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Worst Customer Service I Have Ever Encountered

So they have these snazzy adverts, Iggy Pop says he uses them- they have dogs in suits... Looks like wonderland, they must be good.... Right?

Dead wrong.

I will open this by saying that I have dealt with British Gas, Orange, O2, BT - all titans in the game of treating their customers like filth. But Swiftcover are the world heavyweight champions of treating their customers poorly. Their service should be award winning, in the same way I imagine that Saddam would have said that his Secret Police were award winning.

I urge you all - if you're reading this, if you care for your sanity, your car and your bank balance - walk away from that cheap and nasty quote from this band of cowboys. Insurance is supposed to give you peace of mind when something goes wrong - that's the whole point of it. You pay your insurers to be there for you on the off chance - if you give these horrible people your money the only thing you will be buying is the assurance that they will make your time dealing with them awful.

Is it worth it to take the cheapest quote when you can see so many people on here who loathe and detest this business? Read what people say they've done, this company has, but the accounts of my fellow reviews - sought to do over their customers in any number of scenarios. If I were you then I would quickly conclude that they cannot be trusted. Go to the next cheapest because life is too short to deal with Swiftcover, the UK's Internet insurance company - and by my token the worst, most customer hating, profit grabbing, uncaring insurance company in Britain today.

Harsh words you would say? Yes they are, but justified I think. Let me tell you my story -

I parked my car up on a residential road and went off to do my business for the day. When I came back I saw the front end of my car caved in, the person who did it had been kind enough to leave a note. I made contact, we exchanged details and that is when I made my mistake - I contacted swiftcover. I now know I should have contacted the third party insurer, but we live and learn.

I called out of hours - I didn't like the Internet system and wanted to talk to a person - my car was pranged, I was a bit anxious, I thought it was fair enough. I gave them the details in full and with the bank holiday approaching I was keen to get a courtesy car or something for the bank holiday weekend, we'd all want that. I called them the following day to try to sort that bit out. They had not put my claim on the system, didn't even know I had made a claim. Competent. I gave them the details in their entirety again and waited. They advised they'd arrange a car. What they did, without telling me, is passing my personally identifable data to a company called Albany Assist - now don't you believe them when they say they never pass on your details - Albany knew my name, my address and my car, they knew I had been in an accident and I knew nothing about them - not even that they would be calling. Albany are a bunch of sharks - they wanted to get me a like for like car hire on a credit agreement on the understanding they would clam it from the third party. On the one hand a good enough idea - but the way they explained it and the pressure they put on me was disgusting and Swiftcover gave them my details. Lets say that again - Swiftcover gave a firm of Abulance chasers at this claim firm my personal information without informing me. I sacked Abany off and made contact with Swiftcover - I was on hold for an age, was not called back when I was told I would be and the upshot is that I was left without a car for the bank holiday weekend. Great service, great start.

At the end of the bank holiday weekend I called them up and after a long wait, got through to someone who sent me to enterprise to get a courtesy car. Enterprise, to be fair, were great, but that's down to them - not the inepts at swiftcover.

After the weekend, my car was collected and taken to the nearest repair shop, a mere thirty miles from my house. Wonderful, so nothing about getting it back would be easy.

The circumstances of my claim were very cut and dry - totally non fault, simple. There had been an admission after the fact, all really hassle free. Swiftcover had not, a week on, made moves to approach the third party and so I gave them a bit of encouragement. In the meantime their repairers, the wholly incompetent Lichfield Accident Repair Centre, had looked at the car and decided the damage was uneconomical to repair. This was passed to a Swiftcover engineer who agreed. He told me in writing and verbally that my car would be written off. He gave me a ballpark valuation which was, as tradition needs, way off. I disputed this but went off knowing it was a write off and so, based on what they told me I cleared out my car at the repairer some 30 miles away and then I went on a 100 mile round trip to look at potential new cars. In the meantime, I sent lots of evidence off to dispute their poor valuation.

After a week of not replying to email and not returning calls, something which is completely typical for this awful company, Swiftcover's repairer called me to say they had been instructed to repair the car. I didn't hear from Swiftcover to explain the decision after they had assured me that the car was written off, no, they got the repairer to tell me and of course when I wanted to know why, what had caused the change of decision, why it had taken a week to decide - of course the repairer didn't know and Swiftcover wouldn't get back to me. Great.

So the repairs began and took quite a while - I believe the repairer had the car for three weeks. Why do repairers take these jobs on if they can't turn them around in good time? During this extended period of time I was in a hire car and the cost of the claim was increasing by the day. This, folks, is why our insurance premiums are so high - insurance companies are happy to stiff each other for exorbitant costs, happy with the fact that we, the customers, will be paying the raised premium to keep them and their shareholders happy. Welcome to Swiftcover's world. When the repairs were done, it took Lichfield Accident Repair Centre four days to quality assure the car. I work from home on a Monday, was told the car would be ready on the Friday, it wasn't until a Wednesday that the car was brought back, forcing me to work from home again. What a great service - we pay them all this money and they can't be bothered to fit in with convenience for their customers.

When the car was delivered back the condition that it was in was just disgusting. The paint on the repaired panels was not the same colour as the rest of the car, the front bumper was misaligned, the front windscreen washers didn't work, there was a strong smell of oil coming from the car, the engine management light came on almost immediately and the car went into engine fail safe mode, the car pulled to the left and there was a rattle coming from under the car. The standard of work from Lichfield Accident Repair was completely awful. I called Swiftcover to tell them about this and had to have quite an argument to get them to accept a need to do anything about this. The people I spoke to, who quite obviously had never seen the car, were quick to tell me it was a high standard of work. Really comforting to hear for the guy stood next to the car, unhappy with it having been all but ruined.

After a fair few calls and a few complaints, they eventually agreed to have the car collected and the repairer take a look at it. As soon as they agreed to d this they began what, to me, was a very clear mitigation strategy - what they said and did was clearly and obviously setting the scene for a later denial of responsibility. They told me the finish was likely to be commercially acceptable, that the process was that an engineer would inspect it and give me a final response. This was not said in a helpful 'explain the process way', it was done with the Sardonism of a well oiled machine designed to frustrate and passive-aggressively dissuade follow up. As a customer, their attitude toward me and the problem was deeply unpleasant.

The car was collected and taken back to the car butcher shop of Lichfield Accident Repair Centre. They accepted that the bumper was misaligned and agreed to 'remedy' it. They accepted that the washers weren't working, they had put them in place in such a way that they were trapped in the closing bonnet (you'd think they'd never done it before), and the accepted that they had left a tray loose under the car. That was the good news. Their view was that the paint was a match and was 'commercially acceptable'. I came to realise that this nothing term, 'commercially acceptable' means that the job is awful but that nobody but me much cares about it.

They said that the engine management lights and oil smell were unrelated - these issues stem from the engine, my accident was a front end knock, yet they are unrelated. Honestly! They said the wheels were misaligned (after a knock, really?!), and that they would realign the front one as a gesture of goodwill, which was really so very good of them, but they wouldn't realign the rear one. So, they left one wheel misaligned after a front end collision - Not clever. A few days later, Swiftcover's engineer examined the car. He said the paint job was commercially acceptable, though acknowledged that the panels were a different colour, claiming many of the car's panels were different colours (really?!) and that this is 'commercially acceptable'. He claimed the engine bay items could not be related and refused to deal and said the same about the wheel alignment. The rest of the items were apparently sorted.

I got my car back for the second time to find the bumper still misaligned, the rattle from under the car still there and to find that now the steering vibrates under breaking and that the rear wheel, misaligned as they left it, causes vibration at 70mph. So, Swiftcover and Lichfield Accident Repair Centre have done, at best, half a job on my car and left me with the equivalent of advice to get lost about their doing any more.

Top that off, swiftcover refused to compensate me for wasted trips taken to clear out my car and to look for other cars when they had misled me about my car being written off.

I have taken to the Internet in earnest to share my thoughts and this has caused them to contact me again to 'resolve things'. Apparently, after I plastered a well known social networking site with my thoughts as to their service, this raised my profile with them. Initially their Press people contacted me, as they have contacted people who have reviewed them before. This contact was completely insincere and useless. The PR girl, in her youthful enthusiasm, reiterated to me over and over that their work was to a high standard and that I should be happy with it. Their customer relations manager, who should win awards for her passive aggressive manner told me I was being unreasonable by asking them to put these things right, and it has taken days of sustained social network commentary to get any further concession - apparently now they want to take the car to BMW. In order to get anything out of them I have had to chase them, hound them, complain repeatedly and publicise their poor service. Ask yourself before you pay them if you are prepared to do this to resolve a non fault accident with your own insurance company!

The saga is not over but my mind is made up - swiftcover are without question the worst business I have ever dealt with in my life. Their customer service style is obviously based on a model of passive disengagement, which turns into passive aggression when customers are not happy. They clearly hope that customers will give up and leave them be. There is nothing good or pro active about the way they handle claims. I am convinced that if I had not chased them up I would still be waiting for them to collect my car. When it went wrong, they absolutely did not care, neither did their repairer and my experience since has been inconsistent, downright hostile and unpleasant from the moment it began. This has been an awful experience, it is clear swiftcover want to profit from my claim at the cost of my experience, their service and indeed my car.

If I knew when I encountered this company and was about to take my policy out, what I know now there is no way on earth I would have done business with them. Cheaper is not better, it is not even the same. They are cheap because they cut costs, have poor service, have a profit generating number for their call centre and use cheap and nasty repairers. I will now pay more and insure with a company with a reputation for better service.

If you're reading this then you want an opinion as to this business - please learn from my experience without having to experience it yourself. Take out insurance with anyone but these people - they don't care about you, wont help you but will quite happily take your money and leave you in the lurch. Read the reviews that follow mine - I'm not alone in holding this opinion.

My advice to you is to never ever do business with these foul people, stay as far from them as you can and learn that with swiftcover cheap means cheap and downright nasty.

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Pete Jones
Hinckley, United Kingdom