If you’re thinking about purchasing a caravan or motorhome in the coming year you may be considering taking a credit agreement to help you spread the cost of payments.  Or maybe you’re storing your vehicle over the cold winter months and rely on an insurance policy to keep you covered.

The good news is credit agreements and insurance policies are regulated in the UK -  but where can you turn if something goes wrong?

The Financial Ombudsman Service is the free service set up by law with the power to sort out problems with financial businesses – such as banks or insurance companies. Every year the ombudsman sees a range of complaints involving caravans – from problems with insurance claims to keeping on top of increasing credit payments.

If you have a money-related problem, you should be able to sort things out direct with your bank, insurance company or finance business. But if things don’t go smoothly and you’re still unhappy, the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help, on 0300 123 9 213 or www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

Top tips from the ombudsman on getting a financial problem sorted out

If you need to make a complaint about a financial product or service, here are a few tips to help get your complaint is taken seriously:

  1. What are you unhappy about? Be clear in your own mind what the problem is and how you would like it to be sorted.
  2. Try to stay calm. No matter how upset you might be, try to be calm and polite.  This can help you get your points across more clearly and effectively.
  3. Get in touch.  First, contact the business you think is responsible and explain what has gone wrong. Try to have any relevant information to hand, for example statements or policy documents.
  4. Write or phone? If you’re putting your complaint in writing keep a copy of your letter or email. If you prefer to call, make a note of the time and date of the call, the details of what was said and the name of the person you spoke to.
  5. Taking things further. The business will have a complaints procedure – if the person you are dealing with isn’t able to sort things out, say you want to take things further. And remember, if the business doesn’t get things sorted, the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help

Top tips for caravaners

  1. Check the minimum security requirements when you take out caravan insurance– and ask the broker to explain if you’re unsure if your existing arrangements meet the policy terms.
  2. If you’re taking out a finance agreement to buy a caravan, always take a good look at the terms and conditions and make sure you understand how much you will be paying over the period of the agreement. 
  3. If an insurance or finance contract is unclear, don’t sign up until the lender or broker has fully explained how the agreement works.
  4. If your caravan is damaged or stolen, remember to get a police report, evidence from the campsite owner and even visual evidence like photographs.
  5. And remember, if you’re looking to make a significant purchase don’t feel pressured to sign a contract there and then.

Contact the Financial Ombudsman Service on 0300 123 9 123 or www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.

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