legal expenses cover

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tali122 | 00:22 Thu 16th Nov 2006 | How it Works
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kwik fit insisted that i had to pay an extra �30 for legal expenses cover for my TPFT car insurance - i did not want it ( i dont care how good it is) and suspect the call handler was simply earning commission -am i right or am i legally obliged to take it?


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(2-part post):

Any company is entitled to restrict the availability of goods or services by saying that something is only available as part of a package. So there would be nothing unlawful about an insurance broker only offering to provide you with TPFT cover on the understanding that you also purchased legal expenses cover. It would be up to you to decide whether you wanted to pay for the package or look elsewhere for the insurance cover.

I have little doubt that staff at Kwik-Fit call centres are under pressure to sell you the legal expenses cover because such policies provide high rates of commission, both for the call-handler and for Kwik-Fit.

It's the same as when you buy a stereo system for, say, �150 and the salesman tries to get you to take out an extended warranty for, say, �40. The salesman probably gets 3% commission on the stereo (= �4.50) but he gets 25% commission on the extended warranty (=�10). It's the 'extras' which bring in the money.

However, even though Kwik-Fit could legally sell insurance on a 'package only' basis, this isn't what their paperwork says they do. I use Kwik-Fit myself and I know that their prices are among the lowest (so I won't simply suggest that you go elsewhere). If you speak to Kwik Fit again, I suggest that you insist on being given the name of the person you're speaking to and that you make a note of the date and time of your call. Then very clearly state that you're only interested in TPFT cover and that you do not wish to pay for any additional cover unless it's compulsory.

Hopefully, you'll be allowed to just purchase TPFT cover. If not, accept the 'compulsory' package and wait until your paperwork arrives. You'll then see that the legal expenses cover is described as 'optional' and that you have 14 days to notify Kwik-Fit of any errors or alterations. At this point, you phone Kwik-Fit and demand that they remove the cover, refund you the money they've taken under false pretences (because you were told that it was compulsory) and pay you some compensation for the inconvenience of having to get it sorted out. With a bit of pressure from you, you should end up with just TPFT cover and at a price rather lower (say by 20 quid or so) than you were first quoted ;-)

You could be right, Chris, as I know you are very knowledgeable. But I suspect that since the insurance industry came under the auspices of the FSA, legal cover has to be an option, not compulsory.

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