Beware the Natwest ‘Advantage Gold’ Account

Screen Shot 2012-04-13 at 11.29.04

I don’t usually write about things like banking, mostly because it bores me to death, but partly because it’s a private thing. We don’t like to discuss money or what we do with it and most people have their own little system that works perfectly well for them. They have their account – the same bank that they’ve banked with for, oooh, let’s say twenty years - and they have their little extras, like their ISA and their standing orders into savings accounts. They might have all of their bills going out, their mortgage, life insurance, health insurance, council tax, credit cards, all of those things that are a nightmare to change over should you be mad enough to consider moving banks.

Well, do you know what? After twenty years I am considering moving banks. I’m so ruddy well annoyed that I may well just do it out of sheer principle. I need a business account anyway, and so I may well go in the same direction as Mr AMR and head to Lloyds TSB.

My disgruntlement? The Advantage Gold account. I have had one of these, at the cost of £12.95 per month, for years. On and off. Because at one time, you could actually cancel it without having to visit a branch. Which made life easier. But now they really want to keep you paying out your £12.95 per month, so they employ customer service people to run through the benefits of the account and persuade you to stick with it. The only reason that I had one of these accounts was that I wanted my iPhone insured and they absolutely assured me that it would be. “Up to £1000 in value!” said the nice chap. “But won’t it be some crappy insurer who will take ages?” said I. “No, it’s just the same as the 02. The man in 02 just told you that because they make £15 a month out of you for insurance!”

Oh. More fool me. Because £12.95 ain’t that far off what they charge, mate, and let me tell you what happened when I tried to claim! Phone stolen on the 4th April 2012 – when would I have had another phone through 02? Sooner than…let me see….five working days to process the claim, then probably some time to post one out…. Who knows? I don’t know, and I am without my “mobile office” which is quite devastating to the running of my day-to-day life. I’m still waiting..

But that’s not the worst of it! I asked if I could go out and buy another iPhone whilst waiting for the claim to process, then just use the claim money to cover it when it came through. Check this out:

“IPhone claims only:

Due to a general shortage of both new and refurbished iPhones in the UK, CPP are experiencing difficulties in replacing some models, especially those that are no longer stocked or sold by Apple.

In these cases, CPP is not always able to fulfil mobile phone insurance claims with an identical replacement iPhone handset.  In these instances customers are offered a replacement device of comparable specification (e.g. Blackberry or Android ). If this is not suitable, a cash settlement, the value of which may be offered at the insurers discretion.

Claims will be paid up to the maximum cover limit and will depend on the value of customers original handset. For old mobile models, the cash settlement value is equal to the price that customers would need to pay for a refurbished version of their original handset if they were to go direct to the Apple Store.

CPP have plans in place to increase the number of replacement iPhone handsets in stock but it will take time to build stock due to current supply shortages.”

You WHAT? People, there is NO iPhone shortage, let me tell you. I had the pick of about ten thousand of them when I went in to get mine three months ago. And why should I only get the cash settlement for a refurbished version of my original handset?

It’s not CPP’s fault – it’s Natwest’s. If I had been able to manage my expectations then I would have been prepared for this – actually no, I would have cancelled my Advantage Gold account and paid the money for proper insurance. Which was exactly what I was going to do. I’m livid.

I have taken the day off today, cancelled all of my appointments to wait in for my “reserviced” handset, only to be told when it didn’t arrive in the post that it might take “more than three weeks” for them to get stock. Natwest, THIS IS NOT INSURANCE, IT’S A JOKE!

I’m wondering how they think I’m supposed to do without a phone for this long? It’s shocking. Shocking. I’m so angry that I’m actually shaking.

**UPDATE. CPP (the insurance firm) have offered me a cash settlement so that I can buy a new phone. I don’t think that this is anything to do with me posting this post, as my surname would be different and Natwest themselves haven’t actually contacted me. So, good ending, but no thanks to Natwest! I shall definitely be changing my insurance and cancelling my Advantage Gold Account.***

Ruth CrillyBeware the Natwest ‘Advantage Gold’ Account

72 Comments on “Beware the Natwest ‘Advantage Gold’ Account”

  1. dani

    Dont use natwest travel insurance it’s a waste. My parents r on hokiday n my dad had a fall and cause he had had 3 pints of bitter is insurance did not cover him. What do ppl go away for to relax and hqve a few drinks he wasn’t drunk but apparently if u hqve accident with any alcohol in ur system it does not cover u. My advantage gold will b gettin stopped and I will b changing my bank

  2. MR B PORTER

    Please help me! natwest advantage gold bought a phone 2 weeks only i lost it I haven’t registered it yet. at one point the bank they told me you don’t need to register your phone anymore new policy I believe the 2 women now I lost it I have to register why what can I do to get my Samsung S4 back????

  3. mad as hell

    Glad to see I’m not the only one.. I was CONNED into this “advantage gold” account by a callous branch manager, who after asking if i wanted my new account to be advantage gold, and me saying clearly no, he ticked the yes box. I’m sure they had some kind of quota they had to fill. Still remember his name, one Leslie Ampofo. I switched banks after getting back the monthly fee they had stolen from my account, which wasn’t particularly easy neither.

  4. mimi78

    have been with Natwest for 10 years never had a problem, have an ad gold and select silver account. had 2 claim on my iphone twice a couple of years ago did take a week but everyone was really helpful. They now are no longer with CCP as an insurer so may be quicker

  5. max

    The worst is natwest black, they say they cover everything, but treat you like a thief when u claim, and did not cover my lost laptop because “i didnt know where i lost it” bunch of retards, – with an annual spend of 50k + they lost out more then replacing my laptop! ( ps no claims in 15 years!)

  6. Ashton

    Well I’ve claimed with them before and the process is quite clear on the pack they send out and as it’s considerably cheaper and better than most insurance companies I think I’ll stick with natwest it’s not there fault you can’t read

  7. Freespirit67

    This is worrying as I’ve just made a claim as dropped my iphone!! They also persuaded me to stay with Advantage Gold instead of leaving and taking out Orange care insurance!!

  8. Natalie

    Well I had advantage silver account. Made a claim for my iphone4 in December and it took almost 2 months to get a phone to me as not repairable. I have just upgraded and sent my phone to my provider as they provide a recycle and reward scheme. I received an email from my provider to advise that I would be getting nothing for my phone because it was a fake and with non original parts also. Phoned the technicians who advised can’t be used again as fake and this is why no money offered and as per the contract I would not get phone back. I am now out of pocket and without a phone!!! Safe to say I have cancelled my silver account with Natwest and considering moving to another bank so they lose my current account, ISA and Credit card business!!

  9. Stevo

    Ive been having a good look into this advantage gold “scam” after i was quoted insurance cover for my car. The quote i got thru natwest gold was £700 MORE than the cheapest I could find online….So im thinking Im paying Natwest 12.95 a month for them to push certain companys. Ive come to the conclusion that there is no advantage to accounts like this, and I feel a little embarrased that i got took in by this con. Ive been paying for nothing. Its a scam and should be pursued by the authoritys like the PPI selling scandal.

  10. Anna

    I too have also recently fallen fowl to the not worth having Natwest Advantage Gold mobile phone Insurance. The screen was broken on my phone and I called CPP (took some doing initially as the phone number is wrong on teh Natwest website). The guy at CPP then did everything to make me feel that the claim would be more trouble than its worth – i.e. we need x, Y and Z from your network, then we will take 5 days approve the claim, then you post the phone to us etc. The long and short of it no phone for up to a month. He said on numerous occasions you are free to change your mind and not claim. There was almost an expectation I wouldn’t. In teh end paid £119 to apple and got a replacement phone but will now be cancelling my Natwest Advantage Gold and account ASAP after 20 yrs of being a customer.

  11. melana

    Sweetie, walk past your branch of Natwet! and keep walking until you get to your nearest Lloyd’s TSB!!! (or any where other than Santander…)
    I was with Natwest for 14 years as my Granma worked for them for 18 years!!! After right royally screwing me for 18 months and me growing more and more frustrated, I walked away!
    I have had my new account now for 16 months and I could not be any happier with the service, accounts, everything! They text me when I even start to hover near my limit – which I can set!

    Best thing I ever did leaving Natwest! Years of worry …

  12. Chrissy

    I just thought I’d quickly chip in seenig as we’re on the topic of bank accounts and phone insurances. Be careful with Lloyds TSB as well – they offer phone insurance on their silver and gold accounts, but there’s a special clause for iPhones, where the insurance expects you to pay excess. I don’t remember how much it was exactly, but we’re talking a couple hundred quid, almost as much as a new iPhone. We got a letter about this last summer and quickly packed our bags and left Lloyds. They may have changed their policy by now, but beware.
    Glad to hear you’ve heard from the insurance company now, though it all sounds like a nightmare.

  13. Gillian Pidler

    Hi Ruth, no wonder you’re seething, so would I be. I’m just so sick of insurance companies and banks ripping us off. In fact I was going to suggest exactly what Lucy did, put the cost of an insurance policy into a jar every month so you have enough saved should you need to replace your phone. No companies involved, no hidden clauses and no refurbed nonsense. You didn’t buy refurb you bought a new phone, that is exactly what they should replace it with. We also have laptops and mobiles phones added to our home contents policy each year with added accidental cover. I hope you get a ‘new’ phone soon. Go right to the top at Natwest and kick up a big fuss.

    1. Siobhán

      That is an ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC idea. I think I will start paying myself my insurance. Piggy Banks and jam jars… Get ready to be labelled! Thank you!!!

  14. Katie

    That is absolutely shocking.. I have a similar account with Barclays for the insurance. I’m gong to have to check my policy now. (any excuse to persuade the BF to change banks)

  15. ModestyBrown

    By total coincidence, OH cancelled his Advantage Gold Account today. In branch of course! He kept it on because it got us a better mortgage deal but it was time to drop it. I’m horrified to read about your experience and very glad he’s given it up. PS. I’m a very happy Lloyds TSB customer.

    1. Ruth

      @ModestyBrown woooooo spooky! That’s good he got the mortgage rate though, I didn’t even get that! ; )

  16. Lucy

    Contacting the CEO is the way to go. I had a problem with arranging a temporary overdraft at Natwest and after getting nowhere with their hopeless call centre wrote to the infamous Fred Goodwin. I duly received an apology, cheque and two nice bottles of wine. Didn’t stop me changing banks though. Their customer service is appalling and they have the neck to advertise as “helpful” and the “people’s bank”(and they’re not referring to the public bailout)!

    1. Ruth

      @Lucy I just think it’s an issue that needs raising. SO many people pay extra for these accounts! xx

  17. flick

    I am considering leaving natwest but as I am self-employed don’t know whether other banks would have me. A couple years back they made a mistake on my credit card, which sent me over the limit, while trying to sort it out, they cancelled my card. So, now I have another credit card (and I am a brilliant client ;-)
    Like you I’ve been with natwest for 20 years. Can’t believe how they reward our loyalty!

  18. MakeUpNaive

    Hi guys this is off topic but i want you all to be aware that their is a trend now that says you win something (or whatever) & tells you to give your home address to a FedEx link, it is actually a very strong Trojan virus that will erase ALL your files! So heads up, be vigilant!

  19. Lisa

    Hi Ruth
    My hubby and i have been putting £20 in £2 coins each per month into a massive tin , we have been doing it since we both started buying expensive phones about 5-6 years the tin has enough in it to buy a new phone each twice over, no insurance and no bloomin hassle , the only hard part is resisting the urge to buy nude Laboutins ( for myself of course) with the proceeds, but doing it this way we dont even notice the money going in the tin xx

    1. Ruth

      @Lisa that’s a very good idea!! I have a whole bag of change that’s sat here – maybe we’ll carry on saving instead of taking it to the bank! x

  20. Megs

    I know it’s a different scenario, but i think pension schemes are a total rip off too. You don’t get out half the value you put in & there’s so much fine print that you can bet they always wriggle out of giving you the benefits that you are led to believe you’re entitled to.
    It really does make me cross!
    So now i’ve abandoned the whole thing & make my own future provisions with a standing order into a high interest savings account every month. That way my nest egg is there for me when i’m older & need to access it, no questions asked & no poncy customer jargon or conditions to rob me of a large percentage of what i’ve spent years saving for. Honestly some companies should be ashamed!
    Megs xx

  21. Love in a mist

    Just o add we don’t pay out for any type f extra insurance, of course we have life, house, pet and car insurance, but not those ones they try to sell you when you buy it seems anything these days, you know you buy a toaster at £5 in Argos and they are offering you insurance to cover it lol!, we just put aside some money every month into a seperate basic savings account to cover us if anything breaks such as tv or loss of phone etc, I reckon it’s better in our account every month than theirs and I get my hands on it straight away if needed and can buy whatever I want to replace the item straight away no messing about.

    1. Ruth

      @Love good idea! A contingency fund! And you’re right – why wait about for someone to decide if they’ll pay out or not when you can just go and buy one straight away. I think that this is what we’ll do from now on. xx

  22. Love in a mist

    Oh Ruth this is terrible, I’d be spitting fire too! All banks are the same, we’re with lloydstsb, so be wary of them too, we had a select account costing us £8.50 a month, which we’d had for years, with insurance etc and AA membership as standard, anyway long story short hubbie broke down at work, called AA and when chap arrived was told lloydstsb cover was rubbish and less cover than the basic AA membership meaning if the car couldn’t be repaired where it was and as he was more than 15miles away from home he would have to pay £250 for a AA tow truck!!
    Luckily the AA did a tempory repair and he limped home, but lloydstsb certainly didn’t mention this when we took out account, but we’re quick to point out one of the key benefits was AA membership, anyway needless to say I was furious and went straight to lloydstsb branch next day and cancelled the account, and was very vocal about why !!
    We now just have basic cheque account free of any charges, I would never again pay out for anything like this again!
    Hope you get it sorted xxxx

  23. Monica

    Ah, sounds so very familiar. I am not in the UK, but I when I got my Blackberry I was sold an extended warranty that the salesguy specifically said would give me, no questions asked, a brand new phone if something happened with the original. When something did happen to my phone and I called, I was told that I had mis-understood and would be given a refurbished phone. Why would I buy an extended warranty knowing I was getting a used phone as a replacement, it of course makes no sense! They lie through their teeth to suck people in, but when it comes to pay out and honor the insurance or extended warranty purchased they don’t help at all.
    I really feel for you, it’s the lowest of the low!

  24. Katie

    Absolutely appalling – you should definitely email the CEO as Yasmin suggested, you never know they might offer you some compensation?

    If you’re thinking of switching banks I can 100% recommend The Co-operative Bank. I have the Privilege Premier account with them which I really like and when I lost my iPhone they transferred the money for a new one into my account in under 24 hours!! they’re service is always really good too and they’re super ethical.

    Anyway I’ll stop there, starting to sound like a walking advertisement for them! x

  25. Jenny

    Nightmare

    Slightly unrelated but still Natwest – They sold the advantage Gold account to my husband with a major benefit being the travel insurance.
    There travel insurance doesn’t even cover my husband as he has a medical condition – not that Natwest told him that.

    Luckly i thought about it before we relied on their insurance

    Anyways glad you ar getting it sorted now

    x

  26. Sabina

    Well, don’t. I am researching what decent insurance companies are out there (if any at all). Will spread the word if I discover something. In the mean time, I’ll just carry my iPhone in my bra (kidding). Got mine stolen in Westfield while looking at some stuff in H&M. One minute I had it and the next it was gone :(

    1. Ruth

      @Sabina nooooooooo!!!!!!! So gutting. I was in Liberty cafe! I’m going to start storing mine in my pants! x

  27. Sabinas

    Hey Ruth, so sorry to heard about your troubles with getting a new iPhone.

    My iPhone was stolen about 3 weeks ago and although it was insured with Protect my Bubble, I didn’t get a new one yet and I don’t really think I will ever get one for that matter. They’re so rubbish and after I’ve been paying insurance for a whole year they’re just trying to find any reason not to accept my claim and give me a new one. It’s ridiculous. I made way too many calls and wasted far too much time and all with no result. It is very frustrating and I’ve actually came to the conclusion that insurance companies are useless.

    Hope you’ll get everything sorted though Xx

  28. Lauren

    My friend had the same issue and was given an ‘iPhone’, which then started to freeze. He took it into the apple shop only to be told by apple it was a FAKE phone!! What ensued was much arguing with his bank and insurers to get a new phone, they eventually gave him money and he went out and bought a new one from Apple himself!

  29. Tora

    Gah. It’s downright unprofessional. Completely unacceptable. How are we supposed to trust companies that promise us safety, but turn out to be downright frauds when we need them?

    They are honourless leeches.

    Thank you for sharing this, Ruth. They deserve to be flogged in public.

  30. Talli8cakes

    Best thing to do is smother Mr Bear for a while, surely his cute and royal loveliness will take a little of the sting out of it, failing that…..chocolate and green tea, keep your body guessing today! X

  31. Talli8cakes

    Insurance companies and banks are there to make money only. I’ve had problems with pet insurance. I insured my little Pomeranian. I specifically asked if she was insured against everything, I stated all the things that I needed her insured for and paid extra for the privilege and the man said yes she’s insured. She had to go in for an emergency operation after a month which cost £3000. Said company conveniently lost our telephone conversation specifically stating she was covered. I now record every conversation when being sold something and it’s saved me lots more hassle. Banks are ridiculous. I think apple do their own insurance for £50. It might be worth you looking outside of bank insurance.
    I hope you feel better and manage to get it sorted without an anger attack!

  32. Hazel

    I have this same account, most of the benefits no longer apply to me. I kept it solely because of the phone insurance. My friend had similar issues after his iPhone was damaged and after reading this I may just have to go back to the good ole’ current account…

  33. Shelley

    Hi Ruth
    I’m sorry ur having to go through the nightmare that is banks phone insurance, I sympathise, I went through the same thing last year with Barclays Bank, I pay £25 a month for my account. I broke my iPhone last year & made a claim, only to be told that it takes 6-8 weeks to send me a refurbished phone out & they don’t send out courtesy phones, so that’s a long time to be without a phone! I also had to pay a £100 excess for an iPhone instead of £50 for any other phone which is a joke, anyway cut a long story short, I gave up & went to Apple for advice & as my phone was broken, they took my phone & gave me a brand new one there & then for £139! So just £39 more than the excess & I got it straight away. I know that u had ur phone stolen so don’t have this option but I now feel strongly about avoiding banks for mobile phone insurance, the policies r not designed to benefit the customer at all & in fact r usually a waste of time & money. I hope u get it sorted soon Hun, it’s just another hassle that u don’t need
    Hugs, Shelley x

    1. Ruth

      @Shelley totally agree. And it’s not like the insurance is a free ‘benefit’ – I’m only using that ‘benefit’, so in fact it’s costing £12.95 per month! xx

  34. Mina

    Oh Ruth, this EXACT thing happened to me- except worse. My phone got stolen at university at the beginning of June 2010, I even filed a police report and everything. Freaked out then was reassured by my dad that it would be fine as my iPhone was insured via his Gold Advantage Card. I proceeded to claim insurance etc go through that whole process only to be told my claim had been rejected as if was MY negligence that resulted in my iPhone being stolen (even though it clearly states in that bloody leaflet that this policy covers any kind of damage or loss of the phone). So obviously, I appealed. They then rejected my appeal and basically told me there’s no way I would be able to claim insurance, you know it’s not like we paid £12.50 a month for it or anything. After this (and absolutely no help from o2) I wrote them a letter stating exactly what happened, my police report number, exactly what the policy says and a final paragraph stating that I would have to go to the Financial Ombudsman Services, which I did. It took 4 MONTHS to decide to send me a refurbished iPhone (my iPhone was brand new when it got stolen) that had a faulty camera and scratches on it. I sent it back complaining that the camera quality was terrible in comparison to my old iPhone so they took another month and a half and sent me yet another refurbished iPhone that was even worse than the first one. After this I rang them up and explained how fed up I was (almost 6 months later) and that I wanted to just be paid in cash so I could buy an iPhone myself instead of being sent crappy refurbished ones. They agreed and that’s how I got my iPhone 4S. Wow that was long but I wanted to let you know I agree with you 100% it’s a joke. Even if you do eventually get your iPhone replaced it takes absolutely forever and the damage of that lost time cannot be replaced. I wish you good luck with yours! Xx

    1. Ruth

      @Mina yeah, why should we get a refurb when we have bought an iPhone and it’s in perfect condition when stolen? It’s just ridiculous. It’s all of the hours that I’ve also spent trying to chase this up, and today, waiting in for the phone that would never have arrived. I wonder when they were going to tell me?! x

  35. Yasmin Selena Butt

    There are only two words for it.
    Piss poor.
    Stephen.Hester@rbs.co.uk Is the CEO of Natwest too, I do believe. Write to him. Or send him this.
    I write to CEO’s when I am fobbed off. You paid for a service. You did not get value for money. Ultimately they are accountable. Let me know what happens. Normally you get upgraded to Senior Executive complaints. Though I once had the CEO of Morrisons write back to me and he was absolutely lovely!

    Yasmin xx

  36. Caroline Hirons

    Right thats it. I’ve got EXACTLY the same insurance – I’ve also been with NatWest since the donkey and cart days – I’m off to get brand new cover for all of us.

    Shocking, disgusting service.

    Shame on you FailWest.

      1. claire

        Ruth, I must tell you that as an ex o2 employee, you should ask for a business contract when you next renew with your network provider. You’ll find the insurance is cheaper and a replacement is couriered to you at home or place of work for no cost within 3 days. You won’t be asked to prove anything (even though you can) just to say that 70% of use of phone is for business. I have a business contract with Vodafone and never looked back. If you want external insurance, protect my bubble, though awfully named, is reasonable and at least they specialise. Good luck. I was with Natwest in the 80s and 90s and it took me eleven years to pay back a so called consolidation loan with them. Not a sympathetic bank by any means

        1. Ruth

          @Claire ah! I should have done this! I only just renewed in Jan. I wonder if they’d let me change to business? x

        2. Ant

          I really don’t recommend Protect Your Bubble. Ironically, I found this blog as a result of me looking into taking out insurance with my bank instead, as I’m sick of being messed about by them!
          My first claim was rejected on a very harsh technicality, although after going through the complaints procedure and speaking to the director of the company, I had a new phone sent out as a ‘gesture of goodwill’. Unfortunately, I happen to be in the situation where I have now lost my phone again, and they have no record of my first claim! Shambles!

          I have an ‘annual review’ with Natwest, and I was going to willingly let them talk me into an Advantage account, but I think I’ll hold back now after reading this. Thanks for the heads up!

  37. Mel

    Insurance is actually worse than banks.. They happily take your money every month no problem.. then when you need to claim.. then, the small print comes into play.. the stuff they can quote off the top of their heads, that they never mention at the time of getting you to sign. Always ask them examples when taking out a policy.. be it insurance through your bank.. and if they say its ok, ask them to show you were in the small print.. I don’t trust these people.. never have.. never will.. Sorry Ruth.. I do hope they sort you out a bit better and sooner rather than later x

    1. Ruth

      @Mel I’m just so sick of not having a phone! The insurance is basically worthless if you have to wait that long.. x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *