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Dear Mr Jabulane Sibiyi / Lion of Africa Insurance
We have received your letter dated 21 July 2008 requesting payment of damages to your insured’s vehicle to the value of R15 269,11.
I am writing this letter on behalf of my wife as she was extremely traumatized by the letter you sent her using intimidation tactics to extract payment from her. Let me now take the opportunity to put my case forward. And please do not underestimate my intelligence. We have been in consultation with our lawyer, and failing the withdrawal of this case against my wife we would have no other option but to take this matter further.
A few fatal errors were made on your part. Allow me to point them out.
1 You mention in the letter that you “were instructed that the sole cause of the said collision was due to you negligent driving in that you: (a) Failed to keep a proper look out, (b) Did not take necessary care and caution and (3) Failed to apply brakes timeously or at all and rear ended our insured’s vehicle”. I am somewhat in the dark with this statement. Please specify who decided that the cause of the accident in question was due to my wife’s negligence? As far as I am concerned, no assessor came out to our property to inspect my vehicle for damages, no-one interviewed my wife as to what happened to cause the accident and now your company is jumping to conclusions and resorting to intimidation tactics to get us to pay for damages. It is not just highly unprofessional, but also very illegal.
2 You mention in the said letter to my wife that you “are instructed to claim the sum of
R15 269.11 as evidenced by the quotation, assessor’s report and tax invoice annexed hereto”. The letter arrived on its own with no attachments, addendums, proof of reparation amounts, etc.
3 You gave us, according to the letter, 10 (ten) working days to come forth and settle the amount mentioned, or a summons will be issued without further notice to us. The letter was written on 21 July 2008. According to the envelope (which we have saved as evidence) it was only posted on 25 July 2008. It effectively gave the post office only 5 working days to get the letter to us. As you can imagine it is a pretty daunting task to expect a letter to be received within 5 days, seek consultation, and then reply to it. Therefore I have to assume that it was done on purpose in order to ensure that the time given for a reply will elapse before we could respond and thereby give you the green light to have my wife summonsed. The letter was also not sent via registered mail, which in itself is a serious blotch against your company should this matter be taken to court.
4 I, Gert James, the husband of Anastacia James, received a phone call early in January 2008 whereby I was asked to settle an amount of R8 000.00 for the repairs of your client’s Toyota Tazz. I gave your lady, who phoned me, my fax number and asked her to send through the assessor’s report, the quotation and also all other relevant details pertaining to the case in order to peruse it, seek consultation and possibly even settle the balance owed. I received nothing. After months of silence we receive this letter and now the repairs has escalated to an amount in excess of R15 000.00 and still no reports, quotations, invoices or any other relevant documentation is attached to it. What games are you playing? Or do you think any person out there is gullible enough to fall for cheap tricks such as this?
5 We have been given a “First and Final Letter of Demand Pursuant to Issuing of Summons”. Again, intimidating my wife. There is, in the law fraternity, no such thing as a first and final letter of demand. See point 4 please. We have received absolutely no correspondence from your company regarding this incident since December 2007. I received one phone call and the only request to have documentation sent on to us was completely ignored.
I have been driving with my car in exactly the same state it was in after the accident since December 2007. I made a few running repairs to make my car so that it can look more presentable, but in essence the same structural damage is still evident. I have also seen the damage to your client’s vehicle and under no circumstances, after having spoken to two panel beaters and showing them the damage to my car and describing the damage to your client’s, should the bill for repairs even have exceeded R8 000.00, let alone R15 000.00 as per this letter.
The following is now my requests which I expect to be adhered to within the next 10 (ten) working days:
1 I want a copy of the recorded telephone conversation between myself and your administrative staff member made available to my lawyer in which the damages was disclosed to be in the region of less than R9 000.00. All insurance companies are prescribed by law to have all phone calls recorded for security purposes. In the same vain your staff should have read the terms and conditions to me over the phone, explaining the ins and outs regarding the phone call. As such, there should be a record on your file of the date and time such a phone call was made to me. Failing to adhere to the above will force me to report a case of extortion to my nearest SAPS branch in Brackenfell for further investigation.
2 I need the name of the person that “decided” that the accident was my wife’s fault, regardless of the fact that she rear ended your insured’s vehicle. Without going into detail, understandably, there could have been various factors contributing to the accident, which does not automatically make the accident my wife’s fault. Facts, I am sure, your client would not have divulged nor facts you would have wanted to hear or take into account. I need records of dates and times of all correspondence or phone calls that were made to us regarding this incident. This will assist us in compiling a timeline and establishing whether this decision was purely an executive decision made by your company in order to extort funds from us.
3 We need proof of all correspondence sent to us via post including, but not limited to, the tracking numbers of the registered mail sent to us.
4 We will need a copy of the driver’s license of the person involved in the accident with my wife in order to establish if the driver had a valid South African driver’s license. We know that the driver was not South African.
5 I will, regardless of the outcome of this correspondence, contact the Insurance Ombudsman to register a case with them. You will need to supply all evidence of correspondence sent, recorded phone calls, procedures followed, etc to them.
Failing all of the above I will be forced to contact various consumer watchdogs and make them alert to what has occurred here. I have already lodged a request with Carte Blanche to investigate this matter.
We, my wife and I, are married out of community of property (ANC) and she is unemployed at the moment. We have proof of all of the above. Even should you go ahead and summons her you would not be able to receive any amount in settlement from her as she is unable to afford anything. At the same time you will forfeit all rights granted to you by this letter and we will be seeking legal council to take this matter further.
I have been onto a website where your company have had almost no good reviews posted. All of the cases presented on there screams of incompetence and unprofessional behavior and all proclaim of a serious inefficiency in your company to handle these kinds of matters with grace, tact and focus and within a specific timeframe, only to have a proper reply by a company representative posted the day after.
All we needed after the traumatic experience my wife suffered, being 7 months pregnant at the time, was for your company to be courteous, professional and understanding. I am sad to say that the happenings of late do not bode well for your company.
If by 14 August 2008 this entire is not withdrawn permanently and completely, or the requested documentation have not been made available for our perusal, we will seek legal council once again at which point correspondence between your company and ourselves will cease as primary communication.
I sincerely hope that you find this letter void of ambiguity and I trust that a speedy response will be forthcoming.
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