Who do you trust when insurers work to defraud customers?

Van insurance news roundup: 7 days ending 6 Dec 2013:

So I’m not going to sit here and say that customers never defraud car and van insurance companies, but when insurers try to trick customers? Game over, man.

So yes, I’ll readily admit that it’s not a surprise at all that London police broke up a car insurance fraud ring recently. I didn’t even bat an eye when I found up that cars worth nearly £1 million were confiscated either, as it’s sad but true that the kind of highly organised fraud involving car hire firms and invalid fleet insurance is something that happens quite often. I am a bit surprised that these bastards got caught, but I’m also glad to know that they’re finally off the street inflating insurance costs for everyone.

However, what did grab my attention this week is was a story out of Northern Ireland where it seems that large-scale insurance companies might be trying to get one over on their customers by trying the whole bait and switch when it comes to repairing damaged vehicles. Reports are rolling in that some garage mechanics have been approached clandestinely by major insurers like Axa and asked if they wouldn’t mind replacing a piece of damaged car or van equipment with a cheaper – and lower-quality – replica part without telling the customer.

Now naturally any mechanic that’s worth his salt would tell an insurer asking them this to jog on, and that’s exactly what’s happening, though mechanics are being polite about it. Usually they’ll say ‘oh I’d be happy to, let me just check with the owner first,’ and then the insurer says, ‘oh, never mind then’ and slinks off somewhere, presumably to twirl its long, rakish mustache in the dark.

What’s the big deal about replica parts? Well it’s common knowledge that they’re much cheaper than an replacement part manufactured by the vehicle’s original equipment manufacturer, but it’s also a widely held belief that replica parts are often absolute rubbish. Insurers are simply trying to save money in any way they can – something I can appreciate – but trying to do it without their customers finding out is absolutely infuriating. Well, hopefully dragging these wriggling worms out into the light of day like this will prevent the behaviour from recurring in the future, but I wouldn’t hold my breath – would you?

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