We suffered a burglary and made a claim on our Saga home insurance, but we are unhappy with the valuation of a gold eternity ring with rubies and diamonds, valued at £2,500 by a jeweller in 2008.
We have been paying an additional premium to cover it – this year £47.02 – and the insurance value was £2,807.
Saga uses Legal & General as its underwriters. Signet, its valuer, offered a valuation of £1,715.
Daylight robbery: A reader was left devastated after her insurer offered only a fraction of the value of her stolen jewellery
I am also unhappy at having to receive part of the claim payment for other items as vouchers for H. Samuel and Ernest Jones, as only three of the items stolen are available there.
When I asked if we could have the monetary value of this £2,360 voucher, Saga offered only £1,333.40.
Many items were purchased from local independent jewellers and were of sentimental value and engraved.
These include a watch bought for me by my son when he was dying, a silver wedding present given to me by my wife 25 years ago, plus a string of pearls I bought for her on our 30th anniversary.
T. L., St Ives, Cambs.
Mrs H’s adornments all come from a local independent jeweller. I would not want to be in the same town if she were told to replace them at H. Samuel.
Disputes over jewellery valuations and attempts to force customers to accept vouchers have been common in the three decades I have been writing for Money Mail.
Insurers have arrangements with jewellers which let them source items for much less than we’d pay.
If policyholders demand cash instead of a replacement or vouchers, then the insurer will pay only what it would have paid to its appointed jeweller.
However, this only holds good where like-for-like replacements are available. Heirlooms, custom-made and independently sourced items are different.
The Financial Ombudsman Service has upheld numerous complaints after insurers have tried to fob off policyholders with similar but inferior items.
If the jeweller cannot match what has been lost or stolen then you are entitled to the money needed to replace it.
Saga says: ‘Unfortunately, the claims team determined there was a significant gap between the original independent valuation Mr L was given for a specific item when taking out his policy and the one we calculated during his claim.’
Saga and Legal & General have each paid you an extra £550 to make up the full value of your ring claim. Saga added a £75 goodwill gesture to apologise for customer service issues you faced.
Saga says that where it issued vouchers, ‘these were for items where replacements could be identified, which is in line with the policy’s terms and conditions’.
It accepts that a few items had sentimental value attached to them. ‘While we cannot replace that sentimental value, we hope we have been able to provide a suitable level of replacement or cash pay out,’ it adds.
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some about our investigation into how new rules introduced in the wake of the Grenfell fire are killing the housing market:
We live in a building that’s less than 60ft tall and faced similar issues. A nearby block has cladding problems that could cost up to £20,000 to fix.
The Government doesn’t seem to understand the scale of the crisis.
K. T., Manchester.
We own 25 per cent of a property in a block of flats less than 60ft tall. We tried to sell in February, as we are moving to New Zealand, and were told we needed an EWS1 form.
We don’t know how long it will take to get one. It’s putting our lives on hold.
A. G., London.
I refurbished a penthouse which should be worth up to £400,000, but is now effectively worth £0 due to the cladding.
Our management company’s procrastination may mean we won’t benefit from the remediation fund.
The Government should pick up the tab and seek recompense from developers.
A. L., Manchester.
My block doesn’t yet know the costs involved to meet the new standards. People are trapped in homes they can’t sell. Please keep shining a light on this.
N. M., Manchester.
My parents tried to sell up, but the deal fell through – even though their block contains no cladding, only wooden balconies.
They’ve lost the chance to buy their dream home overseas and have been told it can take up to six years to fix the issue.
A. A., Sydney, Australia.
I am a retired fire safety officer who once dealt with this type of building. Fire experts are no longer closely consulted, hence the poor design of these flats.
P. S., by email.
I’m 77 and had £500 taken from my Nationwide account during lockdown while I was recovering from an operation.
I’ve been in touch with the building society three times. I was told I would get my money back, but since then I’ve only heard excuses.
M. F., London.
It seems your complaint was incorrectly processed as a cash dispenser dispute rather than as fraud.
A Nationwide spokesman tells me: ‘The term ‘ATM dispute’ is typically used when a member says that money wasn’t dispensed when they made a withdrawal.’
When I made contact, the case was passed to the building society’s financial crime team, which refunded you. Nationwide has offered £150 compensation.
Straight to the point
For 13 years I’ve called Santander to renew fixed savings bonds, but this time the bank said it couldn’t help me over the phone.
I don’t want to go into a branch because I have serious medical conditions, and I’m not online.
P. P., Lowestoft, Suffolk.
A Santander spokesman says you were given the wrong information and that someone can help you over the phone. The bank has paid you £50 as an apology.
In early March I switched to my wife’s current account provider, Nationwide, to take advantage of its Recommend A Friend bonus. We were supposed to receive £100 each, but I was told I didn’t qualify.
R. R., Surrey.
Nationwide says you failed to complete the second part of the process within the 90-day timeframe, despite being sent several reminders. You wanted an in-branch appointment to get help, but this was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The building society has now agreed to honour the offer and has paid you both the money.
My partner and I live in Spain and have been trying to transfer money from our Barclays accounts to ones we hold in Spain with little luck.
Barclays keeps telling us to use the mobile app, but it does not work on a Spanish phone.
J. R., by email.
Barclays has now helped you to transfer your funds. It has advised you to use online banking on a computer to make international payments in future.
I ordered a personalised apron from a seller listed on the website Not On The High Street on August 11.
It should have been delivered before September 14 in time for my son’s birthday, but still had not arrived three weeks later.
The seller won’t reply to my messages, and I think they should be removed from the platform.
P. R., by email.
Not On The High Street says it is aware of this case and has apologised for the frustration and disappointment caused.
You have been refunded and the website is in touch with the business in order to find out what went wrong and prevent it from happening again.
I ordered a collector’s magazine from the U.S., costing £250 plus £49.27 postage and packing. It arrived at Hermes’s Bradford depot on March 28.
Delivery was attempted that day to my business address. I tried to organise a different delivery option but emails bounced back and the phone rang out. Hermes attempted another delivery on March 30.
On March 31, I sat outside my business premises for three hours but had no luck. I then found a tracking email which said: ‘Held, unable to deliver.’ My husband drove to the depot and was told that the package would not be returned to the U.S.
Since then I have tried to phone Hermes more than 50 times but the line just rings out.
I have also sent more than 50 emails which bounced back. I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org. uk but there was no response.
D. R., Mirfield, W. Yorks.
You spent quite a lot of time chasing this parcel when we were meant to be locked in our homes. Your emails did not elicit a response for a good reason: you missed out a letter ‘e’ in Hermes.
Hermes, which has done nothing wrong that I can see, has now delivered the item.
A spokesman says: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience but want to remind people to contact the seller with any delivery issues, as they are the Hermes customer and they will contact us. We also urge people to phone the number clearly shown on the website.’
You received a refund for the item via PayPal. I am sure you have now paid for the item again so the seller is not out of pocket.
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