Pricewatch reader queries: Car key insurance, Tesco Clubcard vouchers and sterling rip-off
Unlocking the confusion about car key insurance
Unlocking the confusion about car key insurance
A reader called Maria wrote to us and said she was “incensed with the car insurance industry” but not for the normal reasons connected to spiralling prices. She is annoyed by what she considers to be a very misleading product sold by online brokers 123.ie.
“Last week my home was broken into and my spare set of car keys were stolen,” she says. “The burglars were interrupted and so did not have the opportunity to take the car. I have made enquiries with the car manufacturer who advised that they can disable the stolen key for €70. The disabled key won’t start the car but it can still be used to access the car, boot and glove box and I have been advised to get all locks changed and new sets of keys. The cost is €1,600.”
She has a car insurance policy is with 123.ie. “Last year they gave me Key Care as an optional extra for free. This year I paid an extra €20 to keep it on my policy. I had to opt out if I wanted to remove it. When Key Care write to you with details of the cover they send you one fob to attach to your keys to activate the cover.”
She sent us the line that was included in the policy renewal document. It says: “This price includes Key Care at €20 which was added free of charge during the previous year. Key Care gives you peace of mind that if your keys are lost or stolen, we will replace any keys on the fob up to the value of €1,500. If you wish to remove Key Care from your policy please call us.”
But when she went to submit her claim she was told she was not covered because the keys that were stolen did not have the fob on them. “The keys I had on my person had the fob on them. I believe this to be totally misleading. It is natural to assume that if one is purchasing ‘Key Care’ that they are covered for their keys, not for one set only. And it should be stipulated clearly that if you have two sets of keys you need to purchase an additional fob.”
She says she has found it difficult to contact 123.ie and Key Care and describes the customer service as “disheartening”. She believes that “people need to be aware of this as it seems it is just another way for the insurers to avoid paying out anything. If I had opted out of Key Care I wouldn’t have been covered by 123.ie, I remained ‘opted-in’ and am still not covered.”
We checked the 123.ie documentation and it does make it clear that only keys which are attached to the fob are covered by the policy. This highlights the need to read the terms and conditions. Policy- holders should be forewarned if a key is not attached to the fob the company will not pay out.
Recently, a reader called Maryrose from Cork tried to book an Irish Ferries trip to Britain for Christmas. She checked the fare online and it was €455 return.
“We had saved up our Tesco vouchers and converted them to €90 in vouchers for Irish Ferries,” she writes. “When we ticked the ‘use voucher’ box, the fare jumped to €495. We did not book online but decided to call up to try and get the fare at €455 minus €90.”
Her husband called and was told that if he was using the vouchers the fare was €495. “We also have to post the vouchers, registered post at a cost to us of €7, so the total cost to us now is €412, which is a saving of €33 on the online fare rather than €90. Is there anything you or we can do about this, as I believe this is false advertising, as surely the saving should be on the published fare?”
We contacted Tesco and were told that its Clubcard Boost vouchers when redeemed with a third party “are subject to the terms and conditions of the Boost partner”. A spokeswoman said that the terms and conditions of the Boost offer with Irishferries.com state that there is a €20 admin charge for each crossing added to the lowest internet price for journeys to Britain and France, which can be paid using the Tesco Clubcard Boost Tokens. Reservations by phone result in a €15 admin fee for each crossing which can be paid using the Tesco Clubcard Boost Tokens.
“We are working with Irish Ferries to introduce e-fulfilment tokens which will see the removal of their administration fee. Tesco and Irish Ferries acknowledge and apologise for the inconvenience caused and Tesco Ireland is happy to refund this customer with their vouchers to facilitate their use on another promotion of their choice.”
Anger over sterling exchange rate rip-off
Unsurprisingly we have been getting a lot of correspondence from readers in connection with increasingly obvious price discrepancies between identical products selling in the Republic and the UK as a result of the recent collapse in sterling.
“The greatest rip-off for me has to me British magazines,” writes Brendan Sliney. He points to a magazine – which he does not identify – selling in large Irish retail chains which has a price of £4.50 in the UK and €6.52 in the Republic. “If current exchange rate of roughly 1.16 was used, the euro price should be €5.22. Some mark-up,” he writes.
“I have pointed this out over the years when sterling fluctuated but never received satisfactory explanation. I can guarantee if sterling and euro were at parity it still would not make a difference.”