1st Central Insurance sharp practice?
TLDR - 1st Central are trying to charge extra for a change of occupation that was not requested.
On 2nd April we ran a comparison on Compare the Market and 1st Central came up the cheapest at £330 so we (me on my daughter's behalf) purchased the policy and paid in full ready for the policy to start on 28th April.
On 10th May we received an email requesting documents.
- Proof of No Claims Discount (NCD)
- Proof of home address dated within the last 3 months
- Front and back of the photocard driving licence
- The unique check code from the DVLA website
On 12th May we uploaded all but 1 of the documents. We were unable to provide a form of proof of address from their list of approved documents but uploaded her tenancy agreement and added the comment as follows: “I am living in A***** Town temporarily for 18 months whilst I am completing an apprenticeship.” This comment was added to explain why she did not have a bill or bank statement with her current address on. She is renting a room and all bills are included so nothing in her name. She has a 12 month contract at that address and may well move back to our home address after 18 months so had not changed her address with her bank. We called the documents department as requested and was told my tenancy agreement was not enough even though we mentioned the above reason so it was suggested that she make the change to her bank address. This was completed and uploaded on 21st May at which point a charge of £213.41 (inc. £50 admin fee) was added to her policy for changes made!
On calling the documents department we were informed that driving license dates were incorrect and had been updated – I do not understand this comment because all the correct details were added to Compare The Market, including driving licence numbers, and can only conclude that something has changed when the data is imported into the 1st Central system. Actually, CTM only ask how long you have had your driving license and then 1st Central system just adds it as 1st April of (this year subtract years held).
We were also told that there was a change of occupation, this is the point where we have a dispute. The Compare The Market system asks “What do you do for a living?” She works at a bird sanctuary looking after birds and displaying birds in shows to the public. She tried “bird” in the text box with no results. She tried “animal” with no results. Then she tried “zoo” and zoo keeper appeared and I fully believe that this is the best result from the drop down menu. Having researched further we have discovered that the 1st Central system itself asks “What is your current occupation?” This furthers my belief that Zoo Keeper is the best and most correct answer. At no point did either of us think to use the word apprentice as that is not an occupation.
We struggled to get anyone on the phone to understand our point that no request for occupation change had been made and so contacted the cancellations department. We were then informed that there was a fee of £31.82 for the 26 days of cover we had already had, fair enough. But on top of that there was a £50 cancellation fee, a £50 arrangement fee and a £50 admin fee, leaving just £151.49 refund from the £333.31 paid up front. (We have since confirmed that these fees were incorrectly quoted and so this point has been added to the complaint.)
At this point we decided to make a complaint for what we believe can be described as sharp practice by 1st Central. 1st Central cannot just decide to change the occupation to a more expensive one. Any reasonable person who knows her would agree that she is an animal keeper. We chose the best option available. Exactly as the MSE website describes, for me I use Clerical Assistant rather than Administration Assistant as it is slightly cheaper.
complaint has been raised we have tried to run some new insurance quotes but the
prices suddenly increased to double what we had received earlier that same day.
Has a marker been added to her record while this is being resolved maybe?
Are we in the right?
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