MSE News: Are you a Swinton Insurance customer? Beware its 'pre-renewal' deposit

Swinton Insurance policyholders are unwittingly having money taken from their accounts to auto-renew policies...
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Are you a Swinton Insurance customer? Beware its 'pre-renewal' deposit

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  • QuentinQuentin Forumite
    40.4K Posts
    MSE_Helen wrote: »
    Swinton Insurance policyholders are unwittingly having money taken from their accounts to auto-renew policies

    Were what you say was actually true, then all customers have to do to get this money immediately refunded is call their bank and use the dd guarantee.

    But you are wrong. Swinton make it clear in the policy this will happen.

    A better article would be on the importance of not signing a contract before reading and understanding it!
  • Another classic tactic for my MBA course for the aspiring capitalist. The top profit maximising scheme is to sell chips and sugary drinks to consumers, lending them money on Payday loan rates to do so. Hound them with debt collectors until they have a heart attack, then claim their bodies to repay the loan. Harvest their organs for transplant, then melt down the fat to make grease and candles.
  • I've just checked my bank account as my home insurance was up for renewal with Swinton last month but I chose not to go with them. It looks as though they took the deposit payment but then two weeks later credited it back. My car insurance is up for renewal next month, also with Swinton, so i'll be keeping an eye on my account to check that they do the same.
  • VT82VT82 Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    If this is as bad as it sounds, it's scandalous, and something the FCA is going to beat them up for, fine them, and make them refund everyone anyway a few years down the line. Even if it's in the Ts&Cs, an unfair T&C is an invalid T&C.

    I don't like Swinton because of the all the junk mail personally. It's been years since I used them, but I still get no end of letters from them around my renewal date. And I wouldn't use them again because of their reliance on cashback to get you the cheapest quote - I don't want to be an unsecured creditor waiting for cashback for 90 days from a company whose business model I consider to be shaky.
  • Just be careful - I cancelled my policy 2 weeks ago (was up for renewal 110714) - I phoned them today to check if I was owed anything and the pre-renewal was STILL scheduled to go out of my bank on 100714 so if you are cancelling the policy, make sure they cancel the pre-renewal too. I couldn't cancel the direct debit as it has multiple policies on the same payment date.
  • OrfordOrford Forumite
    2.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I always use comparison sites at renewal, which means that invariably I change insurance company each year.

    At the same time as sending them confirmation of my NCD, I also give notice in writing that I do not wish to renew the policy at the expiry date.

    This has worked except on one occasion with Quinn, who claimed they had no record of receiving the letter, until it was pointed out that if they received the confirmation of NCD, then they also had had notice of non-renewal.

    They immediately backtracked.
  • edited 30 June 2014 at 12:18PM
    purple45purple45 Forumite
    2.5K Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 30 June 2014 at 12:18PM
    I've come across this before when I've used them. I think its a really sneaky business practice and reflects very badly on them. Yes its in the terms and conditions, but it must catch out so many people. I prefer to deal with a company that is fair, honest, up front and plain speaking that doesn't need to try and catch you out! I've stopped using Swinton in the last couple of years, I got fed up with trying to get a decent renewal quote year after year. The companys I use now actually send a reasonable quote to start with rather than making me call in to try and get a better price. And I agree with VT82's post, the junk mail is rediculous!

    Editing to add that I used to have 2 lots of car insurance and house insurance with them so they've lost a fair bit of business. Its a shame as I'd far rather insure with a company where I can deal with a person rather than deal with it online.
    Many thanks to everyone who posts competitions and works so hard to provide all the answers!
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  • At first I liked how swinton had a local branch and I was able to go in there and hand in my paper work and speak face to face to someone. That was until I noticed a few months later my DD was just over £2 more than it should have been. I went into my branch and asked them why, even before I finished explaining the whole situation the man knew that it would be where I hant returned my signed forms with 2 weeks of taking the policy and had been charged a £25 fee that has been spread across my DD payments.

    However I hand delivered all the signed documents a couple of days after taking out the policy so I knew that they had been in on time. (Unfortunately I hadn't thought it necessary to get a receipt at the time.) He very quickly removed the fee and adjusted the DD to pay back the extra payments.

    My girlfriend who was with at the time then asked if the same fee had been applied to her account, the answer was yes. Her policy was taken out a few months after mine, and again the signed documents were hand delivered well within the 2 week return time.

    By the way he knew so readily why our payments were higher and that the same fee had been applied to both policies it was very obvious that this was a common trick they use to try their luck and hope you don't notice the small extra amount added onto your DD (It was a good few months before I picked up on).

    On top of this I had noticed the small print about the pre-renewal deposit and rang them in good time to say that I wont be renewing and not to take a deposit. But they still took the deposit, they did give it back easily enough when I contacted them.
    My major problem with this is that due to the the process you do not have that money available in your account for a few days until it is refunded and if that was a few days before pay day I would have be seriously struggled. (although if it came to it I should have been able to use the DD guarantee to get instant refund).

    Summary I always advice people to never use Swinton whenever talking about insurance.
  • CaddymanCaddyman Forumite
    342 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I just don't understand why anyone would sign up to an auto renewal on any policy anyway? I've never done that in my life. I guess though that is what lots of people still do and they leave themselves open to this type of activity. And of course, always, always read the small print......
  • edited 30 June 2014 at 5:48PM
    JezzamkJezzamk Forumite
    287 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    edited 30 June 2014 at 5:48PM
    The reason many people agree to auto renewal is that they are unaware of it when they take the policy out.

    I have just moved my motor insurance and at the bottom of the page it stated that it would auto renew. There was no option to opt out.

    Whilst I don't want my policies to auto renew I do work in the insurance industry, on the commercial side, and it is amazing how many policies lapse becuase the broker is unable to obtain renewal instructions from the insured. Then a few weeks later we get a call saying that it had been allowed to lapse in error (all sorts of excuses follow such as being on holiday, didn't receive docs, thought they had 14 days of grace etc). They often get upset when I tell them they need to take out a new policy as we are unable to backdate insurance.

    As you can see from the above, auto renewal may be beneficial for some people but not others. Regardless of whether your policy auto renews you need to read letters/emails sent to you by the insurer and respond prior to renewal date or you may have insurance you don't want or be uninsured. Neither are a good option.
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