SALLY SORTS IT: Home insurer cut storm payment on tile price

SALLY THE TRI: The house insurer made us wait for the storm payment, then reduced the amount from the price of the tiles

During a major storm on February 18, tiles at the back of the house blew off and landed on our extension, causing further damage and leaving dangerous debris on the roof.

I contacted our insurer Ageas, who finally told me that an expert would come to inspect our house on April 14th. When I said I couldn’t wait that long, it was agreed that I could go ahead and arrange the repairs.

I hired a local builder who had done work for my brother-in-law before. The total cost, including £1,800 for scaffolding, was £4,700.

Hitting the roof: A reader ended up losing £1,756 after her insurance company said the tiles used to repair her house after it was damaged in a storm were too expensive

The Claims Consortium, which was handling the claim for Ageas, said the builder should have sourced the tiles from somewhere cheaper and was only willing to pay £2,944 minus our £100 excess.

If they had been able to proceed earlier, I would have gladly opted for the choice of the manufacturer by the insurer. I think it’s a bad show and I’m now £1,756 out of pocket.

LR, Chittlehampton, North Devon.

Sally Hamilton responds: The weather incident that wreaked havoc on your roof was Storm Eunice.

It was one of three storms (the others being Dudley and Franklin) that swept through the British Isles in February and resulted in around 177,000 insurance claims costing £500million, according to the Association of British Insurers. Insurance companies were certainly under pressure to keep up with the demand for repairs.

But their job is to deal with the unexpected, and while some delays can be tolerated, I agree that asking you to wait almost two months in the middle of winter for the company’s damage assessment was excessive.

Fortunately, the Claims Consortium and Ageas have agreed to you arranging the repairs yourself. You chose a construction company recommended by a relative, which gave you the assurance that the job would be done well.

When completed, you sent an itemized invoice to the claims handlers for a total of £4,700.

Much to your dismay, they sent you a check for just £2,844, saying your tiles were overpriced.

You told me these were the only ones builders could find that matched your existing tiles, even if they weren’t perfect.

Scam watch

Beware of scammers posing as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Motorists are being targeted with texts claiming their road tax payments have not been received – and they could face a £1,000 fine if they fail to update their bank details.

Scammers can then use this information to drain victims’ bank accounts, according to Select Car Leasing.

Drivers should remember that the DVLA will never ask for their personal or bank details via SMS.

But you were just happy to have your roof intact. I don’t know if your builders could have gotten cheaper tiles.

But what I do know is that there is a severe shortage of building materials due to supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine and rising energy and labor costs labor, all of which drive up the prices of many construction and repair projects.

I asked Ageas if they could reconsider their decision. A spokesperson got back to me with the following explanation: “Due to the magnitude of Storm Eunice in February 2022, we had a significant increase in claims, which had a ripple effect on the availability of our suppliers and repair times.

“Unfortunately this delay has affected LR and we apologize for that.” The spokesperson said that as part of validating any claim, the insurer requests a detailed breakdown of repairs, which is then entered into an industry database, to “provide an accurate cost of repairs”. .

He did this with your quote, which resulted in a different sum than the invoice you paid.

However, the spokesperson added: ‘While we still believe the amount charged for the work by her own supplier was excessive, we recognize that it was our delays that caused her to appoint her own repairman.’

In this case, as a gesture of goodwill, we will refund you the difference between our surveyor’s estimate and the amount she paid for the repairs to her roof.

You told me you were delighted with the outcome and pledged to pay the difference of £1,756 between the initial payment and the final payment offered by Ageas to the North Devon Hospice, which you say took care outstanding of your father in his last days.

University won’t refund fees after daughter had to cancel course due to health issues

I borrowed £16,000 from my bank HSBC to pay for my daughter to study for 12 months as a lawyer at BPP University in London.

Unfortunately, due to mental health issues after booking the course, my daughter, who lives with her mother in Bangladesh, was unable to travel to the UK to attend the course. She is still on treatment and cannot study. It is a great regret that she and my dreams were shattered due to her serious mental illness.

My daughter submitted the course withdrawal form, attaching medical evidence and requested reimbursement of fees. But the university refused, citing its terms and conditions which state that the fees are non-refundable. Please can you help us?

NI, London.

Sally Hamilton responds: I was sad for you and your daughter when I read about your situation. You work hard as a cleaner in a major London hospital and send money to your family in Bangladesh while supporting yourself in the capital.

But you were happy to skimp and save, as well as take out a loan to help pay for your daughter’s tuition, because it was an investment in her future and her dream of being a lawyer.

It was bad enough when those dreams tragically fell apart due to his poor health, but knowing that you would be forced to repay the debt, with nothing in return, I was determined to step in and ask BPP to reconsider his position.

It took me a while to find the right person at the private sector university, but my intervention eventually meant that the Dean contacted you directly to find out more.

She called a meeting with management to discuss your daughter’s case.

A few weeks later, BPP offered to reimburse £8,000, or 50% of the costs. His defense was that your daughter started the course and attended online sessions from home.

I felt that this offer was grossly inadequate, especially since you described how your daughter had spent most of those few sessions just sitting in front of her laptop screen in a distressed state and not taking account what was taught. I again asked BPP to reconsider.

Within two days he returned with an offer to repay £12,800, or 80% of the costs.

You were relieved and grateful for this result and thanked me for my involvement, without which you feel you would not have received a penny.

You told me that you had spread the word about the Sally Sorts It column to your colleagues and friends, as well as your relatives in Bangladesh.

I wish you and your daughter all the best for the future.

To the point

I accidentally ordered a ticket for a 6:30am train when I wanted to book the 7:30am service.

Transport for Wales insists I pay a £10 change fee, even though I called their helpline within minutes of realizing my mistake.

TL, Stockport.

Transport for Wales usually charges customers £10 to change tickets in advance. However, as its “Book with Confidence” program (introduced during the pandemic) is still in place, the fee has now been waived.

***

Our energy supplier Eon continues to send us bills of several thousand pounds, the latest being £1,538. How is it possible?

MH, via email.

Since I forwarded your letter to Eon, he has tried to contact you several times. It needs you to provide accurate meter readings before it can fix the problem.

***

I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and had to cancel a holiday to Malta on April 28th.

EasyJet told me that if I completed their critical illness form, I would receive a voucher for flights canceled within seven days.

I followed up, but haven’t heard back, and I’m upset that I have to keep talking about my diagnosis.

LC, West Sussex.

An easyJet spokesperson said the airline is sorry for the delay in processing your request. You have now received the promised voucher.

***

Barclaycard wrote to my husband saying he was entitled to refunds totaling £2994 because the bank had overcharged him.

He suffers from vascular dementia and I have a permanent power of attorney, but he refuses to accept the validity of the documents.

LS, Kent.

The forms you sent had some pages missing, but Barclaycard has now gone to the Public Guardian’s office to check the documents.

You have now been refunded and given an additional £100 as an apology for the delay.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email [email protected] – include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organization giving him permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for the answers given.

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