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I would prefer at this point to keep the names of the respective companies out of public view if only because I am going to take some unusual steps in order to try to force the issue.

 

A relative who had cancelled a business insurance policy within the 30 day cancellation period was a year later contacted by a DCA claiming a fee of £91 for a non existing debt. Obviously I am struggling here to minimise the relative facts and details. Unlike most DCA's who in my experience run a mile at the mere mention of the phrase "this is a dispute not a debt" this bunch persisted.

 

They obtained my phone number from somewhere initially sending threatening sms msg's followed by an auto ring back to their offices during which they insisted on speaking to my relative. I patiently pointed out that as my phone number was in a different county to the person with whom they wished to talk to I could not help them. Could I confirm my address? No because I lived in a different county therefore I could not.

 

I contacted my relative and with the sketchy information deduced that the Insurance Company was at fault. However there are two ways of looking at this issue because certain things do not make much sense. Why wait a year before issuing a debt notice to the DCA yet no debt notice was delivered to my relative. Ok it could have been an oversight but don't they have access to their own payment records?

 

I stepped in as my relatives representative with a written note emailed to both the DCA and the insurance company after all I was already getting pestered so why not? I stipulated that no phone calls to discuss this issue were permissable and so the insurance company phoned me. I sent them a stroppy worded email accusing them of treating this matter with contempt and for being obstructive. Then by return I got a smarmy patronising reply stating that they had called off the debt collector and would be happy to talk to my relative on the phone and more than happy to investigate this matter presumably to pass out a bucket of whitewash.

 

Annoyed I responded with a threat to complain to the FOS (not likely cos they're a waste of time) and suprise suprise the debt collector resurfaced yet according to the insurance company it was the debt collector who had alerted them to the cancelled account.

 

On the one hand I am toying with the idea that this is a stupid mistake by the insurance company and that it is so easy to jump to conclusions while on the other hand I suspect it might be an orchestrated insurance/debt [problem]. What concerns me the most is whether this is indeed the tip of an iceberg so I as I said am going to try pushing some buttons to get a responsive reaction (all legal and above board) I'll keep you posted. BTW one of the debt letters is blatantly in breach of the OFT guidelines because they pretend to have powers that they do not possess and its the kind of letter usually sent after a few weeks not as a second letter.

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The easiest way to resolve this, is a complaint to the compliance manager of the Insurance company. They are handling your data, with your phone numbers etc being used to try to contact your relative. This is a breach of the Data Protection act. They must remove all data that relates to you and must stop contacting you. They are also breaching your relatives rights under the DPA, by making contact via a third party.

 

If the compliance manager at the Insurance company fails to act within 8 weeks, you can elevate your complaint to the ICO.

 

That is the way to handle this matter. I suspect the compliance manager will just write the debt off and your relative will hear no more about it.

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I do appreciate your reply however there never was any debt at all. Her first payment was followed two weeks later by her second payment (one payment per month) and two-three days later she was forced by ill health to cancel her arrangements. Plus it was the compliance manager offering to bypass me (written permission from my relative being ignored) and talk to my relative on the phone.

Edited by Crow from the Crows Nest
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I do appreciate your reply however there never was any debt at all. Her first payment was followed two weeks later by her second payment (one payment per month) and two-three days later she was forced by ill health to cancel her arrangements. Plus it was the compliance manager offering to bypass me (written permission from my relative being ignored) and talk to my relative on the phone.

 

All this for £91. Bit of a nonsense from the Insurance company to spend any time on this. I would have written it off fairly quickly.

 

Suggest a strongly worded letter to the compliance manager that you believe that the Insurers are acting in a way that is likely to be seen by regulators as unprofessional. Under FSA rules, they have to have efficient accounting and administrative systems in place, with a flow charted process that they have to follow. I have had some responsibility for drawing some of these up and there is scrutiny at a high level within a company that processes meet all relevant compliance rules.

 

When a company registers a debt, they have to provide evidence of what the debt is for, with a breakdown of the calculation of debt provided on request.

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I think there maybe some confusion here having made

the payments I suspect that this is taken as acknolwledgment

of the contarct and the insurance cover was activated and avialable,

therefore cancellation at this point would most likely incur a cancellation

fee.

 

You need to make a formal complaint to the insurers CEO this

shoild illicit a ''final response'' you can then take it to the industry

ombudsman.

 

Can we see a copy of the DCAs letter please we may be able to advise

more given that information.

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I think there maybe some confusion here having made

the payments I suspect that this is taken as acknolwledgment

of the contarct and the insurance cover was activated and avialable,

therefore cancellation at this point would most likely incur a cancellation

fee.

 

You need to make a formal complaint to the insurers CEO this

shoild illicit a ''final response'' you can then take it to the industry

ombudsman.

 

.

 

Generally speaking members of the public who are not seeking to trade under any specific name for business purposes tend to come under Distant Selling Regulations when not buying anything in person though there could be a debate as to whether insurance is a tangible item, being something you can hold in your hand, usually with DSR's there is only a seven day cancellation period unless otherwise stated. In business to business transactions there is a 30 day allowable cancellation period and the only letter from the insurance company is an acknowledgement that the payment process had been cancelled after 18 days which my relative assumed had crossed over with her letter of cancellation, though she was not worried as she had originally phoned in to query it. So even if they did make assumptions the payment process was cancelled well before the 30 day dead line. Yes I'll scan the letter (tomorrow) though I'll need to obliterate the address first.

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