Hastings direct help

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
8 replies 1.1K views
PossycatPossycat Forumite
3 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Budgeting & Bank Accounts
wondering if anyone can help with advice on this

I took out a Hastings insurance policy last year for £99, I have not had possesion of the bike since January and it was legally SORN'd (doesnt have an MOT or anything, its no longer road legal) but last week Hasting debited £126 from my account without warning or permission. I contacted them via chat where they where rude, unhelpful and refused to discuss it, the chat people say I need to phone and 'cancel' although the word cancel comes with 'fees', well ive been on the phone for hours and have yet to speak to even one person just hold music and the automated voice loop, they litrally arent even answering the phone to me.

I went to the bank and they said they will try and dispute it for me but I need PROOF that they didnt have permission to take out this policy and that I have contacted them to cancel and they wont allow it,

how am I even meant to prove that I didnt take out a policy? who would take out an unnessasey policy for a bike they cant use? and how do I prove I contacted them when they wont even talk to me about it?

I have proof the bike is SORN, I have proof the bike is not in my possesion, I have proof I cant even use the bike anymore and that its in no way legal (all of that making an insurance policy useless and unnessacery) but I cant 'prove' that I didnt give permission because there was communication to say they would do this hense no paper trail or phone records or anything - they took out £126 thats more than the intial policy was even worth without any warning (no emails or anything saying they would renew or giving a new quote)

hastings said they automatically renew and I have to physically tell them 'no renewal' (never had to do that with my past policies with them) but surely they cant just go into my bank account without any warning and help themselves to any amount they want (I made a one time annual payment too, not a monthly direct debit so they shouldnt be going back into my account anyway right?)

any ideas what can I do to get my money back?


  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    Did you tell them you no longer possessed the bike after you got rid of it? It would seem odd to retain your insurance cover for more than half the year if not needed, so I'd have thought that you'd have cancelled the policy back in January?

    Anyway, assuming you didn't do so, auto-renewal is a fairly frequent (verging on standard) practice in motor insurance, so that does indeed put the onus on you to opt out if you don't want the policy to be renewed, and this will probably be stated somewhere in the Ts & Cs you signed up to, but worth checking these.

    You'll presumably find that you'll have authorised them to set up a Continuous Payment Authority, which you can now cancel with your bank and/or the insurer despite it being too late to stop this renewal.

    In any case, immediate cancellation is the way forward to start with, and then you can argue the toss with them to see if they'll agree to waive the cancellation admin charge, but on the face of it they're probably not obliged to....
  • but I cant cancel because they wont talk to me, the automated phone voice says to use the website and the wibsite says to use the phone and both are going in circles (the phone wont even answer and the chat people refuse to discuss it)

    the bigger issue is the bike doesnt exist as a road legal bike anymore (very clear on the DVLA) + I didnt agree to allow them to take £126 - surely even with a direct debit they would have to warn me they are upping the price and taking nearly £30 extra but ive litrally had NO contact from hastings at all, not an email warning me of a renewal or price change or anything they just did it
  • Shakin_SteveShakin_Steve Forumite
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    They should have written to you before auto renewal. You need to write a letter to them stating your case and wait for a reply. If you are unhappy with the reply you need to open a complaint. If you are unhappy with their handling of the complaint it's off to the insurance ombudsman.
    A lengthy process, but the only way to go if they cannot be contacted.
    I came into this world with nothing and I've got most of it left.
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    You just need to keep trying to get through to them, while you're waiting you might search online for alternative numbers that may bypass their main automated system?

    Personally I wouldn't focus on all the other stuff - if the bike changed status and/or ownership then you'll have been obliged to inform them of this at the time, so it may not be in your interest to pursue that particular line of argument.

    If the payment is definitely labelled as a direct debit rather than a CPA then you may have some more rights with regard to lack of notification of the amount, which companies are obliged to advise, so you may have scope of claim under the Direct Debit guarantee, but you really need to ensure the new policy is cancelled first, difficult though that would appear to be. If the worst comes to the worst, you can write a snail mail letter and send it recorded delivery, but that would be something of a last resort.
  • pmdukpmduk Forumite
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    Make a complaint? Companies usually have dedicated staff for their complaints lines.
  • agrinnallagrinnall
    23.3K Posts
    What's wrong with posting this on the Insurance board, which is the right place for it?
  • edited 31 August 2018 at 11:56AM
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    edited 31 August 2018 at 11:56AM
    Unfortunately as has been mentioned, auto-renewal is quite standard for insurance and it really does depend upon you to be proactive and opt-out or explicitly tell them you don't wish to auto-renew. Most policies will have this written into their T&Cs, which you will agree to when you take out the original policy - this will count as you having given "permission" to renew at whatever price they quote, even if now you don't want to renew. Oddly, they should have contacted you to inform you that renewal was due, and they were going to debit you for amount XXX on date YYY.

    That said, if you are struggling to get in touch, send them an email and explicitly state that you will follow it up with a written complaint sent by recorded delivery. If you are within the first 14/30 days (depends on policy) you might be within the cooling off period and should be able to avoid cancellation fees. Otherwise, if you kick up enough of a fuss they may wave them just to keep you quiet, although they legally have no obligation to do so.

    When you took out the original policy you probably set up either a direct debit mandate for your current account, or a continuous payment authority for your debit card. This will allow Hastings the take the money as again, you haven't explicitly told them they are not allowed to. You could possibly also consider a formal complaint against your bank for refusing to reverse the payment, but again, as you have indeed given permission for the payment to be taken, you are unlikely to have much success here.
  • edited 4 September 2018 at 2:24PM
    PossycatPossycat Forumite
    3 Posts
    edited 4 September 2018 at 2:24PM
    thanks everyone - just a quick update incase anyone is looking for help on a similar situation in future - I finally got through to the call center after many attempts and they where actually very helpful, cancelled everything and gave a full refund

    given how harsh and unhelpful the chat people where I didnt expect they would be much help and was dreading it but the renewal team admitted it was their fault instantly and where very polite/apologetic... really glad its sorted and I dont need to go through the bank or send lots of letters

    as for this being posting in the wrong forum, sorry if it is its my first time on the forums and I googled hastings renewal issues and it brought me to other people who posted on this page
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