'CAR LOOKS LIKE SCRAP'

Some short-term insurance companies are allegedly conning their clients by telling panel beaters to use inferior parts when repairing vehicles.

Some short-term insurance companies are allegedly conning their clients by telling panel beaters to use inferior parts when repairing vehicles.

Albert Tsweleng, 47, of Elandsfontein in Gauteng, said he was forced to secure a R9500 bank loan after he had an accident even though he was insured with SA Underwriters.

Tsweleng's three-year-old Nissan has been repaired with Fong Kong parts and the car looks 10 years older than it actually is, he complained.

"I was also penalised for driving a sedan with a code 14 driver's licence. But when I bought the car and the dealership agent sent that information to SA Underwriters, they approved my cover," he said.

Tsweleng said that when he bought the car in February, the dealership agent told him that SA Underwriters was the best insurance company and he took the agent's advice to insure with the company.

An excess amount of R2000 in the event of a claim was quoted, but nothing was mentioned about his code 14 licence, Tsweleng said.

He said this problem only surfaced in June after he had the accident when SA Underwriters said that he should have had a code 8 or 10 licence to drive a sedan.

Tsweleng said that although the company authorised the claim, they kept trying to find loopholes.

The repairs took less than the 14 days estimated, but the panel beater demanded a storage fee of R260 for the extra days that they kept the car on their premises.

"They told me the car was ready four days earlier and demanded an excess of R9500," said Tsweleng.

When he went to collect his car, he discovered that the panel beaters had done a shoddy job.

"The bonnet didn't fit properly because it is smaller than the one that was damaged. There are gaps and you can look into the engine," said Tsweleng.

The panel beater told Tsweleng that the insurance company had instructed him to use Fong Kongs and that "I should sort it out with them", he said.

"The panel beater showed me the insurance company's quotation, which confirmed that they had used inferior parts to repair my car," Tsweleng said.

Sharlene Welcome of SA Underwriters is investigating why the company cannot refund Tsweleng his money or have his car properly repaired.

l Last week, SA Underwriters agreed to fix a repairable vehicle that they initially wanted to write off when a client kicked up a fuss.

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