After I phoned the Aviva call centre for the ten thousandth time, a girl called Adele had to sort it in the end. If she hadn’t, I would have climbed on to the roof of the House of Commons in an outfit made of Lycra, waving a banner bearing the legend ‘Drivers For Justice!’
The poor thing wasn’t too impressed with my hysteria at first. ‘Help me, please!’ I squawked into the phone. ‘I’ve been fighting these people who claimed I injured them when I hadn’t for three and a half years and this week the statute ran out on their claim — not just ran out, really ran out. I mean, it ran out three years ago but then the lawyers extended it to give them another chance to submit evidence only they never did because there wasn’t any evidence, and so this week the case was really, really closed and the lawyers declared it not my fault and everything should be all right, only it’s not all right because my renewal quote came through at the same time and the whole thing of it not being my fault is not reflected in my quote and you want another £1,000 a year from me instead of £450, which is the cheapest quote on comparethemarket.com without an at fault accident on my file, but an at fault accident is on my file, because you won’t take it off my file, even though it’s been disproved and I’ve got nine years no claims discount, and when I rang in yesterday a man told me my file says you paid out £6,000 to The Slobs — they’re the people I didn’t injure, by the way — only you didn’t pay them, that’s a mistake on the file because they may have wanted six grand but they didn’t get it, because we fought them, but all the while we fought them you charged me inflated premiums until I proved I didn’t injure them and now it’s over, only it isn’t over because your call centre won’t recognise it’s over when you generate my renewal quote so it comes out at £1,000 still and I’ve been paying £1,000 instead of half that for three years and it was meant to end this week and it hasn’t ended and ooooooohhhhh, help me pleeeeeeeeease!’
Adele took a deep breath. ‘Miss Kite, you need to stop shouting at me.’
‘Yes. Yes. I’m sorry. I know I do, but I’m not really shouting, I’m weeping. Can’t you tell the difference? Oh please, you’ve got to help me, I’m begging you!’
Adele stayed perfectly calm. ‘I don’t know anything about this…’ No one ever does. That’s the genius of it. If you wanted to design a better way to extract money for nothing you couldn’t. Keep charging a customer twice as much as she should be paying for her car insurance for three years and four months while she proves she didn’t smash into a car on Streatham High Road, reactivating the previous and various back injuries of two people already on incapacity benefit, which she can’t prove because you can’t prove a negative. The only way it gets proved is when they fail to produce any evidence, which they take nearly three and a half years to do. And all the while I have to negotiate my car insurance by ringing every conceivable department from customer relations to claims to renewals and every one of these departments has no idea what the other one is doing.
So when finally I win the case, I get a cheerful email from the legal people congratulating me and a demand from the renewals people for £1,000 because they have no idea I’ve won and no intention of charging me any less because of it.
After a while, however, Adele managed to regenerate the quote with the ‘non-fault’ recorded on my file and it came out at £606, not £998.
She couldn’t stop the first payment coming out of my account at midnight that night at the higher rate but she did manage to refund the difference by taking something off the subsequent monthly payments until my premium was £48 a month, instead of £100.
‘Oh, thank you. Thank you!’ I wailed. It is pathetic how grateful I am for small mercies. The premium is still £150 a year more than Tesco was offering on Compare the Meerkat, but I have to stick with Aviva because I have one last battle to fight.
You see, I have it in writing from an Aviva head honcho that I’m due a refund of all the inflated premiums I’ve paid while fighting to prove my innocence. I’ve done some calculations and I make it well over £1,400 that they owe me.
Let the games begin again (sob).