That was the question disappointed consumer Cass Helstrip was left asking after a letter key on her four-year-old Apple laptop jammed in April. She had turned to her £232 annual policy with Gadget Cover, initially confident of a quick fix.
Cass already knew what that required having got a diagnosis directly from an Apple’s store which advised her she needed a new keyboard, a repair costing around £236.
But from then on “my claim process with Gadget Cover was shambolic, although I had no choice but to see it through”, she told Crusader.
When Cass first arranged for Gadget Cover to pick up her machine, she says she was told the process would take “three to five days to complete”, adding: “They did not want Apple’s assessment, even though that would have surely reduced the time involved, and I was told if I sent my machine to Apple that would invalidate my claim.”
The expected repair time was then extended, reaching 10 days. “Next
I was told extra information was needed, details I’d already supplied,” said Cass.
“The next status update was that the laptop was waiting to be looked at and then that they had found another problem.”
Given the time it was taking, under her policy’s terms Cass was offered a choice: she could carry on waiting or opt for a replacement or cash equivalent.
“The next day I told them that I would go for a refurbished model instead,” she continued. “But they had already taken the decision to go ahead with the repair. My laptop was on its way to Apple, something that could have been done three weeks before. After my insistence, they then cancelled that. I could see no quick end to this however so I bought another laptop.”
Haggling over a cash settlement then ensued and with Crusader’s support Cass got the offer raised from £850 to £1,000.
Gadget Cover it then emerged is a brand within Supercover (part of another insurer Markerstudy) and its senior operations manager Jon Hall said: “We always try to provide an efficient and transparent service to our customers but recognise that in this instance there were delays in the claims process (handled by Direct Group) and we have fallen short of expectations. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
Although Cass was keen to move on, she felt the £100 she was offered in recognition for the poor service was not enough. Supercover declined to improve on this so she has now complained to the Financial Ombudsman.
In the meantime she has accepted the settlement as this does not affect her right to challenge the compensation.
“If they had only told me where I stood, it would have been easier for me to make decisions and a lot of stress would have been avoided,” reflected Cass. “Insurance is a valuable safety net, but it has to do what it promises.”
For more information see the Crusader guide to protecting your tech.