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hello everyone,

been a long time since i posted here and the site has changed quite a bit, so if this is in the wrong place, my appologies, though i am sure it will be moved if it is, anyway, my problrm:

my daughter arranged her car insurance through swinton, and like most people arranged to pat by monthly instalments. she made the initial downpayment and set up the direct debit. a week later a letter arrived giving her 2 weeks to provide her proof of no claims. her previous ins. co. failed to send her this in time, so swinton cancelled the policy. when the alootted time for the direct debot arrived ( a week after the cancelation) swinton took the months premium. she then receibed a letter from them demanding more money, which she obvioulsy disputed. swinton completely ignored her letters and passed the supposed debt to a DCA. (regal credit consultants) she wrote to them stating she dis[uted the debt, which they have ignored and have now sent her a final demand, giving her 1 week to pay the full amount or they will apply for a CCJ.can anyone advise me on what he exact position is?

thanks

stephen7

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Moved to the Insurance/Assurance Forum


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hello everyone,

been a long time since i posted here and the site has changed quite a bit, so if this is in the wrong place, my appologies, though i am sure it will be moved if it is, anyway, my problrm:

my daughter arranged her car insurance through swinton, and like most people arranged to pat by monthly instalments. she made the initial downpayment and set up the direct debit. a week later a letter arrived giving her 2 weeks to provide her proof of no claims. her previous ins. co. failed to send her this in time, so swinton cancelled the policy. when the alootted time for the direct debot arrived ( a week after the cancelation) swinton took the months premium. she then receibed a letter from them demanding more money, which she obvioulsy disputed. swinton completely ignored her letters and passed the supposed debt to a DCA. (regal credit consultants) she wrote to them stating she dis[uted the debt, which they have ignored and have now sent her a final demand, giving her 1 week to pay the full amount or they will apply for a CCJ.can anyone advise me on what he exact position is?

thanks

stephen7

 

Check the policy wording under cancellations etc, ususally if an Ins company they should only charge on a pro rata basis, ask them for a breakdown of the cancellation charges. But to me it sounds like that if they are demanding more money they may have been a bit naughty by removing the NCD discount, thus increasing the premium and then cancelling the policy thus asking for a higher pro rata payment.

 

Im sure others will post, but as far as i know as long as you have disputed the debt, they are not allowed to hound you for it until sorted? not 100% but someone will fill in blanks from the forum.

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vusys1,

thanks for that reply,swinton only sent a letter saying that she still owed money, no breakdown details.and haven't bothered replying to her letters, so not sure why, even on a pro rata basis she has paid far more than 3 weeks worth of insurance, my calculations show that they infact owe her a refund. i think i also read/heard somewhere that they cannot apply for a CCJ whilst this is in dispute, it would be a great help if someone could clarify this

stephen7

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i think i also read/heard somewhere that they cannot apply for a CCJ whilst this is in dispute, it would be a great help if someone could clarify this

stephen7

can anyone confirm/refute this?

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They can issue a court claim and it would be up to a judge whether to allow the claim, taking into account ALL information. So if your daughter defended with information that the account was in dispute and the amount of the claim was brought into question, it would be unlikely they would succeed. The reason for this is that the particulars of their claim would be incorrect.

 

Your daughter should check her credit records to see if the default has been noted. Experian, Equifax and Call Credit all offer free trial if you remember to cancel before the trial ends. As the records vary with each company, it is worth checking all of the them.

 

In regard to the general issue, I am led to believe that Swinton have outsourced or moved their accounts operation elsewhere and that they are having major problems. Policies are getting cancelled before the Insurance admin people have had a change to process things like NCD proof. I have read this somewhere, from an other poster, where a Swinton staff member made a comment to this effect.

 

Suggest your daughter starts an official complaint with Swinton head office, threatening to involve the FOS, as well as advising the FSA of the problems encountered.


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thanks for that, unclebulgaria,

will pass on your advice to my daughter, which, although the amount they are demanding, is not a great deal in relevant terms, i am sure she will follow

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This problem is becoming more prevelant, but because of false disclosure and the inability to support claims of a particulat NCD. You don;t mention what happened after she recieved proof of NCD. Was it forwarded to Swinton? If so, they would have reversed the cancellation and reinstated the policy. THis needs to be sorted as they'll report it to the insurance hunter database (IH) as a cancellation, and will be more damniung than a bad credit file.

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when swinton cancelled the policy, my daughter called them to say that she had still not received her NCD proof, the wern't interested and said that the policy was cancelled and that was that, she has since received her NCD and has taken out a new policy with the AA, no problrms there.

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The problems arise when there is a claim (it is called 'non disclosure'). All in all, how long was it from requesting the NCD proof and actually getting it?

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as they never requested the proof of NCD initially, it wasn't till the letter arrived a week later that she chased up her previous insurers.(budget) they eventually sent her it about a month later, 2 weeks passed swintons deadline. she had even given swinton her previous insurance number so they could have quite easily got it from budget themselves, they all check with one another anyway. if the inference is she was trying to cheat swinton

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No, I don't get that inference. You're giving them too much intelligence. Secondly, under the DPA, it souls be a breach if Budget/Swinton shared data. That isn't allowed.

 

What IS actionable, is that Budget took 1month to provide the proof. I'm told this should be provided within 5 working days, so I'd be looking to Budged to cover any losses or inconvenience due to their inability to provide the information asked in a timely manner.

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hi all again,

received a letter on 20 october, saying that under the circumstances they would no longer persue the matter( very kind of them) end of matter............................... or so i thought,

imagine my surprise when my daughter informed me that after checkung her recent bank statement, a new direct debit had appeared,( an initial payment) knowing that she had not set up any new ones, she contacted her bank, who informed her that it was from swintons, the sneaky so-and-so's had changed the reference number and set up another direct debit, using her bank details, not only is this totally unethical, but i am sure illegal, obiously i will be getting in touch with swintons over this, but i intend to report them to the relevant authority, which would be the ones to inform? is it thr FSA, DTI pr another one.

any comments. remarks, advice gratefully received

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Quite simple this. Under BACS rules Swintons are not allowed to set up a Direct Debit without the account holders permission and if they do so, then any payments collected have to be refunded by the bank. Your daughter just needs to speak to her bank to cancel the Direct Debit authority, get the payment return unpaid and the monye put back in the account. Under Direct Debit, the bank can only accept payments that have been notified to the account holder, under a DD authority that they have agreed to.

 

The setting up of the DD and collection of the payment could be considered fraud. Not worth wasting Police time, as Swinton will say it was an error. Just get your daughter to sort it out with the bank. If the bank clerks she speaks to is not sure, she should ask to speak to a manager.

 

Once the bank have sorted this, then your daughter should further the complaint with Swinton and threaten to pass this to the FOS, as well as reporting this to the FSA as a serious breach.


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thanks for that info, i know she has had the bank cancel the DD, and have informed them that no DD's from swintons are to be accepted in the future, the clerk, however told her that because the payment had already been taken out, it was up to swinton's to repay the money, will have to get her to speak to them again

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Sorry, but no. I'm assuming your daughter had actually given them a DDM at some time? If so, unless she specifically revoked it, they have every right to reactivate and/or cha ge the reference number, amount, frequency or payment date. Her only get out will be under the laughable DD guarantee, that requires the originator to send her advance notice of the pending debit, if they did not then she can request an immediate reversal of the funds tacked. she does not need to ask Swinton for it, and the bank staff are so wrong it is breathtaking.

 

For the avoidance od doubt there is no fraud, and I would suggest if she wants to stay ahead of her financial affairs the last thing she needs is DDs.

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, I would suggest if she wants to stay ahead of her financial affairs the last thing she needs is DDs.

once again, thanks for the info, though i don't get the reference above, i can assure you, i am well in advance of my financial affairs,and i DO have direct debits, after all, not many can afford to buy a house outright

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There is no requirement for a Direct Debit 'to buy a house' neither is it anything other than a remittances system that places the CREDITOR in control. (Not the Consumer!).

 

Creditors will often manipulate their processes to coerce the customer to remit by DD (in reality, this is the ability to take Amy nag all money they want, when they want and as often as they want, leaving the customer to beg for it back. Far too much power is given to creditors, yet those signing up to a DD (which doesn't even need your signature any more) means your bank will give our your money simply because someone else said YOU said it was OK!

 

If you are manipulated into a DD by there being no other option, let the first payment go out, cancel the mandate and ensure you use PC or phone banking to ensure you Fund the accout by tbe due date and correct amount. This places the creditor in an awkward position. YOU (not them) are in control of our account and finances, and there's not much they can do about it as you are paying as you agreed to do.

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Buzby

 

You sound like an uncle of mine, who insisted on standing orders and if they did not do that, he paid by monthly cheque at the bank.

 

In regard to the OP's daughter, I thought the original Direct Debit mandate had been cancelled, thus the need for Swinton to set up a new one. If they need to set up a new DDM, then they need the account holders permission and they need to inform the account holder of payments, giving I believe a minimum of 10 days notice. They have failed to do any of this, so the bank have to refund. They just do this as a late return, with the relevant reason code. Banks staff often refuse to do this, as they just can't be bothered to do it. Hence why I suggested the daughter might need to speak to the branch manager.


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unclebulgaria,

thanks again for the confirmation of hte info. will get my daughter to talk to the bank manager and get it sorted out. i think buzby may have been bitten by the DD system. so much against it,

thanks again

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Good for your uncle, but don;t let your aparrent contempt for his actions make you think I'm against progress - far from it. I was one of the first to adopt online banking (in 1980) using Prestel - the issue isa one of responsibility, and for your continious misreading of how DDs actually work, perhaps you'll not mind if I pont out the errors of your statements?

 

A DD is not 'cancelled' unless the account holder actually requests this. Secondly, the instruction the OP describes was that the DDM was 'deactivated', this is NOT the same as cancellation. A merchant cas every right to reactivate a DDM, and they can do this up to 13 months from the last payment taken from the users account. I'm sure you;ll think I'm making this up, but its in the small print and forms no part of the 'DD Guarantee' that they laughingly keep on promoting.

 

The difficulty these days - is that as no signature is required to provide proof that the account holder agrees to the setting up, there isn;t even a safety-net of a confirmatory letter that a Mandate has been set up, the first thing the account holder finds is that the money has left his/her account. The thought process is that if a valid Sort and Account number is provided, then the account holder MUST have provided the info. (Which, of course, is nonsense - but the banks are happy to accept this). If you had a DDM for (say) Sky, and you terminated service they can still reactivate the mandate if you rejoin up to a year later. They may not, and take the info from the new application, but a deactivated DDM remains until reactivated or it times out and is removed by the bank as it has not been used for over a year.

 

There are a great many reasons why DDMs are bad news for consumers, but there's no need for me to harp on about them, the damage has already been done - but before you rumble on about 'fraud' this is a nonsense, and just try taking this to your local cop shop - they might not laugh in your face, but they'll simply refer you to your bank. Nothing more.

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No contempt regarding anyones concern about DD's. Actually I share these concerns and keep mine to a minimum. The only ones I have are where no other choice of payment is offered or there is a discount. I prefer to use cash as much as possible.

 

You are correct that a DD may be re-activated, but they should only do so with the customers consent, giving atleast 10 days notice of any payments to be collected.

 

When I mentioned fraud, I meant that Swintons actions appeared to be deliberate. The mandate had been stopped, an argument occured regarding payment due and Swintons went ahead to just debit the money. Setting up a DD knowing the policyholder did not consent to this and then putting a payment through without notice is tantamount to fraud. Yes the Police would laugh at this, but neither the FOS or FSA would. What if there was insufficient money in the account and the OP's daughter incurred banking charges.

 

Under AUDDIS, companies have to follow rules, otherwise BACS get pretty fed up. They certainly would not be happy with Swinton, if they are starting to collect payments in this way out of spite.

 

For info http://www.bacs.co.uk/Bacs/Consumers/DirectDebit/HelpCentre/Pages/HelpCentre.aspx


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You quote from the Consumer information website, which is not legally binding, nor does it explicitly state merchant ground rules to establish any transgression. I have only seen these nice in printed form, and it was a document of some 300 pages of dry reading - it was from this I learned of the 13 month expiry period from the date of the last 'valid' transaction.

 

Looking at the 'when things go wrong' help :lol: this is limited to sending letters (of which a template is provided). Bearing out my statement that once someone makes a debit you still have to beg for your own money back. Also buried within is a Cancel a DD template. As this is the only way to actually cancel, our OP will not have done this, so no transgression and no foul.

 

You mention that Swinton must seek permission to reactivate a DD? Can you point to this as an explicit requirement, as I have never, ever seen anything even approaching this as an explicit requirement (up to 2005). A link or info as to their acceptance that a deactivated DDM needs the account holders prior permission wool be gold dust, as this would bring the transgression within the remit of the Guarantee enforced recall - but even if it is (which I doubt) the payee remains disadvantaged.

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I used to work for one of the largest high street banks handling these DD issues, as well as Insurances etc.

 

The bit about needing consent to reactivate an AUDDIS DDM comes from training received. This was what we were told was required by the BACS people, as being required for operating the AUDDIS system. So I couldn't point to this in a publicly available document.

 

It is simply the case that if a customer stops the AUDDIS DDM at their bank, cancels the Insurance or product connected with the DDM, that the originating company wishing to debit the customer account must have their consent to reactivate the DDM and have provided atleast 10 days notice to the account holder of the debit being processed.

 

Now I do remember from another Swinton thread on this site, that Swinton have included some dodgy clause in their t&c's that they can collect any payment that becomes due. But surely this must be with the customers consent and having given notice. To simply debit the account on reactivating a DDM is something that I think is not compliant and I have not come across this with other companies. But then I have read other peoples comments that Swinton appear to make up their own rules.


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This is my point - a system that relies on 'unsterstandigs' is absolutely fine for the banks, but hardly for the consumer who requires explicit points of reference. We have already seen how different banks have different internal 'policies' some working in favour of the consumer, others will not.

 

I get very uneasy with policies that are invisible to a customer until they are required to be given an airing because of a dispute. Add to the fact different management styles and modernizing policies can often mean something good that one bank does can be quickly forgotten as a new broom tries another way. Whilst all the time the consumer is left in limbo - having signed away their financial independence to one (or many suppliers) who can take money they feel is owed.

 

As this requires the account holder to stand over their bank statement with a magnifying glass every month, because after 6 even the DD guarantee will be void as the customer is supposed to actively spot and report/complain about these errors in good time! Sorry, but Ive a busy life already and find it much easier to verify and confirm those that want my money are actually due it. I then make a BACS transfer and off it goes. I now don't have to do all the extra work to monitor who shouldn't be taking spurious amounts.

 

As for Swinton, they are on my list of companies I would never trust with a DDM, and I take the position that if someone still trusts DDM after an unauthorised debit, they should not class it as 'on of those things' but learn from it - and dump them altogether.

 

One of my bank accounts has the ability for me to set up a DDM with me as the originator. All I need is your A/c details and no signature. Mind you, for those CAGgers who found it too late to set up a Power of Attorney to look after a relative etc., since most of the issues will be mobbed related, this is a godsend. So it has it's uses, but for those who value their time and retain their marbles in working order, I'd contend having even 1 DDM on their A/c is all they need to be made a fool of.

 

BTDT - but I learned very quickly!

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