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Small claims - who to take action against?

  • 01-02-2022 4:20pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 824 ✭✭✭


    Hi folks, appreciate any advice on the below.

    I booked a trip to a football match as a Christmas gift to my Dad, for us both to travel on 8th January. When booking the trip through Travel Agent X, I added insurance cover for some peace of mind as covid cases were starting to rise again. The text on Travel Agent X's website stated that "Your package will be protected against illness (including contracting Covid-19), being ordered by the government or doctor to self-isolate as a close contact and the inability to attend an event due to travel bans in your home country or region"

    Sure enough, 3 people we were in contact with over the holidays tested positive, we received our HSE text notifications and we both had to enter into 10-day isolation which covered the 8th January. Fine I thought, we can't go but at least I'll get my money back.

    I contacted Travel Agent X and was sent a link to Insurance Company Y, who the policy was with. I filled out the online forms, and uploaded screenshots from both our phones of the HSE texts. A couple of weeks later I received an email from Insurance Company Y asking me to provide proof of a positive PCR test. I replied that I don't have such a thing, as I didn't test positive myself, I was isolating as instructed. What's more, I couldn't actually get a PCR test as government guidelines had changed to not allow PCRs for 4-39 year olds. They told me I wasn't covered and closed the case. Sure enough, they linked me to their website and there is nothing about isolation being covered. Note that I bought the cover based on the wording on Travel Agent X's website before even knowing who the insurance was done through, so wouldn't have seen this.

    I sent an email that included both last Wednesday with the above wording from the travel agent's website, and in the 6 days since, received no reply.

    I emailed Travel Agent X again this morning. They replied saying they "can't get involved in this process" as the cover is through Insurance Company Y, I'd have to deal with their claims team. they said this wording was in place with the insurance crowd when I took out the cover. I have no proof if this was the case, or if it was changed on their website since. However, I was clearly mid-sold the insurance product through the website of Travel Agent X so I assume it's them who would be the subject of a small claims case when I submit a claim?

    (I have included screenshots above)

    Again, thanks for any input/help. It's very frustrating and it wouldn't be the first time I've had to go through small claims against chancer travel agents...



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,402 ✭✭✭Allinall


    Your argument is with the travel agent.

    Ask them to explain their terms and conditions in their contract with you.

    If you don't get anywhere, apply to the SCC naming them as the respondent.



  • Registered Users Posts: 824 ✭✭✭- bo -


    Thanks Allinall - I suppose I just posted it looking for someone to back up what I was thinking, and not be wasting time/money chasing the wrong party. Cheers.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,887 ✭✭✭✭Dempo1


    I agree Generally but all to often companies such as Network operators sell insurance on behalf of 3rd party insurance companies and when there is an issue customers fobbed off and told to deal with insurance companies.

    OP , insurance claims disputes notoriously difficult to litigate and whilst your focusing on small claims court it may require the services of a Barrister specialising in contract/insurance law and with that you first need a solicitor to instruct a Barrister, just an opinion will cost near €1,000 .

    Depending on your actual loss , you could just bring travel agent to the smalls claim court , it might motivate them to try and remedy the situation and if not, costs will be kept to a minimum at the small claims court, win or loose, but again, very difficult to litigate these types of cases.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.




  • Registered Users Posts: 824 ✭✭✭- bo -


    Thanks Dempo.

    Small claims is the furthest I'll take it. The amount for the claim is too low to do anything else.

    I've replied to them this morning and reiterated that I bought the policy based on the wording on their website. They are telling me that the insurance company covered isolation at the time of me buying the policy, but I have no proof of this and no proof if the insurance company's wording was changed int eh meantime. I've said I'll go ahead and submit the claim tomorrow morning if no attempt is made in the meantime to resolve it.

    ---------------------------

    Interestingly, I've noticed now that when you go to buy a match package on their website, they have changed the wording on the insurance terms to take out the isolation bit, which leads me to believe I'm 100% in the right with this:

    Your package will be protected against illness (including contracting Covid-19), being ordered by the government or doctor to self-isolate as a close contact and the inability to attend an event due to travel bans in your home country or region"

    has now become:

    Your package will be protected against illness (including contracting Covid-19) and the inability to attend an event due to travel bans in your home country or region.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,887 ✭✭✭✭Dempo1


    It's worth a punt at the SCC , mindful of the complexities around wording, contract law etc. Its possible (slim) but possible the threat of a claim may lead to a compromise. Good luck regardless 😏

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.




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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,046 ✭✭✭silver2020


    If you paid by debit or credit card simply do a chargeback as it was mis-sold by the travel agent.


    In any case it is the agent who is at fault.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,457 ✭✭✭MOH


    Might be worth checking the travel agent on archive.org to see if you can get a snapshot of the T+Cs as at the time



  • Registered Users Posts: 824 ✭✭✭- bo -


    Just to update - I submitted the claim and yesterday was day 14 of 15 that the travel agent had to respond.

    Received a call from the insurance company asking for my IBAN so they could transfer the refund. I have no idea why, it was the travel agent I took action against and the insurance company had closed off my case and I'd had no contact with them since.

    Shortly after that I received a call from the travel agent basically insinuating I was chancing my arm at getting double refunded. Maybe they thought I had taken action against, or contacted, both of them. I explained I didn't and told them it was done with. Then closed the case with the district court.

    Money back in the count and an alternative Christmas gift bought! Thanks again for all the replies.



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