Episode 7 Rip Off Britain


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Episode 7

Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville travel the country tackling sharp practices affecting consumers and investigating rip-offs and concerns both big and small.


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We asked you to tell us who has left you feeling ripped awe.

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think this is very wrong for what they have done. The bank charges

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upon charges, upon charges. Legally it was right. Morally that is where

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the question of cut out comeles. And you contacted us in your

:01:30.:01:34.

thousand, but post, e-mail, even stopping us in the streets. The

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message could not be clearer. are trying to fob you off. I am not

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happy. There is the small print with the clause that you didn't

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reel rice. We are being ripped off big time. Whether it's a deliberate

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rip off; a mistake or a catch, we will find out why you are out-of-

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pocket and what you can do about it. Keep asking the questions. Go to

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the top if you have to. We do get results. Your stories, your money.

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This is Rip Off Britain. Welcome to Rip Off Britain. The series that

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takes on the companies giving you good reason to gripe and feel

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frustrated. Now, if you think you are getting a raw deal, we are all

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here to get to the bottom of what is going on. That is right. We are

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ininvestigating something that affects millions and leavessome of

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you feeling short changed and exploited. Why has the cost of car

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insurance gone through the roof? Why indeed. Anybody who drives a

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car is already feeling the squeeze with high fuel prices, but the

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coast of insurance is hitting you hard. Recent figures from the A

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show our car insurance has gone up by an average of 30% this year.

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That is a shocking amount. We are going to find out why. Also coming

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up. The residents getting parking fines for driving into their own

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homes.. My car is clocked by their camera, and because I don't buy a

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ticket for the car park because I am coming into my house, that sends

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a message to their computer, they send me a fine which goes up to

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�100. When woeped our pop up shop we built our very own gripe box,

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and you made use of it by airing your frustrations. It had gone up

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to just over 1,000. I had to pay �2,000 to insure it what a rip off.

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You might expect the price of car insurance to vary bait depending on

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where you live but some you have have discovered by living in

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certain post codes you can end up virtually uninsurable. That is what

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happened to the driver we are about to meet. He lives in Bradford where

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the car insurance has risen more sharply than anywhere else. So much

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so some districts have been blacklisted. You will get a quote

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that is impossibly high or they won't give you one at all. Even if

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you are one of the best drivers in town. Driving has been a big part

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of Richard Summerscale's life and that doesn't just apply to steering

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a trolley round his local cash and carry. The sandwich shop owner

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admits he's couldn't be without his car. It is his lifeline, for runger

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rands and stocking up on supplies for his business. I would be lost.

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There is no way I could do deliveries, pick up the required

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bits we need, you know the shopping, cash and carry, and generally

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getting about town. He has years of experience behind the wheel. In

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fact he would have a good claim to be among Britain's safest drivers.

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I was in West Yorkshire Police for 15 years. Part of the time I spent

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in the road traffic department. I went on advance driving course,

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accident investigation which mean I can see things before normal drives.

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It is no surprise he believes he's is low risk when getting insured.

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He had been with esure for fiv years and was happy with them until

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last year, when despite no new claims or conviction, the former

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traffic cop's policy was set to go up from �156, to �885. The first

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reply is because that is what the computer said. I wasn't happy soy

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pushed it further. They said they were getting a lot of claims in

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Bradford, I said not from me! Richard took his business elsewhere.

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The best he could get was a �317 policy with another company. And

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when 12 months on that looked like it was going to creep up too, he

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decided to see what his previous insurer esure could quote this time.

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As soon as I spoke to the person, gave me detail, went through the

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quote and they say sorry, we are unable to quote in your postcode

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area. Despite the fact that esure insured him in the past, they were

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now refusing to. Richard was furious. At being classed as a

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driver who was uninsurable. I was ensensed. I had paid my premium on

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time all the previous year, they were happy to ache my money.

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Suddenly it becomes not as economical. Plenty of other local

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drives experienced the same thing. So many after being inundated with

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complaints from stit wents Bradford east MP David Ward conducted a

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city-wide survey. He found over the last three years the 511 people who

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took part saw their premiums rise by 63%. What people are saying is

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why it is that I have lived in this area for year, I haven't changed,

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in fact I may have improved as a driver, and had yet another year of

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no claims, no accidents at all, and still my insurance premiums are

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going up. It isn't fair. Esure told us that Richard's original premium

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of �146 was down to an error by one of their staff who applied a

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discount that he wasn't entitled to Richard should have been pay morgue

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than double that but their explanation for the huge increase

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to �885 and their refusal to insure him again is one that you will hear

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from most insurance companies. They say a surge in personal injury

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claims and pay outs have pushed up premiums for everyone, leading to

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companies like esure temporarily suspending offering new policys in

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the worst affectedary tkwhra, is why Richard was left uninsurable.

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Because although this is a national problem in Bradford whiplash claims

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are six times the national average fpblt there has been a large

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increase in the number of personal injury claim but the amount per

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claim is going up. So we need to identify certainly how can we

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reduce the cost of claims, of making claims, but also look at the

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number of claims that are taking place, particularly those that are

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deemed to be fraudulent claim, the increase in the whiplash kaim cases

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that are coming forward, is reaching an unsustainable level.

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Across the country the number of personal injury claims has rocketed.

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Number of accidents is down. Many say that is because the so-called

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compensation culture is encouraging people to make claims whether they

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have been seriously injured or not. The whole industry has sprung up to

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encourage that. Claims management companies and some insurers can

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earn huge referral fees by selling on the details of people involved

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in accident, to Ieuan Wyn Jones no fee lawyers who can typically made

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�1350 for themselves on a whiplash settlement. The Government has

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announced it intends to ban referral fees and to reform the no

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win no fee system. But, I have to say that is little consolation for

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drivers facing soaring premise yourpls like Richard refused all

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together. If they are having claims that cost too much they are the

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problem, not the innocent careful drivers that can't get insurance or

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ridiculous premiums. The Government has said it plans to ban referral

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fees in personal injury claims. As we have heard, they are reckoned to

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be one of the key factors in the soaring costs. It is hoped this

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will happen some time in 2012. So let us fee the savings the industry

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is expected to make as a result really do make a difference to our

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premiums. And we were talking more about car insurance later on, but

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next, parking fines. I know that one of your biggest bugbear, I can

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see you going argh! Especially when the charge doesn't seem fair. Here

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is a classic example of that. People who didn't park anywhere

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they shouldn't but still got tickets totalling thousands of

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pounds, and indeed are being chased by debt collector, when all they

:10:20.:10:30.
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have done is drive legitimately to their own homes. Hannah has a funny

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feel sheing is being watched. Every day, she has a sensation that

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someone, somewhere knows exactly what she is doing. They watch me

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coming in, they watch me when I leave, 24-hours a day. Musician

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Hannah lives in a flat above a shop on the high street in Chorlton in

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Manchester. Her only access to her property is through the back.

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moved in here two years ago and they were already outside. I have

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to go past them every time I leave the flat. It is frustrating.

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what is it she is so angry about? These. ANPR cameras are automatic

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number plate recognition cameras, which are positioned right outside

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her house. The service the car park and are operated by Excel Parking,

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which is a private parking company. Only they don't just photograph the

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cars in the car park. When I drive in through the road to the cash

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park my car is clocked by their camera because I don't buy a ticket

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because I am coming in, that sends a message, they send me a fine

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which goes up to �100. The problem is that the cameras cannot

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differentiate between the cars coming into park, and those who are

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just driving through. As a result, Hannah says she and her flat mate

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and all the visitors have between them managed to wrack up more than

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50 tickets which comes to more than �5,000 in fines. Hannah hasn't paid

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as she doesn't think she should have to. As far as she is concerned

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there is no other way for her to get on to her driveway. The letters

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are aggressive. I reply pilotly, then I ignore any future

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correspondence they send me. It is different if you live here. You

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feel responsible for friend, family, who visit, who get tickets, you

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feel you have to warn them in advance, if you get a ticket in the

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next few weeks don't pay it. That sets them on the path of months of

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faff with Excel. Her friend and fellow musician Aine has had two

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tickets. The company waived the first fine she disputed but they

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have not been so accommodating with the second one. I sent the same I

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mail and they refused to waive that one. On my second e-mail I provied

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them with a photograph of my carton driveway. This is nine months ago,

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the car is registered to my dad and he is being chased by debt

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collectors for the fine which is �100 he gets phone calls from them

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every day. Hannah contacted Excel with her registration number and

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for six months the letters and charges stopped. When she got a new

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car they started piling up again. Within the first two months of

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having the new car we had about five or six tickets. It got

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ridiculous. We decided the try and take a different tack and see what

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rights we had for living here. So we contacted local councillors to

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see if they could put a stop to it P Councillor Victor Chamberlain has

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agreed to him. He says because motorist worst age to use as a cut

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through for 40 years they should be able to do so again. What I am

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doing is working with residents and the MP to get the Manchester City

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Council to recognise the established right of way, and we

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are hoping this will mean that residents won't be impacted in the

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future because they won't, they have the right to access their

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driveway. Without being charged. But Excel Parking are taking a hard

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line on this. They dispute Hannah's version of event, particularly in

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regard to the number of tickets they have issued and point out they

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have cancelled many of the charge notices on appeal. But in any case,

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they stress they are the rightful occupier and that there is no right

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of way across the car park to any premises. With signs making it

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clear that it is private property. They say they have been totally

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reasonable with the resident, allowing them to register their

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vehicles so they can be exempt and investing in additional technology

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so they can filter the vehicles out. But they also say it is impossible

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for them to identify vehicles which are not registered at these address,

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or indeed keep up with changing tenants if they are not informed.

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They refute any suggestion that their letters are aggressive and

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stress they comply with all the requirements of the British Parking

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:15:30.:15:35.

Hannon does not agree. I would love it to end. I understand it is a

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tricky situation but I would love it to be dealt with more competent

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lay and by different individuals who could help you out.

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competently. If, like them, you think you are being unfairly

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charged or penalised or if you are being pursued for a payment that

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you think is unjustified, then Michelle from Consumer Direct is

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here with some great tips on what to do. If you need to make a

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complaint about a company, there are a few things that you should do.

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If you are unsure of your legal rights, then take some advice

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before you speak to the company. It is important that you gather

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evidence if you complain, so keep a record of any telephone calls that

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you make and copies of any letters, and if the problem is about work

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you have had done, perhaps take photographs. You should speak to

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the company in question telling them what the problem is, remaining

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polite but firm at all times. Tell them what you want them to do and

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by when. Often speaking to them face to face will help you to

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resolve the matter without any further redress. If speaking to the

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company does not work, put your complaint in writing, tell them

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what you want to do, what is wrong, and by when you want the problems

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resolved. Keep a copy of your letter and get some proof of

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postage if possible. If you are still unable to get the matter

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resolved, then you may need to consider taking more formal action.

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If the company is a member of an approved traders scheme or a trade

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association, they may be able to offer you mediation or arbitration,

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or you may be able to consider an ombudsman scheme or an alternative.

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If you paid using credit or by credit card, and the goods or

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services cost more than �100, your finance company may be jointly

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liable and may be able to offer you further assistance. If your problem

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remains unresolved, then take advice from Consumer Direct or your

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local Citizens Advice Bureau. Earlier we heard how the cost of

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car insurance has soared over the last 12 months and it is new

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drivers who have been hit particularly hard. Their policies

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have gone up by way more than the average and it is reckoned that

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someone who has just got their licence will typically pay almost

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double the amount they would have done last year. The industry puts

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that down to a number of factors, including uninsured drivers and

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those false claims the government hopes to crack down on. But

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whatever their justification, the money most companies ask young

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drivers to pay has left a whole generation feeling like they are

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being priced off the road. Passing his driving test was a milestone

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for Peter and his mother, Julie. As a young man of 17, it meant he was

:18:11.:18:15.

on the road to independence. When I passed my test I was over the moon.

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I could not believe it, really. I thought it was great that I could

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finally go out and drive whenever I wanted to go. When Peter passed his

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test I was overjoyed. I was thrilled to bits. I immediately

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texted all my friends. I could not wait to get home and give him a big

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kiss and congratulate him. It was fantastic. But their initial

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excitement faded as soon as they started looking into the cost of

:18:40.:18:44.

insurance. Some of them were �17,000, which at that point, you

:18:44.:18:47.

just think, my God, what is going on? So, with quotes as high as

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�17,000, Julie started to look at other options. She got a quote from

:18:54.:18:57.

her insurance company to see how much it would cost to simply add

:18:57.:19:03.

Peter to her own policy. But that was not cheap either. I was insured

:19:04.:19:13.

at a good price of 500-odd pounds. I rang up asking if I could put my

:19:13.:19:16.

son on as another named driver and the quote was �3,895. That would be

:19:16.:19:19.

a whopping increase of �3,375, an amount that would put a massive

:19:19.:19:28.

strain on their finances. It is not actually much less than my mortgage.

:19:28.:19:32.

It would stand at about 350 a month, and on top of your finances, what

:19:32.:19:34.

you have already got, outgoing, month after month, that is

:19:34.:19:42.

astronomical. So Julie has not gone ahead with that. Peter may have

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passed his test but he is still not on the road. Well, not without a

:19:46.:19:51.

lift from Mum, anyway. My mates can drive and I cannot at the moment.

:19:51.:19:57.

You want to go and drive, but you cannot. You can go out with your

:19:57.:20:01.

mates, but it is not the same thing. You can be sat in the passenger

:20:01.:20:05.

seat, but you just want to get your hands on the steering wheel and

:20:05.:20:08.

drive yourself. Of course, Peter is just one of countless young drivers

:20:08.:20:12.

facing exactly the same problem. You pay so much money for the

:20:12.:20:15.

lessons and then they just cannot drive, can they? And that is all

:20:15.:20:25.
:20:25.:20:27.

they want to do, isn't it, just drive? Just down the road, Peter's

:20:27.:20:30.

friend Rhys and his mother Joanne also struggled to find a quote they

:20:30.:20:33.

could afford. When I started looking at quotes, I was really

:20:33.:20:36.

shocked at the prices. The dearest one was �20,000, and I think the

:20:36.:20:45.

cheapest one was �2,000 plus. Luckily for them, Rhys's father is

:20:45.:20:49.

in the motor trade and he got a more reasonable quote through his

:20:49.:20:52.

trader policy. I think that worked out at �860, which is still an

:20:52.:20:57.

awful lot of money. The car is not really worth that. Another friend,

:20:57.:21:02.

Chase, also feels priced out of the insurance market. How are you doing,

:21:02.:21:07.

Chase, what are you going to do with your insurance? I am just

:21:07.:21:11.

going to have to go on my mum's insurance to make it cheaper. On my

:21:11.:21:14.

own, it is stupid money, about ten grand for myself. Quotes like these

:21:14.:21:23.

are typical for teenage drivers. Insurance companies say it is

:21:23.:21:25.

because statistics show that young drivers have more accidents. Simon

:21:25.:21:29.

Douglas from the AA explains. they do have an accident, they do

:21:29.:21:33.

tend to be more serious, and the average claim cost for a young

:21:33.:21:36.

driver is something like �5,000 or more, whereas for an older driver

:21:36.:21:41.

it is probably under �2,000. There is one option which could drive the

:21:41.:21:48.

boys' premiums down. One thing you might want to consider is these new

:21:48.:21:51.

insurance products, pay how you drive, where they fit the device in

:21:51.:21:55.

the car that measures how you drive as an individual and they give you

:21:55.:21:58.

a premium based on your own driving behaviour. Not the average for your

:21:58.:22:01.

whole peer group. For some people, if you're willing to be measured in

:22:01.:22:04.

this way, it can bring the cost of insurance down significantly.

:22:04.:22:07.

the meantime, the situation leaves their parents wondering if there

:22:07.:22:14.

was any point getting them lessons at this age. I just do not know

:22:14.:22:20.

where we're going to go. I am gutted for him, just gutted. They

:22:20.:22:24.

might as well just wait and let them get a job when they are 24, 25,

:22:24.:22:29.

it might be slightly cheaper. Well, the one good thing to come

:22:29.:22:32.

out of car insurance being so pricey is it has prompted a lot of

:22:32.:22:36.

scrutiny about people in a position to do something about it. The

:22:36.:22:39.

Office Of Fair Trading is currently investigating the issue and plans

:22:39.:22:49.
:22:49.:22:50.

to publish its findings later this month. If it decides the industry

:22:50.:22:52.

is acting in an uncompetitive manner or treating customers

:22:52.:22:56.

unfairly, it may take further action.

:22:56.:23:00.

At a time when money is tighter than ever, you need to know that

:23:00.:23:03.

your cash is working hard for you, avoiding rip-offs and sharp

:23:03.:23:08.

practice along the way. So we have put together a booklet of tips and

:23:08.:23:12.

advice to help safeguard your money. You can find a link to the free

:23:12.:23:19.

guide on our website... To receive a copy in the post, send an A5

:23:19.:23:22.

self-addressed envelope to the address we will be giving at the

:23:22.:23:28.

end of the programme. Still to come on Rip Off Britain, we ask you to

:23:28.:23:31.

tell us what has left you feeling ripped off and we have been

:23:31.:23:36.

inundated with your stories. And this year we were able to solve

:23:36.:23:42.

some of your problems in person at the Rip Off Britain pop up shop.

:23:42.:23:45.

You will find you can probably save hundreds of pounds each year on

:23:45.:23:52.

your car and home insurance. Plus, we will have more examples of

:23:52.:23:56.

spiralling insurance costs. Should you have to pay higher premiums if

:23:56.:24:00.

you have not got a job? One of the reasons that they gave was that

:24:00.:24:03.

unemployed people have more time on their hands and they travel more to

:24:03.:24:13.
:24:13.:24:16.

Next, how a series of unfortunate mistakes can spiral out of control,

:24:16.:24:19.

leaving one Rip Off Britain viewer paying more than she bargained for

:24:19.:24:24.

when she moved 2.5 miles down the road. In January this year, Jean

:24:24.:24:27.

and Bob Wharmby swapped life in a rural village just outside

:24:27.:24:30.

Lichfield in Staffordshire for a modern home in a new housing estate

:24:30.:24:35.

closer to town. They were looking forward to their retirement after

:24:35.:24:41.

spending their working lives running a hotel. We decided to move

:24:41.:24:44.

here because I knew the area, a lovely area, and convenient to the

:24:44.:24:52.

city centre. After the move, Jean told her car insurance company Saga

:24:52.:24:57.

about her change of address. But she was astonished to discover that

:24:57.:25:00.

the move just 2.5 miles down the road was to have an unwelcome

:25:00.:25:06.

impact on her premiums. She said, that is going to cost you a lot of

:25:06.:25:14.

money. I said, why? She said, well, it is the area you are in. We go on

:25:14.:25:18.

postcodes. So I said, how much is it going to cost me? Until August.

:25:18.:25:26.

This is from January to August. She said, �159. I was astounded. I said,

:25:26.:25:29.

I cannot understand why you say that because of the area and the

:25:29.:25:36.

postcode. Apart from the address, there was no change to the policy,

:25:36.:25:43.

no claims, and a clean licence. As she had already paid more than �300

:25:43.:25:46.

for a full year's cover back in August 2010, Jean could not

:25:46.:25:49.

understand why moving up the road should mean she should have to pay

:25:49.:25:57.

�159 extra. But she had no choice. She said, well, if you do not pay

:25:57.:26:07.
:26:07.:26:09.

the extra, you car insurance will be cancelled. -- your car insurance.

:26:09.:26:14.

I said, but I have paid for a year, and she said, if you do not pay the

:26:14.:26:17.

extra for where you are now, it will be cancelled. I was in shock,

:26:17.:26:20.

really. Jean's husband, Bob, uses a different insurer for his car and

:26:20.:26:26.

when he told them he had moved, there was no change to his premium.

:26:26.:26:29.

Obviously because we were moving to a new house I telephoned my brokers.

:26:29.:26:32.

Back came the reply that the insurance would be exactly the same,

:26:32.:26:40.

no increase at all. I was absolutely amazed when Jean told me

:26:40.:26:47.

that hers had gone up by 150 odd quid. I did feel that Jean was

:26:47.:26:57.
:26:57.:26:57.

being taken for a proverbial ride It turns out that at the heart of

:26:57.:27:01.

all this is a series of simple mistakes, but it took ten months

:27:01.:27:05.

and this programme getting involved before the mystery was solved. Saga

:27:05.:27:08.

tell us that when Jean rang them with her new postcode, the agent

:27:08.:27:11.

she spoke to unfortunately misheard it, and Jean did not pick up on

:27:11.:27:18.

that when it was read back. As far as Saga is concerned, that is her

:27:18.:27:28.
:27:28.:27:47.

But does Jean deserve all the blame? She did later ring Saga

:27:47.:27:50.

about her postcode again and the correct details did not make it

:27:50.:27:56.

onto the company's systems that time either. Saga put that down to

:27:56.:27:59.

an innocent error on their part. In fact, the situation was only

:27:59.:28:08.

resolved when we got in touch with the company. Since then, Saga has

:28:08.:28:11.

apologised to Jean, refunded the additional premiums, and given her

:28:11.:28:17.

a further �100 compensation. So, is there anything you can do to try

:28:17.:28:23.

and keep a lid on escalating car insurance premiums? Chas Hallett

:28:23.:28:28.

from "What Car?" magazine has some advice. Of course, there are huge

:28:28.:28:31.

number of factors insurance companies use when they are

:28:31.:28:34.

calculating insurance. One of the ways you can save lots of money is

:28:34.:28:36.

shop around. Do not just automatically renew your insurance.

:28:36.:28:39.

Get on the internet, get on the phone, because you can save

:28:39.:28:43.

hundreds of pounds by swapping insurers. Make sure your car is

:28:43.:28:47.

valued correctly. Lots of insurance companies use bandings, so you

:28:47.:28:50.

could say your car is worth 9,995, rather than �10,000, and that could

:28:50.:28:57.

have a big difference on your insurance premium. You could also

:28:57.:29:00.

make sure your car has all the right security systems on it. They

:29:00.:29:03.

may be expensive, but things like alarm systems and electronic

:29:03.:29:07.

trackers can reduce your insurance premium. Make sure you give the

:29:07.:29:10.

insurance company your correct employment details because your job

:29:10.:29:14.

and what you do for a living can have a big bearing on the cost of

:29:14.:29:23.

insurance. Also, consider where your car is kept overnight. If you

:29:23.:29:26.

have a garage or even a driveway, it can reduce your insurance

:29:26.:29:33.

premium considerably. The other thing you could do is do not

:29:33.:29:43.
:29:43.:30:01.

overestimate the mileage you do for the year. The minimum number of

:30:01.:30:04.

miles possible is the best for lower insurance premiums. We're

:30:04.:30:07.

here in Manchester where Rip Off Britain have opened their very

:30:07.:30:10.

first pop up shop. It has been a weekend of consumer advice from our

:30:10.:30:13.

team of experts and BBC Learning have been helping people of all

:30:13.:30:16.

ages improve their maths skills. But one area of our shop which has

:30:16.:30:20.

been particularly busy is the video booth that we set up for people to

:30:20.:30:23.

record their gripes and to get everything off their chests. The

:30:23.:30:26.

biggest cause of complaint we have heard in the gripe box by far is

:30:26.:30:29.

car insurance. My son is 18 and currently taking lessons. To insure

:30:29.:30:33.

him on a 1.1 Vauxhall Corsa is going to cost in excess of �5,000.

:30:33.:30:37.

They have put it up from 370 to 490. My eldest son, who has been having

:30:37.:30:40.

driving lessons, and we wanted to insure him on our car so we could

:30:40.:30:43.

take him out for additional driving experience, and we have been quoted

:30:43.:30:47.

�4,000. It had gone up from �750 to just over 1,000. I had to pay

:30:47.:30:50.

�2,000 just to insure it. What a rip-off. That is a lot of car

:30:50.:30:55.

insurance gripes. A real bugbear of yours when it comes to all sorts of

:30:55.:31:05.
:31:05.:31:05.

insurance is automatic renewal. Les popped in after he realised that

:31:05.:31:08.

the automatic renewal quote from his insurer was �150 more expensive

:31:08.:31:11.

than the same insurance for new customers. I thought, I will just

:31:11.:31:14.

check and see if the prices are still reasonable, and when I

:31:14.:31:17.

checked on the website, there was a massive difference in the price

:31:17.:31:21.

that I was being quoted. So I rang the company to ask them why, why

:31:21.:31:24.

was there a difference in the cover, was it something that I missed, and

:31:24.:31:34.
:31:34.:31:37.

there was nothing. The cover was They draw you in with that

:31:37.:31:41.

attractive premium. Then they start trying to rash et it up in the

:31:41.:31:46.

later years. You go on line and shop round, not with your existing

:31:46.:31:52.

insurer, go on a comparison site and see what you could get. You

:31:52.:31:55.

will find you can save hundreds each year on your car and home

:31:55.:32:00.

insurance. All you have to do is pick up the phone and say I've had

:32:00.:32:07.

a look round and realise I could get the same policy �100 cheaper.

:32:07.:32:12.

They are often change it because they don't want to lose you. You

:32:12.:32:17.

have to be prepared to shop round. There is no reward for loyalty.

:32:17.:32:21.

Stay alert. Thank you for coming in I will use the advice I have been

:32:21.:32:26.

given. For both the home insurance and for the car insurance, and for

:32:26.:32:30.

Holiday Inn insurance as well. team of experts have been able to

:32:30.:32:34.

help a lot of people here today. I hope that you at home have also

:32:34.:32:43.

been able to pick up useful tips. Now back to car insurance. And we

:32:43.:32:49.

have already heard how the cost of your premiums can be a bit of a

:32:49.:32:52.

postcode lottery. There can be plenty of other factors that mean

:32:52.:32:56.

you could pay a lot more, and they might have nothing at all to do

:32:56.:33:03.

with how good a driver you are or whether you have had an accident.

:33:03.:33:10.

It could come down to the whether you have a job. Aside from a home,

:33:11.:33:15.

a car is one of the biggest investments most of us will ever

:33:15.:33:21.

make. So it is important to look after it. Living in the heart of

:33:21.:33:27.

the Peak District, having a car is vital for Martin, and now more than

:33:27.:33:31.

ever, 12 months ago he lost his job and he has been busy looking for

:33:31.:33:34.

another one ever since. The car is very important. I need it to pick

:33:34.:33:39.

my daughter up. She lives eight miles away. I need it to go to the

:33:39.:33:45.

Jobcentre, 13 miles away. The nearest town is eight miles away.

:33:45.:33:51.

It is quite rural round here, no big shops. In June, when Martin

:33:51.:33:57.

needed to renew his car insurance, he called Endsleigh to take them up

:33:57.:34:02.

on the renewal quote they had sent. He was asked a few questions

:34:02.:34:08.

including his current employment status. And then came the bombshell.

:34:08.:34:15.

They said I was unemmind they would have to recalculate the premium.

:34:15.:34:19.

They went away for a minute and it came back over �200 more than it

:34:19.:34:25.

would have been if I had been employed, so I was completely, I

:34:25.:34:30.

was astounded by it. I asked why, and they said, it was something to

:34:30.:34:37.

do with their underwriters, that was it. The actual quote for

:34:37.:34:45.

Martin's 1.3 litre car had gone up from just over � 350 to �565. That

:34:45.:34:52.

is a 62% increase. The former IT manager says it can't be down to

:34:52.:34:58.

his performance behind the wheel. Well, I've got over nine years no

:34:58.:35:02.

claims, I've not had an accident in over ten year, I don't drive like

:35:02.:35:07.

an it yacht. I'm mot a boy racer. I don't have a boy racer's car. It

:35:07.:35:11.

was the fact I was unemployed. Martin decided to try elsewhere but

:35:11.:35:14.

was shocked to find that he got the same response from other companies

:35:14.:35:22.

when he tried to get quotes. found a lot of companies won't

:35:22.:35:27.

insure unemployed drivers. I rang them up, asked them why, they said

:35:27.:35:32.

it was they don't insure unemployed people. One was a famous

:35:33.:35:37.

supermarket chain. They won't insure you. It made me mad because

:35:38.:35:43.

I buy my shopping there why can't I buy insurance there? Very

:35:43.:35:47.

frustrated he decided to sigh how Endsleigh's instant online quote

:35:47.:35:51.

compared with what he had been offered over the phone. He tried

:35:51.:35:57.

employing as an unemployed driver and was quoted a hefty �945 for the

:35:57.:36:02.

year. That is �400 higher than his renewal quote. What would they have

:36:02.:36:06.

charged if he had been working? Let's see, as Martin keys in his

:36:06.:36:16.
:36:16.:36:17.

previous employment details. quote is �380 which is ridiculous.

:36:17.:36:23.

It is �600 less if I am employed than if I was unemployed. I am

:36:23.:36:28.

astounded. It makes me feel a victim, or discriminated against

:36:28.:36:32.

that I am unemployed. Martin couldn't understand why not having

:36:32.:36:37.

a job made such a difference to his insurance. But searching on line

:36:37.:36:41.

for arpbgs he found various possible explanations from other

:36:41.:36:46.

drivers who had been in a similar situation. One of the reasons they

:36:46.:36:49.

gave was that unemployed people have more time on their hands and

:36:49.:36:53.

they travel more to interview, and another reason was because if you

:36:53.:36:57.

are unemployed you are more likely to make a false claim to get more

:36:57.:37:04.

money. It makes you feel like you're a criminal. Why would they

:37:04.:37:10.

think you might make money out of a claim? I don't like my car gets

:37:10.:37:18.

scratched. Insurance insiders say many factors are taken into

:37:18.:37:22.

consideration. The new tyre, brake, perhaps theirs cred it rates isn't

:37:22.:37:26.

as good. Cred it rating, the better it is the better the deal you get

:37:26.:37:30.

from your bank. So they are rating factors that are considered by the

:37:30.:37:36.

insurance company. We asked Endsleigh why Martin's job status

:37:36.:37:41.

should affect premiums. And they said that though they work with a

:37:41.:37:47.

range of insurers, they just the intermediary and don't set the

:37:47.:37:51.

rates. While they take equality very seriously, they say certain

:37:51.:37:56.

group, such as the unemployed, offer an increased risk,

:37:56.:38:01.

statistically, and this can be reflected by some insurers and

:38:01.:38:05.

higher rates. They said they are happy to speak to Martin to find

:38:05.:38:08.

way forward. But they are too late. The only way he could find an

:38:08.:38:14.

affordable premium and keep his car on the road was to agree to a �400

:38:14.:38:21.

excess, with a different insurer. So for Martin, it has been a double

:38:21.:38:25.

blow for his pocket. Not just losing his job and his income, but

:38:26.:38:30.

in his eyes, being penalised by his insurance company for doing so. As

:38:30.:38:34.

far as he is concerned his circumstances may have changed, but

:38:34.:38:44.

his driving skills have not. If like many of our viewers you that

:38:44.:38:48.

had to insure your car or get inu insurance for a younger member of

:38:48.:38:52.

the family the premiums have probably made your eyes water. An

:38:52.:38:58.

increase of 40% is commonplace and for young drivers they are being

:38:58.:39:03.

quoted in the thousands. What is going on? I have come to the

:39:03.:39:06.

Association of British Insurers hopefully to get some answers. I am

:39:07.:39:11.

joined by Nick Starling the director of general insurance here

:39:11.:39:14.

at the Association of British Insurers. Nick, car insurance gone

:39:14.:39:20.

up by on average round 40%, what is going on? Car insurance has indeed

:39:20.:39:26.

increased by a great deal in recent year, and that is three factor, the

:39:26.:39:30.

increased instance of bodily injury claims people are making, it has

:39:30.:39:38.

increased fraud and the problem of uninsured driving. Young people are

:39:38.:39:42.

getting extortionate Premiers quoted, �12,000 in one case, why

:39:42.:39:47.

are they so high? Unfortunately, a lot of young people in this country

:39:47.:39:51.

are poor drivers, they are poorly train and the testing system is

:39:51.:39:54.

failing them. Sadly, if you are a young male driver in particular,

:39:54.:40:00.

you are ten times more likely than I am or you are to be killed or

:40:00.:40:05.

seriously injured in an accident. At least one MP has called Britain

:40:05.:40:09.

the whiplash capital of Europe. If you are aware that people are

:40:09.:40:13.

claiming in some cases unjustifiably, why can your

:40:13.:40:16.

association not actually clampdown on those insurance companies that

:40:16.:40:20.

are making those claims possible? We can't ourselves clampdown on

:40:20.:40:23.

what is happening with these claims. We have this compensation culture

:40:23.:40:28.

which is leading people to think if they have had a minor accident they

:40:28.:40:34.

can make a claim. We need to put a stop to it and enable premiums to

:40:34.:40:39.

come down. You will know it is not people saying I think I will make a

:40:39.:40:45.

claim. It is companies persuading them to do it. There is something

:40:45.:40:48.

one has to say. If you have been injured, or made ill and it is not

:40:48.:40:51.

your fault then you need to be helped. The problem is when that

:40:51.:40:55.

has happened to you, you are a valuable property and lots of

:40:55.:40:59.

people want to get to you to sell you a replacement vehicle to, get

:40:59.:41:06.

to you, for an injury claim. We all know what happens and we think that

:41:06.:41:10.

is that merry-go-rounds that needs to be stopped. In a disfunctional

:41:10.:41:15.

system people need to behave in dysfunctional ways. What can't the

:41:15.:41:18.

Association of British Insurers say to members do not get involved in

:41:18.:41:23.

this side of the business? Stop it. We have argued that you have to ban

:41:23.:41:26.

referral fees and the Government agrees with that. They are going to

:41:26.:41:30.

do that. We have mentioned the fact young people are getting huge

:41:30.:41:33.

quotes for their insurance you, have given me a reason why that is.

:41:34.:41:37.

Why can we not start to tackle the problem now, because basically what

:41:37.:41:40.

you are doing is you are not only keeping young people off the road,

:41:40.:41:44.

but you are obviously setting up a situation where many of them will

:41:44.:41:48.

think they should then not bother. We want Government to do something

:41:48.:41:51.

about this, if your programme can help the Government to realise it

:41:51.:41:55.

has to be done, that would be great, because there are fundamental

:41:55.:41:59.

problems we believe round the testing and training of young

:41:59.:42:02.

drivers. We think there should be a structure learning period so you

:42:02.:42:08.

have a log book so it indicates how many lessons you have had, we think

:42:08.:42:17.

there should be restrictions after the test. Thank you. Here at Rip

:42:17.:42:20.

Off Britain we are ready to investigate more of your stories.

:42:20.:42:24.

Confused over bills? Trying to wade through never ended small print

:42:25.:42:30.

that leaves you totally confused? might have been stupid for not

:42:30.:42:34.

reading out our haven't took it in. I could kick myself. Uninsure what

:42:34.:42:38.

to do when you discover you have lost out and that great deal has

:42:38.:42:43.

ended up costing you money. thought this cannot be true. It is

:42:43.:42:47.

totally unsebl -- unacceptable. I was so angry. You might have a

:42:47.:42:50.

cautionary tale of your own and would be happy to share the

:42:50.:42:55.

mistakes you have made with us, so others don't do the same. No-one

:42:55.:42:58.

knows about this so this is very strange to me. I would like to get

:42:58.:43:08.
:43:08.:43:17.

this much clearer. You can write to us. Or send us an e-mail. The rip

:43:17.:43:24.

Angela Rippon, Gloria Hunniford and Julia Somerville investigate why viewers have been left out of pocket. Whether it is rocketing energy prices, unexpected bank charges, or a catch in the small print that has had devastating consequences, they will get answers from the companies responsible. Plus, the team have been on the road, tackling consumer complaints face to face at the Rip Off Britain pop-up shop.