Another rip-off merchant: Chaucer Direct

Last year, Chaucer Direct charged us £318.64 to insure out ten-year-old Saab 9-5. Today the renewal notice came through: they want £391.46. That’s a 23% increase in an economy where inflation has been 0%.


There is obviously no justification for this — they are just hoping I’ll click OK without checking, and take 23% more money for providing the exact same service.

I just spent an enormously frustrating 13 minutes on the phone to them — much of it on hold — at the end of which they offered to bring it down to £376.13 — a £15 discount that is frankly pathetic.

So now I will have to go through the whole tedious comparison-shopping process again to find an insurer who — for one year at least — will not rip me off.

The irony is that we only switched to Chaucer Direct because Direct Line tried to slip a 45% increase past us a couple of years ago. The moral seems to be that all insurers will price-gouge given the chance.

So from now on I will be referring to them as “Chancer DIrect”.


3 responses to “Another rip-off merchant: Chaucer Direct

  1. We’ve just had the same from the AA: they tried it last year too, but were talked down to a more palatable 2% increase, but this year they want to hike it up for an already expensive £400 (it’s just a diesel Mondeo, after all) to £550. I’m getting really tired of them trying on this sort of nonsense, they’re all just as bad. Direct Line did the same thing and worse with our house insurance and I did end up being one of the mugs who look a few years to notice I was paying well over twice what I should’ve been.

    Certainly can’t be bothered to go through the usual ritual of arguing with them about it either, so we’ll go elsewhere.

    Funny that deregulation has turned the financial industry into the Wild West…

  2. Vometia, you should be able to get AA-equivalent coverage thrown in as an extra with most driver-insurance policies, for something in the region of £60-£100, including home-start. Don’t buy it from a separate source.

    But, yes, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the correct solution, on getting your yearly insurance renewal, is to take it as in indication that it’s time to dump that insurer and find a new deal. I hate wasting my time on doing this, and would much prefer just to have an ongoing deal with an honest insurer; but there doesn’t seem to be one.

    That goes double for house insurance, by the way — see a forthcoming post.

  3. I’ve had the same from my house insurers, my rental insurance, and my bank. I think it’s all a symptom of the same thing: competition and price wars have driven down the cost these people have to advertise to a cost well below that they can afford, so they have to get it back by making these all ‘introductory offers’, not telling you this clearly (and certainly not letting the price-comparison websites compare on the *non*-introductory cost) and then gouging the inattentive or those who don’t want to spend days every year as an unpaid comparison shopper for every routine boring service they receive. Sometimes people will do the shopping and leave it too late, and then the (never-mentioned until too late) month-long delays in getting things switched over will put you on the gouge rate for a month or more.

    It’s particularly egregious when this happens to some classes of e.g. mortgages, because re-arranging a mortgage is tiresome, long-winded, and often comes with thousands of pounds of random fees which get lumped into the new loan. Yay?

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