Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life

Article excerpt

Eighteen months into my car injury battle with The Slobs, I slump over my kitchen table and throw my head into my hands. Through bitter tears, I email the 'customer experience' people at Aviva the following cri de coeur:

'Right, that's it. It's official. I can't take any more. I can no longer fight this Kafkaesque bureaucracy.

'Nearly two years this has been going on and yet again I am about to be screwed for more money than I owe for my car insurance.

The phoneline is a ten minute wait and I'm being played mindless pop music . . . ' 'Sweet about me, nothing sweet about me.' That was the annoying tune they played.

This is despite the fact that I selected two for classical. The recorded voice said that because the wait was ten minutes 'we thought you might like to choose the music you listen to. We have put a selection together for you.

For some Motown soul, press one. . .' I really wasn't in a soulful mood.

'For classical pieces, press two. . .' Pieces.

Ugh. Whatever.

'If you like jazz and swing, press three. . .'

I bet I don't like Aviva's idea of jazz and swing.

'Or for pop and chart tunes just press four.'

This was clearly going to be the worst option, so in a state of ambivalence so severe it must have been close to how sociopaths feel when they split off from their emotions in order to commit crimes, I pressed two, expecting to be assaulted by an up tempo version of Pachelbel's 'Canon'.

'Sweet about me, nothing sweet about me.'

This was just the latest in a string of broken promises. The thing that had pushed me to the brink was a letter from an Aviva executive saying that as my case had been going on for so long, the underwriters had agreed to restore my no-claims bonus. This was a major breakthrough because the allegedly injured parties, childishly dubbed The Slobs by me, are playing a game of prevarication.

They are claiming all sorts of horrendous traumas caused when I made contact with their Ford Galaxy in November 2011 in what the legal people call a low velocity accident.

That's a prang in a traffic queue to you and me. The sort where you hop out, see there's no damage to either car and call out 'It's OK, I don't think I hit you'. …

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