Money

An insurer took £600 from me to cover a camera I don’t have


I recently noticed a payment on my bank statement that I was unsure of. Further investigation revealed that the warranty firm Domestic & General had resurrected a warranty for a Nikon camera that I understood had expired in 2016.

I knew nothing about it, did not agree to this, and no longer even have the camera. Having gone back through my bank statements, I see that D&G has taken 42 unauthorised direct debits, totalling more than £600.

I’ve complained to D&G’s head office but the company has refused to refund the payment on the grounds that they sent me letters telling me about the continuation of payments.

The fact that I didn’t see them is my fault because I didn’t tell them when I moved house.

By why should I tell a company, with whom I had an expired policy, that I’m moving house? Can they really keep my money?

AF, Nottingham

You are the latest consumer to fall victim to an insurer’s auto-renewal of a policy which you will unwittingly have agreed to when you bought the original. You are not the first, and you won’t be the last, who moved house, didn’t receive the letters telling you of the “new” price, and found yourself paying for a policy you didn’t want or need.

Happily, following our intervention, D&G has had a change of heart. “We have improved how we display renewal and billing information for customers in our present insurance plans,” it says.

“However, given AF has not seen the new literature, we are offering a refund as a gesture of goodwill.”

Had D&G not done so, you could have tried asking your bank for a refund using the direct debit guarantee.

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This is yet another reminder to examine bank statements each month. Auto renewal of policies like this should, in our view, be banned.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to terms and conditions



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