By James Bryce
AN expat has warned drivers to beware of the ‘sharp practices’ used by insurance firms after he was left hundreds of euros out of pocket.
Roger Jennings, 63, from Benajarafe, had 700 euros taken from his account after his bank La Caixa automatically renewed his car insurance and upped the premium by 100 euros without his permission.
Most alarming of all, the tactic is apparently legal, with the onus on the customer to inform the insurance company two months before the end of the policy if they do not wish to renew.
Jennings, who runs a bookshop in Torre del Mar, told the Olive Press: “I am really annoyed about it and want to raise awareness of what can happen so that others don’t have the same problem.”
The father-of-two – whose policy was taken out with his bank – only became aware of the situation when his branch sent him a green card, required for driving his Spanish-registered car abroad.
But despite informing the bank that he had received a cheaper quote elsewhere and would not be renewing his policy, the bank withdrew the money anyway.
The money was eventually repaid after five weeks, minus a four euro charge, with Jennings now seeking compensation for the time the bank had his money.
“It’s only four euros but it’s a point of principle,” said Jennings, who has lived in Spain for over 20 years.
“I’ve filed an official compensation claim and am now waiting for a response, although the Oficina de Consumo told me the insurance company is acting within its rights.
“I was a customer with La Caixa for 22 years but I’ve gone elsewhere now. They blew it because of bad customer service.”
Car registration expert Paul Ripley was also surprised at the action. He said: “I wasn’t aware that insurance firms were allowed to do that.“It seems a bit cheeky if it is legal.”