A London man is now the proverbial poster child for unnecessary insurance policies. The Guardian reports that Englishman Peter Day has been paying a warranty on a washing machine he bought in 1990. But the last time he even saw the machine, Kurt Cobain was still alive.
For the past 20 years, a white goods warranty provider named Domestic & General has been deducting monthly premiums that, according to Day, were just small enough for him not to notice.
In addition to being a lesson about consumer diligence, the story serves as a reminder to periodically review your checking account for any outdated direct debits. All in all, Day estimated to the Guardian that he lost some £3,000 ($4,856) over the past 20 years to this useless pre-internet warranty—all on a machine that could have been replaced for about £350 ($566), and which was probably scrapped sometime before the Kosovo crisis.
"The flat I left had a shared area where the mail was dumped,” Day told the newspaper. “I imagine that each year D&G wrote to me to raise the price, but the letter probably lay untouched in the communal area. When I contacted the firm they had no record of a Peter Day living at my current address. Only when I mentioned the address that I left back in 1993 could they find me.”
“D&G had been renewing a policy every year for which I had no need,” he added.
Recently, however, the insurance company, D&G, refunded Day with £1,946—the sum of premiums paid since 1996, when Bob Dole was still a household name. While that’s still a net loss, the fact that Day hadn't noticed the debits for 20 years likely made that sudden influx of cash quite nice.
Perhaps more alarming is the fact that stories like this are actually quite common. Banks are also notorious perpetrators of hidden fees. Appliance warranties can certainly be valuable investments, but consumers should conduct due diligence before making any serious commitments. More importantly, buyers should frequently review the charges on their checking accounts to make sure they’re not paying for unused goods and services, lest they find monthly payments that originated in the Soviet era.
[Via: The Guardian]
[Money Image: Flickr user, epSos.de]