correct department. I had phoned the number stated, provided the relevant details and clearly stated my desire not to take up the auto-renewal to a representative of their company.  How they subsequently process that information internally is up to them.  There was no requirement on my part to take part in their charade of a process for cancelling an auto-renewal. 
  • Marvel1
    Marvel1 Posts: 7,138
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    edited 18 August 2021 at 8:18PM
    Marvel1 said:
    The caller who said you need to go through renewals they couldn't do it is probably correct, you went to the wrong department.

    I work in similar and it's annoying repeating the same, how many times do i habe to say "I cannot assit you, you have come through the wrong department" while in my head "cursing etc".
    I would say it's the customer who endure the most annoying thing as when they try and go through to the correct department they are left hanging on for ages with no clue as to when the phone will be answered. I was on the phone for 20 minutes before giving up. I very strongly suspect that where cancellations of a renewal quote are concerned, this is a deliberate tactic, designed to put off the customer from cancelling.

    In contrast, a call going through the option to change a policy got answered within 20 seconds. I immediately explained the position to the girl who told me she understood and would sort it for me. She took all the relevant details and  did not mention that she could not actually process the cancellation, until such time as she told me she would put me through to the quote department to see if they could come up with anything.  As I informed her, I no longer wished to speak to1stCentral about quotes, I just wanted to cancel and move on.  I suspect I was going to be transferred and left in the same black hole as my original selection of the option relating to cancel an automatic renewal had left me.

    She was a representative of 1st Central. I don't give a flying you-know-what  about 1stCentral's procedures.  What my contract with them stated was that I had to ring a certain number in order to cancel the auto-renewal. As far as I was concerned I had done just that. There was no onus on me to ensure I was through to the correct department. I had phoned the number stated, provided the relevant details and clearly stated my desire not to take up the auto-renewal to a representative of their company.  How they subsequently process that information internally is up to them.  There was no requirement on my part to take part in their charade of a process for cancelling an auto-renewal. 
    The feeling is mutual, when they carry on and on, time to hang up :smile: (we warn first though).
  • I’ve just took insurance out with 1stcentral and paid agreed premium. They then asked for proof of documents which I sent to them. They have now requested a further £83 odd although nothing was different on documents as I said at time of quote. 
    Tried getting in touch on line to no avail then on phone and was eventually connected to someone who passed me on to customer services which ended call after a few minutes of music. 
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,202
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    I’ve just took insurance out with 1stcentral and paid agreed premium. They then asked for proof of documents which I sent to them. They have now requested a further £83 odd although nothing was different on documents as I said at time of quote. 
    Tried getting in touch on line to no avail then on phone and was eventually connected to someone who passed me on to customer services which ended call after a few minutes of music. 
    It's normally the case that something modest is different @axelsgrandad like you said you'd owned the car for 4 years but it's actually 3 years and 10 months... they check everything very closely. The £83 is likely a £50 admin fee and £33 additional premium which would suggest its something small where you were a few weeks out or such.
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