Your consumer queries

Tue, Jun 19, 2012, 01:00

Headaches over Axa's no-claims form certainly not a bonus: JOHN MAHER had what sounds like a very trying time dealing with Axa Insurance, who he says refused to reissue a copy of his daughter’s no-claims bonus.

Her insurance was due for renewal, so they shopped around for the best deal and found Liberty was the cheapest. They contacted Axa to say they were changing companies and asked for proof of the no-claims bonus she had.

“However, we never received it, and when I rang to request a copy I was told a €15 admin fee would have to be paid. I decided to call into the office in Cork to speak to them in person and they agreed to waive the admin charge after a brief discussion, but then they informed me that there was €136 outstanding.”

He said this couldn’t be correct as his employers have an agreement with Axa for a salary deduction that comes out of his wages every week.

Maher checked with his employers and the bill had been paid in full, yet Axa still refused to give the proof of the no-claims bonus.

“I informed Liberty of what was happening and they informed me that it is illegal for them to withhold the proof of bonus, even if there is an item outstanding.

“Liberty then said that they would accept a ‘verbal’ confirmation as proof. But Axa again refused this. After several phone calls to both Liberty and Axa, we called into [Axa’s] Cork office to sort it out.”

He was shown the breakdown of the payments and indeed there was €136 missing, but that was because his daughter had passed her driving test and got a refund of €136, “but they still would not issue the no-claims bonus cert.

“Eventually, after threatening legal action, they rang Liberty and informed them they had the cert, and the story ended.”

Seems like a whole lot of unnecessary messing to us.

Fluffybutton service hits the spot with a cosy feeling

KARINA O’NEILL reads so many tales of customer-service woe in the Pricewatch pages (we’re sorry!) that she thought she should let us know about “an occasion of quite brilliant customer service from”.

Apparently the company’s website has been having some issues with its hosting and it was finally back online last week, says O’Neill.

“I ordered four of its ‘Irish Citizenship’ (right) posters and sent them an email to congratulate them on being back online. I received an email to thank me for my patience”, and with it came an offer to deliver the goods straight away, to refund €10 in postage and give her two free posters.

She says that as a result she will “obviously go out of my way to use them in future (those Irish Christmas cards look great) and congratulate them on being customer-savvy and nice people”.

Good to hear.

Be alert to dongle data limits

NOEL MacENTEE has a broadband dongle from O2 for the past five months after taking out a €20 a month contract lasting six months.

“My monthly bill for four or five months has been €20 per month,” he writes.

“I recently jointed Netflix and one wet weekend I watched a full three seasons of Breaking Bad.

“To my horror this week, I discovered that my bill for this month is €191.

“In my inexperience I had failed to activate the ‘alert’ setting on my account.

“As a result I was not aware of the massively increasing bill until I got the usual end-of-month text from the O2 accounts department.”

A cautionary tale for all you dongle users. Stay alert.

We contacted O2 and got the following statement: “While the vast majority of customers stay within their data limits as per their price plan, there continue to be some incidents where customers exceed their allowance.

“Some of these have related to Netflix usage.

“While we have been flexible with customers who have inadvertently run up a large data bill, we strongly encourage customers to familiarise themselves with their data plans and their data usage to avoid any surprises.

“We have a range of flexible price plans offering different data allowances to meet different customer needs.

“We also have tools available online to help customers track data usage.

“ We are already in contact with the customer in question with a view to helping him resolve his issue.”

It makes plane sense

DION O’KEEFFE has a query about administration fees when booking Aer Lingus flights from Ireland.

“Since no banks or credit card companies offer the Visa Electron card in the Republic, is it not time for the airline to offer a ‘free payment’ method to Irish customers so we don’t have to pay €6 per passenger per flight?” he asks.

“Ryanair allows its customers to get the Ryanair Cash Passport debit card via its website to avoid the fee which can mount up and cost as much as €60 for return flights for a family of five.”

Politics of pricing

GERRY RYAN contacted us to say he had noticed a trend recently in Supervalu and Tesco around pricing. He cites the example of three-packs of John West tuna in brine. There were two three-packs on the shelves of his local Tesco – he sent in pictures – and the only difference between the two products was the packaging. One was €2.19, and the other €2.59.

Another trend, he says, is for a 200g block of Kilmeaden cheese in Supervalu, Lusk and at Spar in Skerries to be on sale at about €2.40 – but a 400g block would be on sale for about €6 (sometimes more).

“Is this a ploy to have people plump for the larger block and perceived better value but without looking at the price?” he wonders.

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