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QLD Car Accident - Bullying from Car Insurance Company

Discussion in 'Insurance Law Forum' started by Gary, 30 January 2015.

  1. Gary

    Gary Active Member

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    In October 2014, I was involved in a car accident resulting in damage to both cars.

    As I was unlicensed at the time, the car accident was judged to be my fault and the other person's car insurance company sent a letter of demand for payment of $9,800 for repairs carried out on her car.

    The letter of demand requested payment in full unless they had correspondence from me stating the need to enter into a payment plan. This letter was received in late November 2014 and gave 14 days payment due on 1 December 2014, I called to advise that I could not afford this amount and they said they would send out a proposal to enter into a payment plan.

    I never received this paperwork and called to advise. They said they would send again.
    In the meantime two friends had remarked that they felt that the cost of almost $10,000 for repairs to a vehicle that suffered damage to only the right side of the car and NO structural or mechanical damage seemed excessive.

    When the paperwork arrived on 18 December 2014, I called to advise my case manager that I had finally received the payment proposal paperwork and that I had concerns about the charges. She arranged for me to speak to the insurance assessor. He said he didn't agree but that if i wanted to make enquiries I was welcome to do so.

    Everything now placed on hold.

    On 30 December 2014, I spoke to my case manager to advise her that I was waiting for companies to get back to me and that due to the Christmas break it had proven difficult to get all the information required and that i required a week or more to obtain this info. We agreed a date and I continued to gather information. When, for various reasons i began to get feedback from smash repairs they now required photographic evidence.

    On 9 January 2015, I called and advised that the quotes would take longer and also advised required photographs and drew her attention to an overcharge in there towing fees (i was being charged for more of the towing than i should be. 4 lots instead of 3, though i dispute that it should even be 3) my case manager informed me that new paperwork would have to be drawn up and sent out.

    I forgot to remind her to send photographs and called again. left message. I heard nothing and called again and was informed that my case was no longer with the person i was dealing with and that the matter was now with their legals team and that they had done this to get permission to send photographs. I have since suspected that my case manager was relieved of this case and it was taken by a team member in another dept with the sole purpose of pushing this along) i had still received no photographs and on 15 January 2015, I called and another team member advised that they had been sent on the 13th and i told her nothing in my mail so she resent. these came through on the 16 january. So i started the ball rolling again and re-submitted each quote request with the insurance companies itemised invoice, listing parts numbers, costings etc, and the 17 photos of the car.

    By 21 January 2015, i was able to show a cost of between $5000-$7000 for the damage to be repaired. This was backed up by two further verbal quotes and so i submitted my findings to the insurer.
    On 22 January 2015, I was advised by the car insurance company that a quote in writing was required not a figure from me so i re-sent on January 2015 and the car insurers case manager responded on the 29 January 2015 and advised the following:

    I responded with this:
    the insurer informed on 30th January 2014
    I am about to respond and outline a few things including their working with me by suspending the investigation providing info such as photographs yet all the time they would reject based on the vehicle not being physically inspected. Why? Why string me along? also advising that the quote is fine as it is based on their own itemised account and photos and this is more than enough for a professional to provide a quote.

    To be honest, I am a wreck. The car insurance company knows about my stress, depression, anxiety issues etc and is now appearing to stonewall me and bully me. Threatening me with car accident lawyers and demands for money.
    What are my rights? Am i being intimidated cause it sure feels like it?
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Gary
    1. Given that you were unlicensed and found to be at fault for the car accident, my understanding is that your rights are relatively limited in this situation.
    2. Have you reviewed the car insurance company's complaints (also commonly referred to dispute resolution) process on their website to understand if you can escalate your complaint (either internally and/or to an external ombudsman) in relation to the alleged excessive cost to repair the other car involved in the car accident?
    Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.
     
  3. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gary,

    I agree with John that you are limited in your options given the nature of your accident. If you are having trouble resolving your matter with the insurance company and are disputing their behaviour toward you, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Services to seek further information or to lodge a dispute against the insurance company.
     
  4. Gary

    Gary Active Member

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    Hello John,
    Thank you very much for your advice. I will follow that up re the amount in question.
    In relation to the interaction between myself and the insurer's representative. The escalation of my case to a more senior member of staff and the now more aggressive stance taken by the company, or rather the person handling my case, I am still looking for advice regarding:

    1: Why have the company gone from being co-operative, i.e., sending me a payment option and plan, extending time, supplying photos to one of stonewalling?
    2: Why will they not consider even looking at the cost when the estimates are based on their itemised account/charges and their photos?
    3: have they been agreeable and now playing hardball because they believe that the period of time, 30 days, to submit a response to the payment plan has lapsed and they believe they can now demand the amount
    4: is the tone and approach very intimidating and aggressive, almost bullying. Threatening legal action, demanding, etc

    I don't understand why estimates from professional people based on a detailed and itemised account plus photos are not enough to warrant an investigation. And personally I find the sudden turn in attitude to be quite intimidating. Surely this is not acceptable in today's world of business, I have never shirked my responsibility and refused to pay. I have only questioned, found that there could be a reasonable doubt, and stated that I am more than happy to enter into a plan of repayment for what is a fair and equitable amount. Surely these tactics are entrapment if they only cooperated to see out the 30 days that I had to submit an alternative plan. Surely there must be an ethical question in regards to the sudden aggressive demeanour
     
  5. Gary

    Gary Active Member

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    thanks tracy. wish i had seen your post before writing and posting my last reply...:rolleyes:
     
  6. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    No worries, Gary.

    Best to give FOS a call and lodge a complaint if the insurance company is being uncooperative. It may be that you are in a limited situation, however, they should not be treating you in the manner you described above. FOS should also be able to work with you and the insurance company toward a resolution.

    Best of luck with this situation.
     

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