Monthly Archives July 2007

New Barclaycard Breathe Card with Green Incentives

But is it a good idea?

On the surface the new Barclaycard ‘Breathe’ card looks fantastic for anyone that is environmentally concerned.

  • 50% of profits donated to worldwide projects that help tackle climate change
  • Discounts and low interest rates on selected greener spend such as money off insulation and discounts on bicycles at Halfords.

The profits are already being used to support a number of pioneering projects around the world such as solar panels for schools in the UK, renewable energy and forest preservation, and wind farms and hydropower in China.

It’s great to see companies doing this kind of thing and I think it’s about time it became a battle over who can do the most to save the planet!

Instead of bragging about how many billions people have, they should brag about how much penicillin they’ve supplied to refugee camps!

Anyway, back on track, the reason I question if the Breathe card is a good idea or not is because the profits Barclaycard are using could be reduced if the card is exploited by ‘rate tarts’ going for 0% offers.

For this reason Barclaycard appear to have opted not to enter the balance transfer war with the Breathe card and only offer a 6 month 0% apr balance transfer period.

However with Capital One offering a much more competitive balance transfer offer with only 9.9% apr typical (variable) it makes you think that Barclaycard (and other card issuers for that matter) could have offered even more of an incentive than their equivalent 14.9% apr typical (variable). But that’s another story…

In my opinion anything that does anything, no matter how slight, towards reducing human impact on the planet and enabling us to develop a sustainable planet can only be a good idea.

Keep up to date with the progress of the Breathe projects:

http://www.barclaysmicrosites.co.uk/barclaycardbreathe/3_0_project_goals.htm

Find out more or apply for the card

I Knew It!

The headline: Burping cows ‘harming environment’

The first line: Cows could be doing more damage to the environment than four-wheel-drive cars, scientists have warned.

The full story:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/itn/20070710/tuk-burping-cows-harming-environment-dba1618.html

And also, BBC News:

Experts claim cows are responsible for about 3% of Britain’s greenhouse gases!
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/6288012.stm

 

Come on guys! Keep up, I blogged that over a month ago! :)

http://www.ukmoneypot.co.uk/4x4s-and-carnivores.htm

 

 

Cancellation Fees – The Conclusion

Because this blog post has gained ranking in Google for searches relating to the 14 day cooling of and cancellation period I have added the following: 

For facts regarding 14 day cooling off periods, refer to the FSA handbook:

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/ICOB/6/2

Items marked with a capital ‘R’ are rules.

If you need further advice the FSA can be contacted by phone: 0845 606 1234

It makes sense to fully read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract before committing to anything.

What I have learned: The 14 Day Cooling off period for insurance is pointless because insurance companies are allowed to charge a ‘reasonable’ fee  for admin charges even if you cancel within the statutory 14 day period.

You can dispute any fees if you think they are excessive and unlawful. Your insurer should have a complaints procedure for you to follow or if in doubt, contact the FSA.


Creditmarket – Motorbike Insurance, Secured Loans and Free Credit Reports.

And now the blog post! Please feel free to read on… 

No cancellation fee to pay and nothing to pay for the 48hrs car insurance cover I theoretically had.

Today I tried calling NU again. This time to determine what was meant by ‘the date of purchase of the contract’ because according to their terms:

‘You have a statutory right under Financial Services Authority rules to cancel your policy within 14 after the later of the date of purchase of the contract or the day of which you receive your policy documentation.’

I didn’t need to determine the day I received the documentation because that was pretty obvious.

Anyway, I spoke to Raman in their call centre in India who told me that NU no longer offer a 14 day cooling off period for any insurance contracts, including renewals.

Naturally I was shocked because the FSA told me that a 14 day cooling of period was statutory!

I felt compelled to tell the FSA what I had been told so I gave them a ring.

What I learned from the FSA this time was that although a 14 day cooling off period was statutory, insurers have a right to charge a reasonable admin fee even if you cancel your policy in this 14 day period.

This is allowed because it puts people off of buying a policy then canceling after the documents come through so they have a certificate to wave around if the get pulled over. It also deters people from buying a policy just to drive for a few days then canceling when they should just ask for short term cover!

What this means is NU were perfectly entitled to charge an admin fee despite my policy being cancelled within the 14 day cooling off period.

But they haven’t, they’ve waived all fees and I don’t owe them a penny!

This is because I was told initially that, due to no payment having yet been taken, the new policy had not officially come into effect and I could still cancel without charge.

Even though this had been dismissed in subsequent calls to NU it was something I had been told by one of their advisers so they had to honour it.

Remember, when you call anyone to talk about queries, complaints, your rights or for official information, ALWAYS ask for the advisers name. Try to make notes about what you have been told and record the time.

Most large financial organisations record conversations so they will be able to refer back to their own notes and confirm what you have been told.

Update on Car Insurance Cancellation Fees.

Because this blog post has gained ranking in Google for searches relating to the 14 day cooling off and cancellation period I have added the following: 

For facts regarding 14 day cooling off periods, refer to the FSA handbook:

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/ICOB/6/2

Items marked with a capital ‘R’ are rules.

If you need further advice the FSA can be contacted by phone: 0845 606 1234

It makes sense to fully read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract before committing to anything.

What I have learned: The 14 Day Cooling off period for insurance is pointless because insurance companies are allowed to charge a ‘reasonable’ fee  for admin charges even if you cancel within the statutory 14 day period.

You can dispute any fees if you think they are excessive and unlawful. Your insurer should have a complaints procedure for you to follow or if in doubt, contact the FSA.

 


 

Online Car Insurance Comparison, Mortgages and Loans – Creditmarket.co.uk 

 


 

And now the blog post! Please feel free to read on… 

 

This is a continuation of a previous post regarding 14 day cooling off periods and cancellation fees.

http://www.ukmoneypot.co.uk/car-insurance-cancellation-fees-how-they-can-get-you.htm

Following the cancellation I have since received 2 letters from NU both claiming I owe different amounts!

One for the amount of £24.07 which it turns out was a complete admin error and should never have been sent because the figures don’t correspond to any of their fees or charges.

The second for £57.82 which is their £52.50 late cancellation fee and £5.32 for the two days of cover I had before canceling.

So before watching the British Grand Prix I thought I’d call them and see what it was all about.

When I spoke with NU on Friday I was told that if no payment had yet been made towards the new policy, the new contract would not yet be in place and I would be able to cancel without charge. Apparently this isn’t true and I shouldn’t have been told it.

So, misinformation and letters sent with imaginary fee amounts…..from NU. Inspires confidence doesn’t it!

I tried to explain that the FSA had told me they thought NU were bending the rules a bit but the operator thought I was just making up excuses! In actual fact, he just didn’t have any idea what I was talking about because, despite working in the cancellation department, he hadn’t been trained on the FSA rules.

The long and short of this mornings phone call is I now have to write to the Customer Services Manager detailing the reasons why I don’t think I should pay the cancellation fee.

I think I’ll do that after the Grand Prix!

An afterthought regarding fees is that with bank fees, they are deemed unlawful because they are excessive compared to what the fee relates to.

I therefore also think this cancellation fee is unlawful because the same amount of admin would be required to cancel the policy if it was cancelled in time and there is no charge for that!

So to charge a fee just to do the same thing a day or two later, I think, is totally unreasonable and unlawful!

I will blog about the response to my letter…!

Is Your Data Protected When You Apply Online?

Have you applied for anything online only to find that you are continually bombarded thereafter with either promotional emails or phone calls or even junk through your letter box?

If you have applied for a loan recently you may find yourself subjected to phone call after phone call from companies all claiming to have received your application long after you’ve already arranged your loan.

Why does this happen?

Two possible reasons:

1/ the company to which you first applied is unable to help so they have passed your details to a company that may be able to. This is quite common and if you read a ‘data protection statement’ you will often find they often say that your information may be used in this way.

This allows the first company to do what it can to help you even if they can’t directly and the calls should stop if one of their ‘partner’ companies is ultimately able to help.

2/ you have unknowingly applied to a company that is not registered with the data protection act and they are now profiting from selling your details to companies that want your business. This is an unethical practice that can result in your information being sold to dozens of companies.

Companies can legally buy your data but most would do so thinking they are the only ones being sold the information and that your application is ‘fresh’.

Unfortunately this isn’t always the things happen and consequently you may be contacted by companies responding to your application long after you actually applied.

The best way to avoid this is to make sure the company you are applying to is registered with the data protection act. Most will make this very obvious if they are because it offers you reassurance.

The data protection act prevents companies being able to ‘farm’ your data out to whomever they want without your approval and they can be prosecuted if they do.

Companies that are registered have a unique number that you can use to confirm they are telling the truth and are actually registered.

Just go here: http://www.ico.gov.uk/tools_and_resources/register_of_data_controllers.aspx

Click on ‘search’ and you can find out if a company is registered by either entering their registration number or just the company name and/or address.

It’s free and only takes a few seconds so well worth doing before you make that application.

 

Car Insurance Cancellation Fees – How they can get you….

Because this blog post has gained ranking in Google for searches relating to the 14 day cooling off and cancellation period I have added the following: 

For facts regarding 14 day cooling off periods, refer to the FSA handbook:

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/ICOB/6/2

Items marked with a capital ‘R’ are rules.

If you need further advice the FSA can be contacted by phone: 0845 606 1234

It makes sense to fully read and understand the terms and conditions of your contract before committing to anything.

What I have learned: The 14 Day Cooling off period for insurance is pointless because insurance companies are allowed to charge a ‘reasonable’ fee  for admin charges even if you cancel within the statutory 14 day period.

You can dispute any fees if you think they are excessive and unlawful. Your insurer should have a complaints procedure for you to follow or if in doubt, contact the FSA.

 


 

Confused about life insurance? Go to CertainLife.co.uk and contact helpful advisers who can answer your questions.

 


 

 And now, the blog post! Please feel free to read on…. 

 

I used to have car insurance with Norwich Union, then my renewal was presented to me (by post) with a figure £60 more than my previous years policy price.

When are insurers going to start lowering your policy in the second year? Why are loyal customers who don’t make claims rewarded by increased premiums?

Anyway, my policy auto-renewed because I didn’t make time to sort it out but I wasn’t too concerned because according to the FSA (http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/ICOB/6/2 – See ICOB 6.2.2), customers are entitled to a 14 day cooling off period at the start of a new contract and a new insurance policy is a new contract. I spoke with the FSA on this and it was confirmed that a renewal is also a new contract.

However, Norwich Union treat renewals slightly differently.

The most recent update of their terms states:

Cancellation rights

‘You have a statutory right under Financial Services Authority rules to cancel your policy within 14 after the later of the date of purchase of the contract or the day of which you receive your policy documentation.’

The important phrase to note here is: ‘the later of the date of purchase of the contract or the day of which you receive your policy documentation.’

What this appears to mean is if you receive your renewal paperwork 21 days before your policy renews and you don’t cancel it until 2 days before it is due to renew, your 14 days have passed because you’ve had the new contract in your possession for over 14 days (the cooling off period). 

This looks like the bending of an FSA ‘Rule’ because ordinarily policy documentation isn’t received until after the policy has started. (Although, how do they know when you actually received the paperwork…?)

What they are doing by bending this rule, (and this is were they tried to get me..) is giving themselves an opportunity to charge a cancellation fee of £52.50 for admin if the policy is cancelled during the term plus a charge for the number of days cover you may have already had.

Paying for the cover is fair enough but I was appalled that an attempt was made to charge me when I thought the cooling off period should have applied. I was even told that NU doesn’t offer a 14 day cooling off period for renewals!! This is LAW!! Perhaps the representative was  misinformed? Perhaps he’d read their new terms and misinterpreted them?

One thing that did make me stop and prick my ears up was when the representative then told me that my first payment may not have gone through and therefore cover would not have actually started yet so I could still cancel with no fee.

I told the representative I wasn’t prepared to pay a fee anyway regardless then cancelled the policy and promptly called my bank.

The payment had not yet been made so I cancelled the direct debit and escaped uncharged!

I still need to confirm with NU in a couple of days that they are happy the cancellation took place before cover actually started – in their eyes. Otherwise they might still try to charge me the fee!!

Beware when dealing with insurance companies, read the terms, understand your rights and if you don’t think it’s fair, check with the FSA!

***********************

ADDITIONAL:

I think some of the above information is actually incorrect because I misinterpreted the terms. I’ve now re-read things and my explanation is below:

The following section:

[The important phrase to note here is: ‘the later of the date of purchase of the contract or the day of which you receive your policy documentation.’

What this appears to mean is if you receive your renewal paperwork 21 days before your policy renews and you don’t cancel it until 2 days before it is due to renew, your 14 days have passed because you’ve had the new contract in your possession for over 14 days (the cooling off period).]

If you analyze the English, ‘the later’, when referring to 2 points in time, should actually mean ‘the event that took place later in time ie. the second event.

A point ‘later’ in time from now, can only occur after now…

If they meant the event that took place first, they would have said ‘the EARLIER of the date of purchase of the contract or the day of which you receive your policy documentation.’

So now what needs to be established is ‘the date of purchase of the contract’.

I would assume it to be either the date payment is made or the date the new policy starts and because no clear definition is stated anywhere, all I can do is assume!

Therefore I must have had a 14 day statutory cooling off period from ‘the date of purchase of the contract’ in which to cancel without charge.

Henceforth, the story continues….

 

 

 

 

Your No Claims Discount – Prove it!

Something to be aware of when choosing an insurance company is how they record details of no-claims discounts.

When applying for car insurance we are required by law to put in the number of years no-claims discount that we can PROVE.

Usually this means taking the information from your previous insurance policy.

Some insurance companies only record up to 5 years no-claims. The big problem with this is if you know full well that you haven’t made a claim in over 10 years, you can’t prove it.

The question I now need answered is:

If I have an old certificate that shows 10 yrs NCD (No Claims Discount) and a current certificate that only shows 5 years NCD but the two policies were consecutive (so there is 100% proof of no claims in that time), can I use the old certificate to prove 10 years NCD?

I’m going to do some digging… Does anybody else know??