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In the right but still out of pocket

It seems that poor customer service in France is widespread – why not have a wooden spoon award for the worst examples?

Here is my offering: After 27 years of holding insurance policies with Allianz (and its precursors), their poor customer service drove me to move on. My new insurer, who offered a substantial saving on Allianz, cancelled all my policies but Allianz continued to debit my account for one policy – in excess of €500.

I sent copies of the new insurer’s cancellation letter to both the head office and the local agent demanding a refund and got a message promising one within 14 days. There was no apology – it was as if their plundering my account was entirely my fault.

After a fortnight I put a stop on the direct debit and my refund appeared after an irate phone call. It had taken so long that they over-refunded me two months. More or less simultaneously I received a letter because the two standing orders had been refused. Rather laughably, they threatened to cancel my policy!

I refunded the overpayment, but explained in writing that I had deducted €20 for expenses. I ignored threatening demands for the outstanding €20, to my cost. Over a year after the contract was legally and correctly cancelled, I receiveda pre-avis d’assignation threatening me with une instance judiciaire if I didn’t immediately pay up the €20 plus a debt recovery fee of €46.

Now that is what I call abysmal, brutal customer service – their mistake and I’m the one over €100 out of pocket. Can anyone find a better wooden spoon candidate or suggest a just retribution?

Margaret Lawrence, Dordogne

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