Terrible cold calling whiplash claim companies
Only last week did I watch the terrible exploits of cold calling companies on BBC’s Panorama. People from these cold calling companies were outright lying about who they were, who they represented and made ridiculous claims to either gain a fee from people making personal injury claims or to exploit money directly out of victims on the other end of the phone. One method of claiming money from people was to get the victim excited about making a claim before giving victims a fake claims number and a premium rate phone number to call to follow up. Victims calling the premium rate number would then be placed on hold for a long time while they were getting billed directly from their phone network. I got hit from behind which resulted in the endless cold calls
Just over a year ago, those of you who followed me on Twitter or Facebook will have seen the groovy dent on the back of my car made by a lady who claimed that I ‘came out of nowhere’. The accident happened at around 2mph (as we were pretty close to each other and stationary before she bumped into me). I successfully claimed against her insurance company using the Accident Exchange service which was recommended to me my local BMW Vines dealership. I had used them before with no issues at all but this time was different – this time they passed on my details to a personal injury company who have been hassling me periodically.
Even when I notified my own insurance company of the accident for notification’s sake, Admiral insurance referred me over to Albany assistance who deal with their claims. I chose not to use their services as I had already chosen Accident Exchange by that time which was met with a barrage of insults and personal verbal abuse over the phone. They followed up after about a week to close my case – a case that I hadn’t even asked them to open!
So back to Accident Exchange. I had a phone call a couple of days after my accident, before I had received a courtesy car from a third party which Accident Exchange had already passed my details on to. He was asking me to claim for personal injuries and consistently referenced soft tissue damage and minor muscle tears around the neck, shoulders and back that may have arisen from the crash. I told them that I wasn’t at all interest in claiming for personal injury as it would have been frankly stupid to do so. I would be lying and playing the system to fraudulently gain money I didn’t deserve. I have witnessed over the last few years the real pain of real whiplash through my wife who had an accident over 5 years ago and who still suffers neck pain and headaches today. She only managed to claim very little at the time in compensation as the doctor hired by her insurance company to assess her injuries said that there were not going to be any long term problems. It is the kind of injury that is so hard to assess which has been badly exploited by underhand firms through this technical loophole and claims have been put forward too easily today for those who don’t deserve it making it harder to believe those who have truly been affected.
I did have aches and pains a couple of weeks after the accident as I had just run the London Marathon, but the claims guy followed up and advised that the pain was probably a result of the accident and not the gruelling run I just had. I told him at the time to close the case and move on as I wasn’t interested in claiming and adding to the overall claims bill that has ramped up insurance costs over the last few years. Even though I’ve been adding a new year of no claims bonus every year, my insurance premium has always stayed the same or gone up in price annually. The same guy did follow up one more time about a month after the marathon call to repeat the same old stuff and he gave in stating that he would close my file.
Today, amazingly I had another call from a different person about the same thing. It appears that my details were passed on again. The guy who spoke to me today introduced himself really quickly, running through my personal details including the make of my car, my car registration, the accident date and some details about the crash. I told the guy I thought the case was closed and wanted to know what he wanted from me. He then told me that my case would actually be left open for 3 years from the date of the crash. I told them what had happened before with the injury claims guy and told them that the case should be closed but he just kept talking over me.
He kept repeating that the other party’s insurance company had put aside a ‘Category C’ fund for the unclaimed portion of my successful insurance claim. He went on to explain that I had this fund to claim as the crash resulted in over £500 worth of damage and as I hadn’t claimed for personal injury at the time, this ‘Category C’ fund was automatically assigned to give out to me within the 3 year open claim period. When I reiterated to the guy on the phone that I had no interest in claiming for personal injury as I felt it was unethical to do so as I had received no pain apart from having to listen to him yapping on, he told me that the insurance companies make billions of pounds worth of profit every year, so I would not be contributing to the higher premiums to everybody’s insurance, but simply reducing the insurance company’s profit.
I told him that this David and Goliath tagline was utter nonsense and reminded him of the Panorama investigation on TV only a couple of weeks back. It was at that point that I asked for his name again. This was where the conversation got really weird. He questioned why I would ask him such a question. I figured that as he knew my name, where I lived, my car details, my crash details and my phone number, that I may as well know a bit more about the guy I was talking to. He kept trying to deflect the questions about who he was, saying things like ‘I don’t know why you’re asking me these things’ and ‘I’m just trying to help you close your case, this is just a courtesy call’ and the very odd ‘I don’t understand why we’re going around in circles’. He finally gave up his name as Marcus Cooper although I’m pretty sure that this was not the guy’s name at all.
Even stranger was at around 40 minutes into our conversation I asked him who he worked for. He then went on a rant about why I would be asking such things and I reminded him that he knew who I was, my crash details and my number. If I were to make a personal injury claim with him, then I may as well know who it was. He stated that he had already told me at the beginning of the call and didn’t understand why we were ‘going around in circles’. I then put my foot down and gave him a real world explanation of how introductions work in real life. A meets B somewhere. They introduce themselves to each other. They talk for a while and then A decides he wants to know more about B but forgets B’s name. A then asks for B’s name and who he works for. B states his name is B and he works for C. Simple. Marcus then told me that I must have a really bad memory not to have remembered who he said he was and where he worked right at the beginning of the call. I asked him to remind me and he told me that he worked at ‘ABC’.
I knew this was not at all true as I would have remembered that his company shared the same name as a popular US television network. I asked him again and he reiterated the whole ‘going around in circles’ thing again. At that point I asked why I would trust someone who lied to me. He then finally caved in and told me that he worked for ‘RTG’. I remembered that ‘RTG’ was what Marcus had stated at the beginning of the call but nothing came up on the search related to insurance or claims and ‘RTG’. I told him what the search bought up and told him that he lied to me twice in a row about the company name and then he told me that he acted on behalf of Reynards Solicitors which can be found at http://www.reynardslaw.co.uk
At the footer of their website, they go by the trading name of Reynards Solicitors which belongs to Reynards Legal Ltd. They also have their Solicitors Regulation Authority number 552978. None of these details appear on the SRA’s website using their search facility which rings alarm bells. Unfortunately it appears that it is a real pain to report these rogue traders to the SRA or Law society, but I will forward this blog post anyway. I ended the phone call to Marcus by telling him that I would be writing about our little 50 minute conversation on my blog which he could look up by searching for my name on Google (seeing as he had it to hand). At that point Marcus apologised for upsetting me and lying about the company name but that he didn’t think it was important and definitely not important enough for me to be writing about it and ‘posting it up all over the internet’.
I ended the call there and invited him to share this blog post for all his friends to see. I told him that he need not worry anyway as I didn’t believe that his name was really Marcus Cooper. He apologised again, told me he would close my case and then we finally parted telephonic ways. I called him back on the number that showed up which was 02035112028 and got an automated message informing me that ‘One of our agents recently tried contacting you, we will try again later’ before hanging up automatically.
What a crazy waste of my time. I hope if you are reading this that you are not suffering the same fate as me. I will certainly never be using Accident Exchange ever again!
UPDATE 28th January 2014: I’ve been informed that Reynards exists and that Marcus has never worked at the law firm via Twitter user @LukeBsMum. Reynards details can be found here