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Unexpected threats (Weightmans)

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Hi guys, first off, I'm newly registered so apologies if this thread is in the wrong place! I've lurked around the boards for a while and everyone seems really helpful, so I thought I'd post my current predicament here and see what advice I can get.

 

The story is, I was involved in an accident in 2008, I reversed into a guy's car by mistake, dented his bumper and on the day, we exchanged details. I was a new driver, so you can imagine how distressed I was, and when I told my parents, my dad decided that we would pay the repair fee out of our own pocket since if I claimed, my renewal price for my insurance would go through the roof as that was my first year driving.

 

Sure enough, Esure (the other guys company) contacted me via post, and I phoned them back, stating that I'd like to pay for it myself without going through insurance. They came back with a quote, and I paid it off.

 

End of story right? Nope, about a year afterwards, I get a letter from a company called Helphire, who tried to recover money from me (I'm guessing for the hire car) that they hired from their connection with Esure. I ignored the letters, because I already thought I had paid for this when I cleared the balance with Esure (although foolishly, there was no breakdown of charges when I received the balance to be paid).

 

After ignoring a couple more letters, I;ve recently been receiving letters from Weightmans LLP, telling me that I owe their client (Motor Insurer's Bureau) £1175. The letter referenced the accident date and everything, and it was a fairly threatening letter saying that I've to cough it up or 1) they'll go to court proceedings 2) they'll try and declare me for bankruptcy.

 

I've now received three of these letters, each seemingly more threatening than the last! In the last letter, Weightmans have noted that the client is willing to take the balance down to £830 and that’s all I need to pay.

 

So really what I want to ask is, what should I do? Ignore or contact them? I've read here that these types of letters are nothing more than empty threats, but I'm still young and inexperienced with this kind of stuff so you can probably imagine how much sleep I've lost over this recently :( Honestly, any form of advice or guidance is helpful, and I'll be happy to provide any more details of the situation if need be!

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Sounds like Esure (3rd parties Insurer) had not informed you correctly of the situation. Had you realised that there were hire car costs as well, you would probably have decided to use your Insurers, rather than settle directly. I suspect that Esure put the 3rd party in touch with Helphire and if they did, then they should have told you that there may be other uninsured losses that you might have to pay the 3rd party.

 

Not sure what you can do. You can't ignore the situation as they will take you to court. Obviously what happened was that Helphire could not recover their costs from you and by the sounds of it, they could not trace your Insurance details. As you were considered an uninsured driver, the MIB paid out to Helphire, who are now looking to recover from you.

 

You either negotiate a further reduced amount/payment by instalments or you contact the Insurers you had at the time of the accident and explain the situation to them. They might still pick up the original claim and the original costs, but this is not for definate. They might say that it is too late in the day and you will have to deal with it yourself. But it is worth giving it a go.

 

Suggest that you

1) Phone the Insurers you had at the time for advice.

2) Write to Weightmans LLP to explain the situation. You could offer a full & Final settlement offer for a reduced amount and see what they say. They might accept, rather than take this to court.

 

If you don't deal with it, you will end up with a CCJ, which will be for £1175 plus their costs.


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thanks for replying unclebulgaria. Yes, I thought contacting them would be the best plan, as I've recently started a full-time job and I don't want to get bogged down in court procedures :S

 

I'm not sure about contacting my insurers as I've switched insurers since the time of the accident!

 

As they've offered a lower amount to settle the balance, would it be too cheeky to ask for an even lower amount? Also, should any correspondence be sent by recorded delivery?

Edited by milky_

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Of course you can contact the Insurers you had at the time. But of course if they agreed to pay the claims settlements, you would have to report this to current Insurers and lose some NCD entitlement. Also if you did not tell your current Insurers of the accident, they could cancel your policy, which would make gaining future Insurance difficult and expensive.

 

If contacting the previous Insurers is not an option, contact the solicitors in writing and make them a reduced settlement offer as a full and final settlement. Explain to them, that you were incorrectly advised by Esure the 3rd parties Insurers and was not aware of these costs incurred by the 3rd party. Explain that due to your current financial position, you are not able to offer prompt payment of the amount they are seeking.

 

Don't offer too lower amount, as it could be rejected without any consideration. I think the offer should be in the region of say £500. They will probably want this paid as a lump sum. You could say that you will settle this in say 2 or 3 instalment, over the relevant number of months.They might accept.


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Thanks for the advice, I've wrote and sent a reply to weightmans, should be there for Tuesday at the latest. I took your suggestion and asked for a reduced amount in the region of 500, I'd really hope they'll consider it! I'll just be so glad to get this whole thing off my back, it's been on my mind for too damn long :( I'll update you as soon as I get any correspondence from them, thanks for taking the time to reply :)

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seems a bit strange this has taken almost 2yrs to surface.

 

sounds more like a phishing trip to me and they're looking for a mug to fleece

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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seems a bit strange this has taken almost 2yrs to surface.

 

sounds more like a phishing trip to me and they're looking for a mug to fleece

 

dx

 

that's kinda what I thought at first - which is why I've been ignoring the letters up until recently. But they do have all my details, which was the worrying thing :|

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seems a bit strange this has taken almost 2yrs to surface.

 

sounds more like a phishing trip to me and they're looking for a mug to fleece

 

dx

 

This is not a phishing trip. The MIB have paid out for the hire car to Helphire and they will expect you to pay for this.

 

If you ignore, they will take you to court and if you don't pay what will then be an increased amount, you will end up with a CCJ.

 

It is your choice, but do look into this, before you sit on your hands.

 

http://www.mib.org.uk/Frequently+Asked+Questions/en/Default.htm


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yes i see your point ub

didn't clock mib were the cliient.

 

pers i'd give mib a ring, because i cant see why it went through them, when the driver was known

still strange

anyhow

 

i just dont trust weighy's

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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yes i see your point ub

didn't clock mib were the cliient.

 

pers i'd give mib a ring, because i cant see why it went through them, when the driver was known

still strange

anyhow

 

i just dont trust weighy's

 

dx

 

Sometimes there is more to the story. Claiming any money from the MIB, is not usually a straightforward matter.

 

MIB would have checked the Insurance database for the Insurance cover that applied at the time. Either they have not found the details or there is some other complication. I would have thought that if the Insurance was noted, Helphire would have claimed directly with the OP's Insurer. The first thing MIB would have asked Helphire and checked would have been, whether there is any Insurance to claim from.

 

Hence this is why I say, there must be more to this.

 

The problem for the OP now, is that if they did not register the accident with their Insurers at the time and have not done on their current Insurance, is that they risk having their current Insurance cancelled, if they make a claim. Now that MIB have got involved, this is bound to be picked up, if the OP makes a claim.

 

This is difficult. Choices

 

1) Pay MIB and hope you don't need to claim on current policy which could lead to Insurers cancelling if non disclosure has occured. Consequences of having Insurance cancelled, if there was fault accident e.g. potential for Insurers to reclaim any payout from the OP, increased future Insurance costs.

 

2) If there was valid Insurance at the time of the accident, speak to MIB about this. Explain the situation to them and see what you can do. Will the previous Insurers pick up the claim ? If they won't, as this is about uninsured losses for a hire car and not anything to do with Road Traffic Acts, then the OP will have to settle with MIB. If they do, then the OP will need to sort this out with them. Whatever happens, the OP must provide details of the accident loss/claim, when they arrange future cover.


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ub & dx, I think Helphire's problem was that they didn't have my insurance details which is why it escalated to MIB and then subsequently Weightmans. After reading your posts, I went back to check my insurance details of 2008 (which is under my dad's name, does that make a difference?). Turns out there is a slight complication. My dad didn't renew the insurance early enough, which left a window of about 2 weeks - when we were all driving uninsured! Obviously, I just had to go and get myself in an accident during this time. So after all, I couldn't have used my insurance at the time of the accident anyway :s

 

This would also explain why Helphire and MIB couldn't find my insurance details! Also, this would rule out contacting my previous insurer to cover the claims. Which means I'll pretty much have to pay this one myself I think? If this happens, will I be required to provide details of this accident when I renew my insurance in future?

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Yes pay up but try to get a reduced full and final settlement. They may even accept instalments, if you can't pay the amount agreed now.

 

You should count yourself lucky that the Police were not involved at the time of the accident. I think it is normally 6 points for driving without Insurance and a fine.

 

Also technically, if your dad was fronting for you on the Insurance i.e. it was really your car and you were the main driver, this is actually illegal. If this was the case you could have found yourself in real problems.


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You should count yourself lucky that the Police were not involved at the time of the accident. I think it is normally 6 points for driving without Insurance and a fine.

 

Also technically, if your dad was fronting for you on the Insurance i.e. it was really your car and you were the main driver, this is actually illegal. If this was the case you could have found yourself in real problems.

 

Same thing surely though UB, fronting simply means in effect that you are driving without insurance?


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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I could probably handle anything up to 700 or so in one lump sum right now, so hopefully they will give me a reduced amount :|

 

It was a minor accident, just a bump while his car was stationary so I'm glad it wasn't quite serious enough to get the police involved.

 

Nope, the car is my dads and I wasn't the main driver. I was just a named driver under my dad's policy.

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Same thing surely though UB, fronting simply means in effect that you are driving without insurance?

 

Yes, but if they actually had the accident when they had a 'fronted' policy, they would have been in a worse position. Having a policy voided due to non disclosure, would have affected the dad, as well as the OP. This would have cost them a lot more money in extra premiums for many years to come.

 

So in actual fact, the OP and their dad is lucky that they had the accident when the Insurance was not in force. By paying MIB the money through the solicitors, is actually working out cheaper, than it might have been.

 

To the OP. Never ever be as casual with your Insurance arrangements, as you were with this. Think of what would have happened if the accident was really serious, with a massive personal injury claim by the 3rd party. You could have ended up with a massive debt, that you would have been paying for many years to come.


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I could probably handle anything up to 700 or so in one lump sum right now, so hopefully they will give me a reduced amount :|

 

It was a minor accident, just a bump while his car was stationary so I'm glad it wasn't quite serious enough to get the police involved.

 

Nope, the car is my dads and I wasn't the main driver. I was just a named driver under my dad's policy.

 

Try arguing this 2 years down the line. If your dad had another car, this would be difficult. If this was the only family car, then maybe it would have been ok.


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Yes, but if they actually had the accident when they had a 'fronted' policy, they would have been in a worse position. Having a policy voided due to non disclosure, would have affected the dad, as well as the OP. This would have cost them a lot more money in extra premiums for many years to come.

 

So in actual fact, the OP and their dad is lucky that they had the accident when the Insurance was not in force. By paying MIB the money through the solicitors, is actually working out cheaper, than it might have been.

 

To the OP. Never ever be as casual with your Insurance arrangements, as you were with this. Think of what would have happened if the accident was really serious, with a massive personal injury claim by the 3rd party. You could have ended up with a massive debt, that you would have been paying for many years to come.

 

Gotya - makes sense!


7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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I could probably handle anything up to 700 or so in one lump sum right now, so hopefully they will give me a reduced amount :|

 

It was a minor accident, just a bump while his car was stationary so I'm glad it wasn't quite serious enough to get the police involved.

 

Nope, the car is my dads and I wasn't the main driver. I was just a named driver under my dad's policy.

 

Another thought has just come to me.

 

It is was only a minor bump that cost just £350 to sort out, why has the 3rd party incurred hire car costs of over £800. How many weeks did they have a hire car for?

 

I think you need to probe the costs, before you offer to make any payment.

 

It is not unknown for companies like Helphire to provide a top of the range model at an expensive rate, on the basis that they will be able to recover the money from the 3rd party or their Insurers. If the hire car costs are unreasonable, this might help you argue a reduced settlement.


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Another thought has just come to me.

 

It is was only a minor bump that cost just £350 to sort out, why has the 3rd party incurred hire car costs of over £800. How many weeks did they have a hire car for?

 

 

The bump was minor, in the sense that my car was fine but his bumper was dented and out of shape. The original amount I paid for his repairs was in the region of £800 (I'm guessing he just got a new bumper). I've already sent a letter away to Weightmans, so I'll have to see what they say about the reduced settlement first before I go about asking what the breakdown of costs were. I should've really put that in my letter though, damn :s

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I wouldn't wait. Send another letter asking for a full breakdown of the Helphire costs.

 

If it was only a bumper, why did they need a hire car ?

 

Sounds a bit fishy to me.


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Their car was probably in the garage getting fixed, leaving them without a car. I'll draft a letter tonight and send it tomorrow morning.

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just an update - today, I FINALLY received their reply - don't know what took them so damn long, because they weren't exactly sluggish in sending their previous threatening letters!

 

The letter states that they are willing to take the reduced amount I suggested - however, to initiate payment they want me to phone a number and call this person. I'm not too sure I'm okay with dealing with things over the phone as it's often much clearer on paper, but thy've given me a deadline (26 nov) to phone this man.

 

I know they probably have methods of payment, but what would be the safest option to pay a debt like this? cheque?

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stand order only

 

and pers i'd not phone them

 

wait for ub to pop up

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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The letter states that they are willing to take the reduced amount.

 

I know they probably have methods of payment, but what would be the safest option to pay a debt like this? cheque?

 

Yes don't phone them. Just send them a letter, enclosing a copy of theirs, stating that you enclose a cheque for full settlement, as detailed in their letter.


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Why delay even more, phone them, find out how they would like this paid, you don't have to agree anything there and then, you can then follow it up with an email/letter etc.

I think what other posters are forgetting is this is an MIB claim, this is our money you owe.

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