Yip. I’m up to my tricks again. If you read my last article about Web Africa you will know that I have taken on a civil duty to let unsuspecting, decent people like you be made aware of bad experiences that I have had with companies that advertise their excellent services and products.

I make a commitment to you that I will warn you against any company who I experience as being grossly inefficient, lacking customer care and wasting copious on my time navigating their inefficient call centres and computer networks. If it is happening to me, it will happen to you. I also commit to not using this as a bleat page to vent my revenge against companies with whom I have lost a personal battle. The cases reported here will be situations that could happen to you just as easily as it happened to me.

My first experience was with Incredible Connection/HP and then Web Africa. This is the story of the next company.

You know how I feel about companies who use my time and money to pay hefty bonuses to executives who don’t do a decent job.

This is something I would like FNB to answer:

I took a bond out on my house for some alterations 18 years ago. The value of the bond was a pedestrian R450k. At that time the house was worth R1m. I was instructed by FNB to take insurance cover with Outsurance. This was a condition of the bond.

For 18 years the insurance premiums were added to my monthly installment, and because it was a small amount, I paid it little attention.

Last year I had an awful altercation with the bank. They had a month-end slip on the Outsurance system and their debit order run was rejected. A few days later I received a curt letter telling me that my account was in arrears and that I needed to go in a pay at the nearest FNB branch or else . . . . !

I was livid as I knew that this would affect my credit rating. I called them up and asked them why I had to go into a branch (which was a major hassle for me) when all they needed to do was re-submit the debit order. “Oh!” said the hapless manager and the amount was paid immediately.

But, this exercise suddenly revealed that my insurance premium was nearly R2,500 pm. That is R30,000 a year! I immediately contacted my broker to find out whether this was reasonable. They came back with a quote for R800 pm.

Well, as you can imagine, I was furious. But, my broker also tells me that I do not have to insure with Outsurance and that, as long as I can give proof of insurance, there should be no problem.

I immediately cancelled my policy with Outsurance and went with my broker’s quote. Oursurance then gladly refunded me the unspent premium. This amounted to close to R19,000! To add to my annoyance, although Outsurance banked this amount into my FNB account, FNB Home Loans promptly removed this money without my consent and put it against my bond.

I was shocked as I intended spending this money installing air-conditioners in my house. You might ask: “So what’s the problem? Surely you have an Access Bond?”. Yes, I did originally have an access bond facility but, because I had not used it in all the years, they withdrew it.

Now, I must tell you that I have not approached them on this last matter. The nightmare that I went through with the debit order saga, I was not going to repeat. I must have spent 2 whole days on the phone trying to sort it out.

But here is the real issue: for 18 years I’ve been overcharged on my house insurance by a company who claims to offer the lowest rates. If I had to calculate this overcharge in todays money it would amount to (R2,500 – R800 x 12 mths x 18 yrs) R367,000!

Of course, prescription does apply so I can only go back 3 years. That would be a R61,000 refund.

Would anybody like to take this on and get my money back? I’ll give you 25% of whatever you recover.

From my side, the time and aggravation would not be worth it. I would make more just driving my business the way it is rather than wasting time and energy trying to claim this back!

Goedkoop is deurkoop! But, more specifically, companies who are capable of this are capable of anything. So, be warned.

What I would like to see is a response from both Outsurance and FNB offering to pay my money back. That would be the ethical thing to do.