Friday, 18 February 2011

Computer says "no"

Are we the only people in the world ever to try and remortgage one house on buy-to-let and buy another?  A quick browse through the offerings on daytime TV would suggest not, but our insurance company seems completely befuddled by our requests.  Go and get a coffee - or something stronger - you may need it.

So it starts like this.  Our solicitors acting for the remortgage tell us they need a copy of our buildings insurance with a statement saying that upon completion the new lenders will be listed as an interested party.  Sounds simple enough?  Sounds like the sort of thing that insurance companies would be familiar with?  You'd think so wouldn't you...

Step one was calling our insurance company to explain the situation and request the document.  First person I spoke to, after 10 mins of questions, tells me to take out a buy-to-let insurance policy and have the new lenders listed.  Job done.  She puts me through to their sales department who, after two questions, inform me that they can't proceed unless we have a tennant and agreement in place, which we don't.  So she transfers me back to someone else for me to start the explanation all over again.  Person two tells me they can't give me the document I want on our existing insurance policy as it's tied into our mortgage, so the only way forward is to cancel the existing policy and take out a new one with the new lender listed.  Fine.  She transfers me to their sales team who inform me that, despite having been insured with them for the past 4 1/2 years, I'll have to start the whole application again from scratch, which will take around 15 mins.  Not best pleased, but seeing no other way forward, I agree but explain very clearly why I'm doing it and what I need and double check that they can fax a copy of the document to the nearest branch for us to collect and send to the solicitors.  No problem I'm told...

20 minutes later the process is complete and I refer back to my initial question about the statement and faxing.  At this point I'm informed that although I'm only asking for the document to sent to a branch of the same organisation, they don't have the fax number so Steve has to phone the local branch on the other phone and get the fax number for me to pass on to the muppet on the end of the phone.  To say that my patience is wearing thin at this point is somewhat of an understatement.  So, fax number passed on I repeat the question about the statement requested by the new lenders.  "Oh, um, erm..." is the reply.  At this point Steve removes the phone from my posession, which is perhaps safest for everyone involved.

Reassured that the required document will be safely faxed to the local branch we head off.  Altough local it's still a 30 min drive and of course the document isn't there.  They kindly let us use their phone to chase things through and that's when I encounter Caroline - a woman who has clearly paid close attention to every customer care course she has ever attended and managed to restore some sanity to the whole debacle.  I calmly explained that although I was furious I wasn't going to yell at her as it wasn't her fault, but I had no intention whatsoever of hanging up the phone until this was sorted.  The lovley Caroline informed me that not only couldn't they fax the document to the branch but, once she'd unearthed it, she found it had been completed with all the wrong details and still didn't contain the statement we needed.  It truly is a testament to her patience and customer care skills that I didn't run amok in a Michael Douglas "Falling Down" style episode at that point.  Her patience knew no bounds.  She ensured the document was fully updated correctly and faxed, there and then, directly to our solicitors.  Now why couldn't have someone done that several hours earlier and saved me time, petrol and several points on my blood pressure reading?

Wiithin hours we'd had confirmation that the document had arrived and was fine.  Big relief. We also heard from our other solicitors acting on the purchase of the other property that despite one very minor hiccup, things are proceeding well there too.  So, all things being equal, we should maybe have a roof over our heads in a few week's time.  We'll see.

All of that probably explains why I'm sat in the bar with a large glass of red wine and counting down the seconds until I can order a huge pizza.  If Valium were available over the counter the takings from us in the campsite bar would drop dramatically.  The campsite is packed tonight as it's the start of half term, so at least we're down here early and have nabbed one of the best seats and plan on staying here for the duration.  See, every cloud has a silver lining and, as the weather forecast for the weekend isn't great, I shall be quite happy to spend tomorrow snuggled up on Delores sleeping off a hangover.  Here's hoping your weekend is less eventful but twice as much fun!