Author Topic: My experience yesterday of disability discrimination by RAC car insurance  (Read 1031 times)

JLR2

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''It's annoying, though, when you feel sure that a particular situation is due to the all-too-prevalent disability discrimination, but can't prove it because there are other explanations.''

On one hand I have my recordings of my calls to the RAC and on the other the reason I contacted the Information Commissioner's Office was to understand the procedure involved in obtaining copies of the RAC's recordings of the calls (and my on-line input as I sought the original insurance quote) I had with them as the RAC do inform callers that they record calls to monitor quality and assist them with training.

It followed my informing 'Maisie' during one of my calls of the fact that I had recorded my calls and had been in touch with the Information Commissioner's Office that she made her offer matching the on-line quote. My MP's office is looking into this for me as they can understand my issues with the RAC.

Fiz

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It may be illegal to do that. There was a parliamentary battle about whether to prevent insurance companies charging different genders different prices for car insurance. The insurance companies justified this by proving that about 70% of every claim made in motor insurance was caused by a male driver aged between 17-23 and it was that male age group that had been charged approximately 3 times more than a female at those ages as they were statistically far more likely to cause a crash. Gender insurance policies were equal from age 24 onwards. Parliament threw out the statistical and risk argument and made it illegal to discriminate policy costs due to gender. This meant females insurance costs when aged 17-23 raised considerably to cover the cost of vehicle repair and medical injury claims caused by this age group in order to make both genders equal.

I've no idea whether it's illegal to charge someone more because they have a disability but if insurance companies can't charge young males more despite them being the cause of the majority of claims it makes it unfair to charge a disabled person more because they are disabled. I know that "housewife" as an occupation increases prices. Housewives are obviously all bonkers or do nothing but drink G&T all day before the afternoon school run.

Sunny Clouds

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I think there are overlapping issues here and whether JLR succeeds with this specific complaint or not, hopefully it will prod them into sorting things out.

You see, the difficulty here is that if the price varies according to being on benefits, whether disabled or not, and it just happens that being on disability is one reason, they may try to argue that it's not being disabled that's the issue, but being on benefits, and that being so, may simply re-write the criteria in a way that still indirectly discriminates but is difficult to prove.

So there needs longer term to be some way of ensuring that such criteria are adjusted. 

The difficulty, of course, is that there are benefits such as ESA that are paid to both disabled and non-disabled people.  For example, if you get injured and are out of work for, say, three months with it, and then are up and about, pretty much as good as new, then you wouldn't count as disabled, but you would have been on ESA or UC.

I wonder whether there are any examples within the industry of insurers that get this right when it comes to avoiding disability discrimination or whether it's something that's going to require legislation?  If so, I hesitate to hope, but if the government thought it wasn't going to cost them a lot and if their mates in the industry thought the good PR of not arguing against changes would outweigh any losses, then something might be done.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

JLR2

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Fiz, given I had already ticked the box in the RAC's on-line quote and been offered the 164 premium, a premium I was looking to accept, to then be told that my ''employment status'' was the issue that was increasing the premium by 52 is something that wound me up. During the course of my further calls with the RAC I was being treated as a mug as they tried to convince me that I had not ticked any boxes in the employment question, even when I pointed out to them that I could not have obtained the 164 quote without first having completed all the questions asked in their own on-line quotation system.

Just as what happens when booking bus tickets through City-link the customer on-line has to answer all the questions ticking the required boxes before their system will progress the RAC's system is the same so what this all boils down to is a RAC customer services call handler who decided she could increase her bonus if she could convince me to pay her inflated insurance premium.

Sunny, I just read your posting as I went to post the above, as I was saying above on-line the RAC knew of my being unemployed due to disability or illness when they offered the 164 premium. They, in the phone call handling side, knew that they were lying to me when they claimed I had not ticked any boxes in the employment status question. As I have said not ticking one of the boxes in that part of filling in the on-line quote stops the quote going any further therefor I could not possibly have achieved a final on-line quote. Come to think of it Sunny, when I spoke of my going through the Information Commissioners Office the woman at the RAC with whom I was speaking asked for a few minutes before coming back to me and telling me she would offer on behalf of the RAC terms and premiums matching my on-line quote. Would that not suggest she had indeed looked at my on-line quote, the one that is only available to customers who have completed 'all the questions' on the on-line system?  That being the case in offering to match the on-line quote she has confirmed the RAC's call handling staff were lying when they claimed I had failed to tick any box re my employment status.

Need to find my coffee noo :-)

Sunny Clouds

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I'm not saying you have no grounds for complaint.

What I'm saying is that there are separate issues.  There's the issue of whether you were treated unfairly or dishonestly or misleadingly etc.

Then there's the issue of whether you were treated differently because you're disabled.

If the difference in how you were treated related to being on benefits because you were sick or disabled, not to your being disabled as such, then unless there's some other factor in the way you were treated that relates specifically to disability, then this isn't a disability discrimination matter, it's a general matter of not behaving honestly and/or decently.

I think it might pay you to take it apart, as it were, and make sure you've got a clear separate case in relation to the disability thing.  For example, see how they divide down people who are on pensions and people who are in employment.  Is disability a box you tick there?  If not, they can argue that it's the benefits/unemployment that's the factor, not the disability.

Wording could be very important there.  You mention being unemployed 'due to disability' and the distinction between being unemployed due to disability as opposed to being on benefits due to disability could be crucial. 

I'm really interested in seeing how this plays out.  It may be that you'll get them to  review and re-write their quote system.

 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

JLR2

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Sunny, the question on the on-line quote system reads, ''Not in employment due to disability or illness'' this is the box which I ticked on the quote which offered me the 164 premium so when the RAC customer service woman, Maisie, told me my premium was raised due to my employment situation that could only be down to my being unemployed due to disability hence discriminatory. For the RAC customer services to later claim I had not ticked 'any box' in that question of employment status is simply a lie.

''If the difference in how you were treated related to being on benefits because you were sick or disabled, not to your being disabled as such, then unless there's some other factor in the way you were treated that relates specifically to disability, then this isn't a disability discrimination matter, it's a general matter of not behaving honestly and/or decently.''

I can see and understand what you are saying Sunny.

Fiz

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I have had to pay more for the fact that I was a housewife and not working for as far back as I can remember. It irked me at one point to be paying more for my car insurance for my old banger than my ex who was working and drove an all singing and dancing new Volvo with leather heated seats and who'd caused 3 accidents in the previous 3 years and I've never caused an accident ever.

It may be that insurance is still higher for people not working for whatever reason. That was the case 2 years ago, I've no idea if it's still the case but I never worked out why I had to pay more when not working. Maybe they assume that if you're not in an office/shop/work place from 9-5 then you've more time to be driving around all day. People who drive around for work pay higher business use insurance because they're driving around more.

JLR2

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Part of my issue Fiz, is that the on-line RAC quote system aware of my being disabled offered a 164 premium therefor the attempt by Maisie to increase the premium by 52 was out of order. That she tried to justify the increase on the basis of my being disabled was, to my mind, discriminatory.

Fiz

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It's proving what was said in the phone call that may be the problem. I can understand the annoyance though but I'm pleased they offered the lower price eventually.

Sunny Clouds

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JLR can prove it - he recorded it.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Quote
Sunny, the question on the on-line quote system reads, ''Not in employment due to disability or illness'' this is the box which I ticked on the quote which offered me the 164 premium so when the RAC customer service woman, Maisie, told me my premium was raised due to my employment situation that could only be down to my being unemployed due to disability hence discriminatory.

Which is why your recording showing that there was specific reference to your being unemployed because of your disability will be crucial.

But what a dreadful set up they've got.  If I were in  your shoes, I'd be fuming, regardless of whether there's any discrimination. 

But then forgive my negativity today, but too much in the way of the sales of ongoing services comes down to trying to lure other people's customers away with a bit of a discount but no more than necessary, whilst bumping up costs for loyal customers.  It's the total opposite of what I grew up with, and I'm sure one reason why so many people get caught out by it is that we don't expect to be ripped off.  It also relies on a certain traditional British reluctance to haggle.  That'll probably all be evaporated in a few years and they'll have to find a different way to rip off customers.



(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

JLR2

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 >biggrin<

I've just come off the phone with the RAC customer services guy who called me to apologise on behalf of the RAC Insurances side of things and offer me a cheque for 60, 50 for the bother I experienced through them recently + an additional 10 for the cost of my calls to them.

The guy explained the problem with their quoting system as a, 'glitch in the system'  from what he was telling me they think that as I scrolled to the next question, following my having ticked the unemployed due to disability or illness box, the tick was deleted/removed and it was only following my call to their customer services that the apparently unanswered question was noticed.

He also explained that he felt sure had I not made my first call to the RAC and instead tried to complete the quote system to the point of purchase the system would have picked up the lack of answer in that section.

I feel maybe the fact my MP's letter was sitting in front of him has something to do with his thinking :-)

oldtone27

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I'm sure the MP's letter had something to do with his thinking. MP's letters tend to go in with top of large organizations, unlike your or my letters which go in at the bottom and struggle to reach someone in authority.

Did you manage to get a satisfactory quote after all?


JLR2

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On the day of my looking to renew my car's insurance as I was on the phone my post arrived and in it there was a letter from SAGA insurance. During a break in my calls to the RAC I phoned SAGA and ended up taking a fully comprehensive policy for 105.

There's more >biggrin< since the call from the RAC today I contacted their breakdown side to do with my membership of that which is due to renew on the 3rd of July. As I'll be away then I decided to check that there was no automatic renewal in place for that cover.

In the course of my phone call the woman I spoke with became concerned about some advice I was given by one of their call handlers back in 2017. At the time I had been looking to end my membership as I had realised just how much I had agreed to pay for the extras in the agreement. The guy I spoke with told me I was too late to cancel and so I let it carry on. From what the woman told me today the guy should never have done that instead he should have cancelled the agreement and given a refund of part of what I had paid. I mentioned to the woman I was speaking with that it had been my intention to actually continue my membership because of an incident where I had to call the breakdown service late on last year. I had found my car's front driver's side tyre flat and as the car was on a wee bit of a slope where it sits in my front garden I didn't feel I could change the wheel myself.

The result of our chat the woman at the RAC, who I had told of the recent bother I had experienced, helped me with my renewal and she explained she was giving me a reduction in the cost of the renewal because of the actions of the guy who had refused to let me cancel the agreement which he should not have done. She reduced the cost by some 40 :-)

KizzyKazaer

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Good to read of your eventual success, JLR  >thumbsup<  Perhaps the RAC will now review their obviously not-fit-for-purpose 'tick box system'  >erm<