Beware the Natwest ‘Advantage Gold’ Account

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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.***

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