From Bill ArmstrongSimon Burgess (Mortgage Strategy Letters June 19) has an imperfect overview of the accident, sickness and unemployment cover market. All he can do is rant on about the evils of single premium cover. There is a place in the market for SPASU and the fact he does not market it leads me to question how astute his firm is in catering for niche market requirements. To baldly state that advisers who sell SPASU “prey on the physically and mentally impaired and prey on clients’ vulnerability and ignorance” is a massive slur which will not go unchallenged in many quarters. If he ever had to cater for consolidation remortgaging of the severest kind he would know that vulnerable families are the first to cancel direct debits for monthly premium ASU, although they will maintain their Sky TV payments at all costs. That is the nature of the beast. To prove that we are meeting our objective of cleansing the credit records of such clients and hope- fully putting them back on the path of somewhat enforced financial discipline, we use SPASU to ensure that funds are there in the minority of cases where we know payments are early casualties in times of short-term financial hardship due to accident, illness or redundancy. I will stand up in front of any self- appointed adjudicator and defend such policies. I don’t do it for the commission – I would write such policies for 20% of the premium available. If Britishinsurance.com, which Burgess and his family seem to shamelessly advertise weekly in your letters pages, offered such a policy based on 2.75 per 100 benefit he would find a ready market. He doubtless finds it easierto swell his bulging coffers by using 0870 contact numbers for his company, in which case maybe it is only physically and mentally impaired brokers who use his services. Whatever happened to treating brokers fairly? Bill Armstrong Kendal Streete Brokers By emailFrom Darren King I’m writing this letter to let off steam. It may be slightly off-topic when it comes to mortgages but I feel it is is relevant to the industry as a whole with regard to internet marketing companies and in particular Iomart, whose other names include Rapidrank and Ufindus. I apologise in advance to anyone who uses these companies and finds them to be good but I want to highlight the recent poor service we have received. Some time ago we were contacted by phone by Iomart, saying that for a nominal fee it could build us a website and market this to be the top one on Google. It seemed like a tall order but we paid our fee and started a monthly direct debit. At first the service was as offered. A website was built and the hosting organised, but after a while I realised that no marketing was going on and the website could not be found. I contacted the company which advised me that I should use its software to alter our site and make it more appealing to weblists by adding keywords. On using the software it seemed incompatible and after several calls and letters I gave up hope for the website and begged the company to cancel its agreement with us. After realising its poor service, it did this. This was all fine until a few weeks later when a company called Ufindus rang to offer a similar service, stating that it would be much better than our previous service. I agreed to receive an information pack without knowing that it was in fact part of the same company. By agreeing to this over the phone I found that we were now once again tied into a 12-month agreement. On receipt of the paperwork, which I then realised was from the same firm, I immediately faxed, called and wrote to cancel the agreement. A few months later I spoke to a member of staff in the credit control department who agreed to cancel the contract. Then, 12 months later I was called out of the blue to say we owed the company 500 as the contract was never cancelled and more importantly, despite our requests, the old and highly non-compliant website was still up on the internet. This was despite our requests to take it down as we now have our own inhouse IT and web team. Following threats of debt recovery companies and denials from Iomart that the credit control department cancelled the agreement, I had no choice but to pay the outstanding bill. My recommendation to any other broker or firm considering using these companies is to be careful. They may offer the world but in a marketplace which demands strict control of web marketing, it would be much better to try to find someone local who you know and trust to build and run your website. It may be more costly at the outset but it certainly makes more sense. Darren King Director K&B Mortgage Solutions By email
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