Question of Cash: Left out of pocket after my BMW was stolen


Q. I had my BMW car stolen in September. I bought it in December 2011 for £2,400. Since then, it has been properly serviced and I had a new exhaust and alloy wheels fitted. I have provided the police report to my insurers. They have offered £1,500 minus £245 for the non-standard wheels and applied an excess of £350. So the total payment offered is only £905.

I refused this, but the insurer says if I want more I must provide an example of a similar vehicle, with similar mileage, similar age, similar condition and in the same area. This is practically impossible. My insurance was taken out with the RAC, which has referred me to Cunningham & Lindsey, which has referred me to The Co-operative Insurance. They are running me round in circles. CM, by email.

A. Your policy was brokered by the RAC and underwritten by The Co-operative Insurance. Cunningham & Lindsey are the loss adjusters.

A spokeswoman for The Co-operative Insurance says: "During the course of the investigation of his claim, we became aware that [the reader] had modified his vehicle by adding alloy wheels. Whilst The Co-operative Insurance does not insure modified vehicles, we appreciate that [the reader] was unaware that alloy wheels are considered a modification, and so following a review we agreed to assist with his claim as normal, but to deduct the cost of the alloy wheels - £245 - from the claim settlement, as is standard practice in this type of circumstance.

Before offering a claim settlement, we use a number of independent assessment methods to conduct a review of similar vehicles so we can determine the current market value of a car. After reviewing this, we offered [the reader] £1,500 to settle his claim minus the cost of the alloy wheels and his policy excess, a net total of £905.

As he did not feel this was a satisfactory amount, we carried out another detailed review of the average value of his car and as a result we increased the amount to £1,600 minus his policy excess. We also waived the cost of the alloy wheels as a gesture of goodwill, and paid an additional £100 for personal possessions which were stolen from the car – a net total of £1,350." Although you feel that this still undervalues the car, you have now accepted this offer, which is £445 more than the offer made prior to you contacting us.

Q. I paid £130 to Domestic & General Insurance for warranty cover for my oven. I contacted them on 13 November about a fault. On 19 November, an engineer arrived and promised to return with parts. More than two weeks later he has not returned. When we phoned we were told the parts were now in and the contractor would contact us – he has not done so.

I am very unhappy with this service and I am now considering cancelling the insurance to obtain a service that is more reliable, or alternatively buying a new oven with an extended warranty – which looks like a cheaper option. CK, by email.

A. You were, understandably, very keen to have an oven working for Christmas. Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain the necessary spare parts to repair your existing oven, nor source a new oven that fitted the space in your kitchen in time for Christmas.

A new model will be delivered in mid January, which has been paid for as a goodwill gesture by Domestic & General on a new-for-old basis. A spokesman for the insurer adds: "We have also waived the outstanding premium, which the customer under normal circumstances would be required to pay prior to a replacement order being placed." Domestic & General apologises for the difficulties you encountered in resolving the situation prior to our involvement.

Q. I opened a current account with Alliance & Leicester in December 2008. A&L was subsequently acquired by Santander. I was not using the account regularly and decided to close it early in 2010. I telephoned Santander and was told that I would have to write in to close the account and to notify my change of address as I had moved in April 2009.

During this call I requested that all direct debits were cancelled with immediate effect and I followed this up with a letter as requested. At this point my balance was nil. Earlier this year, I applied for a mortgage and was refused one due to a poor credit rating. Until then my rating had been excellent and I often received unsolicited offers of credit.

After signing up with Experian, I discovered the source of the poor rating was a default account with Santander – the one I had closed in 2010. I lodged a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman and Santander agreed to credit the account with £329 to clear the balance, which had accrued from charges and late payment fees as a result of the account not being closed as instructed. But I was told the default would remain on my credit file.

I have reapplied for a mortgage, having been told that if the account was cleared my application would be reconsidered. But I now find that my credit file is still showing a default. I could take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman again, but it has warned me this process could take months to complete. The vendor of the property I am seeking to buy has told me I have only three weeks. SH, by email.

A. A spokeswoman for Santander says: "No written request was received from [the reader] to close her account. However, we have reviewed the case and agreed to update [the reader's] credit file.

The default notice has now been removed." Credit reference agency Experian confirms that your file has been updated, with Santander removing its default. Despite this, it would be sensible for you to check with the other credit reference agencies – Equifax and CallCredit – that their files have also been updated.

Questions of Cash cannot give individual advice. But if you have a financial dilemma, we'll do our best to help. Please email us at:

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

    Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

    £70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

    Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

    Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

    £13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back