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Beware the Natwest ‘Advantage Gold’ Account

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.***

75 comments

  1. 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

  2. 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.

    • @Caroline yep, I might get that one that insures your ipad and iphone, something like £6 a month? x

      • 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

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

        • 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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

    • @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

  5. 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

    • @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

  6. 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…

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

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