My usual visit to the post office box yesterday turned into an adventure. I had a letter from Land Transport NZ telling me that I was no longer the owner of my car.
So, I promptly re-registered myself as the owner, then went home to try and unravel the situation.
There’s a handy thing you can grab, called the Vehicle Information Report. Amongst other things, it shows you the names of previous / current owners of any vehicle. Other than my registration, all of an hour old, it showed that NZ’s biggest insurance company (well, the umbrella company who own a bunch of others – including the company I’m insured with) had acquired the ownership of my car.
Two days after I bought it.
What the fuck.
I called the police, to doublecheck there weren’t any reports of theft against my car. There weren’t – but there was a record of it having been nicked in June (with the previous owners) and then recovered two weeks later.
So, either someone Really Fucked Up at the insurance company, or someone’s trying to fiddle their insurance company.
Of course, this was after business hours, so all I got was a polite brushoff from a sweet young claims assistant, who explained it was probably a typo and not to worry. It was frankly not worth bitching about at that point, so I gave up for the night.
See, the typo theory just does not wash with me. That implies that it’s OK for insurance clerks to a) waste $10 of their employers money (an ownership transfer costs $10) and b) sort of steal someone else’s car.
The catchphrase for said insurance company is “Help just happens”. I really don’t think they’d prefer “We accidentally steal cars!” instead.
This morning, I have managed to get a different team on the phone. They have punted me up the chain to yet another team, who have Lots of System Access. They promised to call me back after investigating.
I don’t know if it helped or hindered that I have my own insurance with said company. I suppose it adds an element of “Let’s not piss off the person who pays the bills.”
Eventually, I received a telephone call to explain. The folks who owned it when it was stolen had it deregistered, and claimed it on the insurance. I can only imagine that when it was found, they didn’t get it back? I don’t know, that particular bit of the story (due to privacy laws) wasn’t shared with me.
Either way, the insurance company, working with the promptness one expects (ie, it took a month) transferred the ownership of the car to themselves using the engine’s chassis number. Which is a perfectly sensible thing to do, with a stolen car that may or may not have the same plates.
The situation is resolved, the car is legally allowed to be mine, and I am much relieved.