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British retailers and the U.K Government are experts when it comes to screwing every penny out of the British public. Again the wife and I have been left with that sinking feeling that once more we have robbed by deceitful trading practises.
Before picking up our new car the wife went onto one of these comparison web-sites to arrange insurance for the new motor. We put in all the information and up popped pages of quotes. As the cheapest price was quoted by a bank that we both have accounts with we were happy to buy their product. We paid in full on line and made a note to send in our previous Insurance documents to prove we had a full no claims discount.
Now in the U.K most insurance companies will only show their no claims discount as being seven years which were on the documents we sent in to the new insurer as requested. So image our surprise when they emailed back two weeks later to say they had received the document and all was OK.
Now you know what I am going to say because I say it all the time; there is always a but and this occasion was no different. The new company claimed that they needed nine years no claims to get a full discount and not the standard seven years as used throughout the industry. Because of this there would be an extra charge to pay.
We got in contact with our previous insurance company to ask if they could send us another document with nine years on it so we could pass it on to the new insurer, but they stated they only went up to the standard seven years as do most other companies so they couldn't
We have now had to pay an extra 12% on top of the quoted price. What could we do? It was too much hassle to go through the whole process after spending hours upon hours trying to sort this out in the first place.
It didn't stop there. We then found out that our excess on the policy, were we to make a claim, is £500 nearly double what we normally have. This was defiantly not the amount we put into the computer system. And guess what? Yes there is an extra charge if we want to reduce it to the amount we wanted in the first place. So in truth if we had been quoted the true price of the policy at the beginning it would have cost an extra 25% making it the fifth most expensive.
Would we have bought it if we knew the true cost? No of course we wouldn't have.
This happens time and again in the U.K. I don't know if this is common practise in other countries around the world, and no doubt my readers will be able to tell me, but I think it may not be the case. One thing that impressed me about the American retailer Apple when I went into their store in Norwich was their honesty. Before I bought their product they checked the Internet to find out if another retailer was selling it any cheaper, and then reduced the price accordingly.
When I visited New York I was surprised that the sales tax on products is added at the till so you know exactly how much the cost of that product is made up of tax. In the U.K the governments equivalent is called Value Added Tax (V.A.T for short) and is hidden within the general price so most people take it for granted. Because of this rouge successive British governments of all political wings have been able to increase this so called "temporary" tax over the last forty years from 8% to 20%.
Although how making a product more expensive can add any extra value is beyond me?
Be it the Power companies, certain airlines or food producers the list goes on and on. I don't think it would happen in Germany as they have very strict laws that govern what companies can get away with and which protects the buying public. In Italy the mafia would just kidnap the head of company, chop off a couple of fingers, and demand millions in payments if they got ripped off.
And to be truthful the dear wife and I were so pissed off yesterday morning about the situation it caused an argument between us even though it wasn't my fault. But what could I expect from a bank that had to be saved by, and thus is owned by the British government? Or should I say is owned by us the tax payer.
Either way it seems we got screwed twice.