Direct Line Car Insurance Scam
Direct Line Caught Out In A Plot To Fleece My Mother For Thousands
It started on 14 December 2011, when my mother was involved in a car accident. The following day, my mother contacted Direct Line to make a claim. This was supposed to be a straightforward insurance claim, however, it turned into a complete nightmare.
My mother’s car was immediately collected and taken to Direct Line’s network approved repair garage Feltham Coachworks without my mother's instruction.
Direct Line’s guidelines state “you’ll always find a friendly voice ready to help you.” However, in my mother’s experience this was not the case. She was totally harassed by Direct Line’s staff who incorrectly logged the details of the accident.
Complaints were made to Direct Line explaining that their staff had been abusive and that they had incorrectly logged the details of the accident. Direct Line stated that they had reviewed the tapes and could not find anything wrong with them. They added “your case has been thoroughly investigated and I do not consider entering into further correspondence appropriate and regret that I am unable to provide further comment.”
My mother could not believe what she was reading. Direct Line had failed to return my mother's car and at the same time, they stated that they would not consider entering into further correspondence and were unable to provide any further comment.
Direct Line / RBS Insurance CEO Paul Geddes ignored letter after letter in order to ensure that my mother's car wasn't returned.
As Direct Line still had my mother’s car, my mother raised her complaints to RBS Insurance Chief Executive Mr Paul Geddes and RBS Chief Executive Mr Stephen Hester and requested the return of her car. You would have thought that by raising these serious issues to the highest level, that you would receive the highest level of service possible, however, by complaining to Mr Paul Geddes and Mr Stephen Hester, the situation just got considerably worse.
My mother’s letters of complaint were not responded to and my mother's instructions for her car to be returned were completely ignored by both Mr Paul Geddes & Mr Stephen Hester. The situation was a complete farce as seven letters were completely ignored by Direct Line resulting in my mother’s car being withheld from her. My mother finally received a response after writing to Direct Line for the eighth occasion.
Direct Line responded with a letter dated 6 February 2012 and this letter clearly outlined the reason why Direct Line ignored my mother’s previous seven letters. Direct Line dropped a massive bombshell and revealed that their Network Repair Garage Feltham Coachworks had been charging my mother £25 per day plus VAT for storing my mother’s car since 23 December 2011. [letter attached]
In addition, to add further insult to injury, although they were fully aware that my mother's car had not been delivered back to her, at the end of their letter they stated “Direct Line will not enter into any further discussions regarding this matter, regrettably, any further correspondence received from you, will not receive the courtesy of a response.” [letter attached)
My mother could not believe what she was reading as this was the first time that she had heard of these storage charges as she had not been previously notified by both Direct Line or Feltham Coachworks that her car had been accruing mammoth storage charges.
Direct Line expected my mother to pay a whopping £1,200.00 in storage charges to Feltham Coachworks as Direct Line explained that my mother had not collected her vehicle. However, my mother had requested her vehicle to be returned on no less than five occasions which included correspondence to Direct Line/RBS [letter attached) and even correspondence to Feltham Coachworks [letter attached] and each letter / email my mother sent had been completely ignored.
Furthermore, my mother’s car policy with Direct Line states that Direct Line will "arrange for your nearest approved repairer to fix your car, clean it inside and out, and deliver it back to you."
However, Direct Line, who are responsible for their approved repairer as they had instructed them, did not deliver my mother’s car back to her and acted contrary to their policy. It is for Direct Line to arrange delivery of my mother's car as per the policy and by saying that my mother did not collect her vehicle clearly demonstrates that Direct Line are knowingly going against their own policy.
Instead, Direct Line justified the £25 per day plus VAT storage charges by stating that Feltham Coachworks had contacted my mother by email on 28 December 2011 informing her that if her vehicle wasn’t collected, she would incur storage costs of £25 per day plus VAT.
My mother was absolutely devastated after reading this letter from Direct Line as my mother did not receive any email from Feltham Coachworks on 28 December 2011.
My mother wrote to Mr Stephen Hester once again on 8 February 2012 to inform him that unlawful storage charges were being applied to her car and that this was first time she had heard about this. As my mother’s vehicle was being withheld from her despite numerous requests for it to be returned, my mother requested the immediate return of her vehicle and questioned whether Mr Stephen Hester had stolen her vehicle. [letter attached]
Direct Line responded in a letter dated 9 February 2012 justifying the storage charges by explaining that my mother was fully aware of them as Feltham Coachworks had notified my mother in an email dated 28 December 2012 of the storage charges. Direct Line stated “the email address the garage has used is also correct, as you have kindly copied them in to your emails addressed to Paul Geddes and Stephen Hester. The garage has also provided me with a copy of the all the emails they have sent you.” [letter attached]
Direct Line added “I can assure you, Direct Line and Feltham Coachworks, do not wish to hold on to your vehicle and have never refused to give this back to you. Regrettably, they are unable to leave the vehicle at your address, unless you are present to sign a collection note…please contact Feltham Coachworks to arrange a convenient time and date for you to collect the vehicle, or subsequently for the garage to arrange delivery.” [letter attached]
As such, on 14 February 2012, my mother visited Feltham Coachworks to arrange delivery of her vehicle and to obtain copies of the alleged emails that were sent. However, contrary to Direct Line’s letter where they stated “I can assure you, Direct Line and Feltham Coachworks do not wish to hold on to your vehicle”, Feltham Coachworks inexplicably refused to return my mother’s vehicle.
Feltham Coachworks explained that my mother owed them over £1,000 in storage charges and they are not prepared to release the vehicle until these storage charges have been paid in full. As such, Feltham Coachworks withheld my mother’s car and at the same were charging her £25 per day plus VAT for doing so.
Ignoring seven letters from my mother & only responding when the £25 per day unlawful storage charges had accrued to thousands of pounds is not helpful. In my opinion, this sign should be changed immediately.
Feltham Coachworks, did however, provide a copy of the so called emails that they claimed were sent to my mother’s attention notifying her of the storage charges. Contrary to Direct Line’s statement “the email address the garage has used is also correct”, Feltham Coachworks had actually sent the emails to an incorrect email address.
It seems as though my mother was being stitched up from every angle with lies from Direct Line. My mother would write emails to Direct Line and Feltham Coachworks using her email address and it appears that Feltham Coachworks would change the email address they are responding to, before responding to it to ensure that my mother would not receive their response.
As a result of this, my mother was forced to make another complaint to RBS Chief Executive Mr Stephen Hester on 14 February 2012 once again requesting the return of her vehicle and once again explaining that she was never informed of the unlawful storage charges. My mother stated that this is theft from both Direct Line and Feltham Coachworks as her car was continually being withheld from her to accrue extra unlawful storage charges. [letter attached]
The very next day, my mother’s vehicle was finally returned and the storage charges were discharged as Feltham Coachworks were forced into admitting that they had made a mistake and had sent the emails notifying my mother of the storage charges to an incorrect email address. [letter attached] They also shockingly claimed that my mother never requested her vehicle back.
My mother has not heard anything to date from Direct Line who have been caught out with their lies and in doing so have put my mother through an enormous amount of needless stress and strain. How long would it have taken Mr Paul Geddes, Mr Stephen Hester, Direct Line / RBS to notify my mother that her car was accruing storage charges?
Surely, when Direct Line were notified of the storage charges, they should have informed my mother of these immediately. Why did it take eight letters before Direct Line responded to my mother and revealed the storage charges? And why did their network repair garage Feltham Coachworks change the email address they were responding to on their replies to ensure my mother did not receive their emails notifying her of the storage charges? If my mother had not collected the emails from Feltham Coachworks and could not prove that Feltham Coachworks had used an incorrect email address, my mother would most likely be without a car to this very day and would also be charged £25 per day plus VAT through no fault of her own which would be accruing into thousands of pounds of unlawful charges.
Direct Line / RBS Group Settled Claim Contrary to Instructions
Although the unlawful storage charges have finally been cancelled, my mother is still being subjected to ill-treatment from the highest level of RBS and Direct Line. Direct Line wrote to my mother on 21 April 2012 stating "we have now offered to settle the claim on a 80% - 20% split in your favour with the other party. Please can you contact this office within the next 14 days to advise if you would be willing to defend the matter at Court if the other party reject our offer."
As per the instructions from Direct Line, my mother responded in an email dated 29 April 2012 confirming to both Mr Stephen Hester and Mr Paul Geddes that she wishes to attend Court to contest her motor insurance claim if the other party rejects the offer.
Shockingly, my mother’s emails to both Mr Stephen Hester and Mr Paul Geddes were once again ignored by the highest level of RBS and Direct Line.
My mother received a letter dated 5 May 2012 from Direct Line stating that as they did not receive any response to their letter they have been forced to agree a 50% split settlement with the other side.
Once again, my mother has been subjected to further lies from Direct Line as they wrongly stated that they did not receive a response to their letter. Not only have Direct Line lied by claiming that they did not receive a response, they have also acted contrary to my mother’s instructions which confirmed that she would like to contest the case in Court as the accident was not her fault as evidenced by her witness.
Instead Direct Line agreed a 50% split with the other side without my mother’s knowledge or consent.
As such, my mother was forced to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service explaining that Direct Line have ignored her letter dated 29 April 2012 and as a result settled her claim incorrectly incurring a financial loss.
Direct Line/ RBS Group increased my mother’s car insurance from £376.30 to a whopping £1,304.86 a year for an accident which was not her fault.
My Mother was not given opportunity to contest the claim.
My mother's claim form and instructions ignored.
Direct Line / RBS Group acted contrary to my mother’s instructions and settled the claim incorrectly as a 50% split .
What is the point of car insurance if you are paying for a service that you are not receiving. This policy is not worth the paper it is printed on.
Stephen Hester RBS Group and Paul Geddes Direct Line both fail to put pen to paper on this matter.
Financial Ombudsman Service Are Supposed To Be A Professional Service?
My mother’s complaint was not upheld as the Financial Ombudsman Service sided with Direct Line. However, their reasons for doing so were irrational.
The FOS stated that Direct Line were entitled to ignore my mother's instruction on 29 April 2012 as Direct Line issued their final response on 6 February 2012. So although Direct Line wrote to my mother on 21 April 2012 asking my mother for her instructions within 14 days, the FOS have stated that Direct Line were entitled to ignore my mother's instructions on 29 April 2012 as they issued their final response on 6 February 2012. Make sense of that.
Direct Line Caught Red Handed Lying Again - Fraud from Direct Line & FOS
Direct Line & FOS both said the accident was my mother's fault and she lost her no claims bonus as a result. After a few years without any correspondence with Direct Line regarding this matter, out of the blue, Direct Line sent cheques to my mother as a reimbursement of her no claims bonus and confirmed that the accident was actually not her fault. In 2012 and 2013 they confirmed that the accident was my mother's fault and the FOS agreed with them. So what changed that they did a sudden u-turn in the summer 2015? I created this website in February 2015. How is it possible for an accident to be confirmed as my mother's fault and then years later after going public, the accident is no longer my mother's fault.
Direct Line still haven't provided any explanation, any apology or any compensation for their deliberate wrongdoing in trying to fleece my mother out of thousands, not once but twice. In addition, the FOS, who are supposed to be open and transparent have not provided any explanation as to why they stated the accident was my mother's fault. When we telephoned Direct Line for an explanation they state that the FOS overturned the decision and that is the reason why the accident is no longer my mother's fault. However, when write to the FOS they have confirmed that they did not overturn the decision.
A notice of publication was sent to Direct Line, RBS, Financial Ombudsman Service & Feltham Coachworks to see if they have any issues or objections with this publication and to provide them with their right of reply. All four parties chose not to respond.