TONY HETHERINGTON: the empty promises of the post
TONY HETHERINGTON: La Poste is ashamed of its empty promises on travel insurance reimbursements
Tony Hetherington is the Financial Mail on Sunday investigator, fighting readers’ corners, revealing the truth behind closed doors and winning victories for those left behind. Find out how to contact him below.
Lie: La Poste did not act on what it told us
AR writes: On July 12, you presented a reader who had taken out annual travel insurance with the Post Office.
Based on your article, I requested a pro-rated refund on my own policy.
However, the post responded, contradicting what you wrote.
The Post Office – once a respected presence in every major UK street – now appears to be tottering from one shameful episode to the next. He refused to admit that his own computer system had false deficits, so he accused more than 500 post office workers of fraud. She sued over 40 and wrongly convicted them, despite having known for years that her computer accounts were faulty. And it ended up paying over £ 58million to compensate them.
The Post’s travel insurance scandal is a small potato compared to the plight of the people the Post wrongly sent to jail. But this is another sign of a decaying institution that has gone astray. Since the pandemic struck I have been inundated with hundreds of letters and emails from readers struggling to secure reimbursements from travel agencies and travel insurers whose policies have proven to be worthless. .
Typically, policies did not provide any coverage to anyone who traveled against government advice, so insurers effectively pocketed premiums with little or no risk of having to face claims. This particularly applied to customers who were paying hundreds of dollars for an annual policy that covered them for more than one trip.
So it was a welcome breath of fresh air in July when the Post said it would treat its customers fairly. After weeks of asking them questions, here is – word for word – exactly what the managers told me: “The Post is happy to confirm that we now have a solution for our annual multi-trip customers, for policies written before June 17 2020, where we can offer a pro-rated refund for the unused portion of their policy. ‘
And the post added: “After reviewing and modifying our internal processes, we are delighted to be able to offer it to our existing customers starting next week.”
This is what I reported on July 12th. But the breath of fresh air from the Post office turned out to be stinky. His statement was false. His promises were as useless as his policies.
Customers who requested refunds were told that if their annual policy started before January 1, they wouldn’t get a dime back. They may have paid at the end of December for a 12-month policy that only proved useful until the lockdown in March, but that wasn’t luck.
Post office has asked its customer contact center staff to tell policyholders: “Please note that this advice is provided by our underwriters, not the Mail on Sunday article.”
In a nutshell, give policyholders the impression that it was my report that was wrong, and not the misrepresentation of the Post itself – a lie built on a lie.
You took out your one-year contract in July 2019. It became unnecessary on March 17, when the government banned foreign travel. You’ve been told that the German companies that underwrite the postal policies have decided that you don’t deserve anything in return.
The Post has now weakened slightly and told me that as a gesture of goodwill they are offering you £ 26 out of the £ 178 you paid in bounties, although their arithmetic seems fishy. Maybe he’s still using the computer program that put his own people in jail.
And reluctantly, the Post admitted to having misled me by promising refunds for all. He admitted: “At the time, we didn’t explain to you how the pro-rated refund process works in practice.” He accuses the fact that “the summer period was particularly busy for La Poste”. So busy, apparently, that he could only find time to produce a script telling his staff to blame The Mail on Sunday for their own misrepresentation.
He now says, “It was a mistake. And we are sorry. We haven’t given you all the information we should have had, and we shouldn’t have provided that wording in our script. ‘
Finally, the Post Office told me that it would re-examine the requests for reimbursement on contracts taken out before January 1 “on a case-by-case basis”. Would I trust this? No. Would I take out an annual Swiss Post policy myself? No. Would I recommend this policy to others? No. The post office is a puppet, and the puppeteers are its German underwriters. La Poste is ashamed.
WE’RE WATCHING YOU
Liquidators have been appointed for the collapsed investment firm Privilege Wealth plc.
I cautioned against the Hertfordshire company in 2016, after discovering it had close ties to Southend-on-Sea businessman Brett Jolly, who had previously been behind a £ 1million carbon credit investment scam. Jolly has since been banned from acting as a company director.
Privilege Wealth, as a money lender, took money from investors and lent it to borrowers. The company fell into administration in 2018, but the directors faced claims estimated at £ 45million, making the rescue impossible. Millions of pounds were said to have gone into a payday loan business operated by the Rosebud Sioux tribe in South Dakota, and administrators said it was unlikely that more than 4% of the money could be recovered. Grant Thornton’s liquidators have now been appointed by Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
Although investors have been warned that the outlook for the payment is bleak, one of the main owners of Privilege Wealth, businessman Martin Sampson, may not have suffered too much. He recently took control of Misil Energy Limited, a Hertfordshire-based company which claims it “remains at the forefront of global bulk transport, logistics and shipping” despite being just 14 months old.
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or send an email to [email protected] Due to the high volume of requests, personal responses cannot be given. Please send only copies of the original documents, which we regret that we cannot be returned.