There is a regular segment in the Irish Times Pricewatch column each Monday that this week is likely to fall foul of misleading descriptions regulations in the 2007 Consumer Protection Act. The Consumer Protection Act prohibits a consumer from being misled in relation to “the main characteristics of a product” (e.g. a newspaper article).
Under the headline “Your consumer queries answered”, with the tagline “Conor Pope answers reader’s queries”, an unfortunate reader went to extensive lengths to describe an issue she had with iPhone insurance.
The particular article concerned, Insurance upgrade did not come with iPhone upgrade, ends:
“She would like to know who is at fault here. “Am I stupid to think Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse should have updated the files at the time of the upgrade?”
And that’s it. The article ends. Journalist gets copy, but reader’s query not answered.
Or maybe, since the answer to the readers query is “yes, you are stupid”, Mr. Pope decided to spare their blushes. The situation the reader found themselves in was as follows:
- Bought iPhone in June 2010 from Carphone Warehouse on a Vodafone contract
- Insured iPhone for €13.75 per month via Carphone Warehouse with Lifeline, New Technology Insurance.
- Upgraded iPhone with Vodafone in November 2011
- February 2013, child drops iPhone and breaks screen
- Reader tries to claim on insurance, but can’t because new phone wasn’t insured
Which led to the readers query again – “Am I stupid to think Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse should have updated the files at the time of the upgrade?”
And the answer, yes, you are stupid to think that.
Basic rules of Insurance
You insured phone A with Lifeline in June 2010 for €13.75 per month (now that’s stupid right there before going any further).
You bought phone B in November 2011, and you didn’t ask for it to be insured. You assumed it was covered, but we all know what assuming does.
When you trade in your Ford Mondeo for a Volkswagen Passat, you don’t assume that the insurance passes from the old car to the new car automatically – you have to ring your insurance provider and have cover switched.
Just because mobile phone insurance is cheap, stupid and a waste of money doesn’t mean that the same basic rules of insurance don’t apply.
It gets worse?
We’re not told, but based on the readers own assumptions, they have been paying insurance on phone A at a rate of €13.75 per month since November 2011. A phone that’s most likely being used as a paperweight, or has already been chucked in the bin.
That’s 16 months of pointless premiums. Or €220 wasted.
Or look at it another way. It’s quite likely to be more than the cost of an upgrade of a broken iPhone to a brand new one on Vodafone.
It’s just a pity that Mr. Pope didn’t highlight the mistakes that this particular reader made so as to enlighten others who may be in the same situation.