Product Type: other in Insurance
Newest Review: ... they will make you pay, when i first contatcted them they offered me another 10%...still a rubbish quote.. shop around each year an... more
No Fecking Use!!!
National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual
Member Name: repairmanjack
National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual
Date: 26/09/02, updated on 26/09/02 (3699 review reads)
Advantages: I've yet to find one!
Disadvantages: Expensive, Incompetent, A standard of service you'd expect to find in a third-world banana republic!
“Crime… together we’ll crack it” went the police campaigns on the TV and in the newspapers as I grew up. “Do you know where your lad’s going out tonight?” went the cringe-makingly bad advert for panopticism (if we all watch each other, no-one can, or will want to, do anything wrong) in the late seventies/early eighties. Yet still, crime rates march ever onward.
Finally, tragically, the crime-wave has broken against the shore of repairmanjack’s sunny beach… a bunch of b*st*rds have stolen my car.
Ok, this isn’t about the horrors of modern life, before you start lobbying to have this rant moved into Speaker’s Corner. This opinion is all about possibly the most inept insurance company on God’s green earth.
The National Farmer’s Union (NFU).
In the aftermath of having to come to terms with being a pedestrian once again, I have been extremely disappointed in the NFU’s handling of my claim. Firstly, my car was discovered the day after its theft and vandalism, but it took an extra day to have it collected. Eventually collected on a Saturday… I was to be taken with the vehicle to a Repair Centre in Dereham, Norfolk… despite my vehicle (and myself) being stranded in Lowestoft, Suffolk… some fifty miles away. Unfortunately, the collection service was so late in getting to me, that the Garage had closed for the weekend before my car had even been collected. So, no courtesy vehicle… unless you regard the current service by British Rail as courteous, which, I am sad to say, I certainly do not. In my last communication with the garage before they closed for that day, they informed me the NFU actually has a repair centre based in Great Yarmouth… which is only ten miles down the road from where I was stranded. I immediately contacted the NFU’s Road “Rescue” service and spoke with a seemingly pleasant but confused you
ng girl who attempted to find this repair centre on their computer system. She offered me a couple of names of garages and asked if I knew which one her own firm were affiliated with. You can imagine my bemusement.
Instead of being transported to the repair centre, my car was subsequently delivered to a safe-house for the weekend, on the understanding it would be delivered to a registered repair centre (again, the one fifty miles away!) first thing Monday morning. I was advised by my insurers to contact the repair centre on Monday, and they would furnish me with a courtesy vehicle.
Upon ringing the garage on the Monday (about 10.30am) I inquired as to the arrival and condition of my vehicle – to be informed it had not arrived. I contacted NFU, once again… spoke to someone who, whilst very sympathetic, offered me the consolatory approbation: “Oh… well it should be there. I’m not sure what’s happened to it”. I was then put on hold for almost ten minutes while inquiries were made.
Upon hailing me again, the sympathetic voice told me she was unable to contact the company who had collected my car, so, no, she couldn’t tell me what had happened. I was then given a phone number for this firm and told that I would have to keep ringing them myself and ask them what they had done with my car.
Upon attempting to ring this number, and receiving no answer, for a day and a half, I began my optimistic discourses with the repair centre once again. My car arrived on the Tuesday, at approximately 4.30 pm. No courtesy vehicle was offered at that time, nor did I request one, as I had already been forced to make the forty mile journey home by rail the previous day (making me just the two days late for a job interview).
I was then advised (speaking to yet another strange voice on the end of the telephone) that I would be contacted by the NFU once a registered mechanic had surveyed the damage̷
0; and I would be informed of their intentions as to the future life of my car.
Despite several telephone calls badgering for an explanation or an update of findings… I eventually received a telephone call from their appointed mechanic - who, for legal reasons, henceforth will be known here as “Mr Chuckles” - TEN DAYS after the car was impounded at the garage. This was the Friday week after my insurers had finally secured my car at the repair centre… and an astonishing TWO WEEKS after it was initially recovered.
I was then advised by Mr Chuckles that my car was not going to be repaired, in no uncertain terms, and I would have to shop around and garner some price comparisons as bartering tools. Ok… now we’re getting somewhere. Its inconvenient, but it is standard practice, and the NFU are obviously enjoying role-playing as a real insurance company. I was told I could ring laughing-boy back, and given what I believe was a mobile number to do so, the following week (a bank holiday ensued in the meantime), and we would finalise an agreement with regards my acquiescence of an unsatisfactory compensatory sum for my vehicle.
I spent the following three weeks trying to contact this mechanic… whose phone was constantly unanswered. Eventually despairing I once again contacted the NFU… who told me Mr Chuckle’s report had never been forwarded to them (but they had seen no sense in actually asking for it, either). When I insisted the insurance company try and contact him, a rather sheepish fellow named “Jimbo” (real name withheld, pending inquiry), informed me he could find no record of this man on their books… and he might have been someone the firm wouldn’t normally use.
Rumour may have circulated regarding my displeasure at this point as, three hours later, Mr Chuckles contacted me personally. In fairness, I discovered his manner and helpfulness t
o be much improved on our initial communication, and we were able to settle on a figure of £500 that he would suggest to the NFU. (My car, of course, cost nearly three times that, two years ago).
I would have to say that I registered for insurance with this company as I understood that, in the sad event of its necessity, my claim would be dealt with professionally and in reasonable time. The above, I feel, is stark testament to the opposite. I have taken advice that the average timing of such claims is two to three weeks maximum. Given my vehicle was recovered the day after its theft, I feel this is an appalling amount of time for a claim to remain open, and some of the ineptitudes displayed by this insurance company have been, frankly, shocking: asking me to provide the addresses of their own registered garages; giving me a dead number of a recovery firm to make phone calls that their operatives couldn’t be bothered with; and eventually – again, I repeat after TEN DAYS of waiting – sending out a mechanic so surreptitious that half their firm cannot find him in the company records.
I would hope the inferior processing of this claim will make them pause for thought when they do finally come to recompense me. I felt that, as a gesture, it might be nice of them to increase the compensatory sum to absorb the damaged child safety seat (it was wantonly damaged and sluiced down with beer and vomit by one of the thieves - what is wrong with these people?!?!).
I have been advised to contact the Insurance Ombudsman and inform them of the details and irregularities of this claim, and, in a letter to the firm, I have informed them of my desire to do so. I have also mentioned that I post opinions on this website, and would not be offering them a favourable review… stating I am happy to leave a space for a footnote should the firm wish to offer me something complimentary I can say about it, in the next couple of weeks.
I’ll keep you posted, but I don’t advise you all to hold your breath… I know I won’t be. If anyone out there in dooyoo land has got any more helpful suggestions (other than find another damned insurance company), this extremely irritated pedestrian would dearly love to hear them.
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