A tale of two insurance companies: Aviva v Paymentshield

The best way to work out the character of a company (as opposed to the personality that is portrayed in the marketing and selling phases) is how the company treats you when you decide to stop doing business with that company.  The company either treats you with respect and makes the encounter easy for you or it does the very opposite: makes it hard for you to cancel so that you either do not cancel or that it takes longer to cancel and thus gives the company time to get more money from you.

In the last month I decided to cancel an insurance policy with Aviva and another one with Paymentshield.

All it took for me to cancel my policy with Aviva was a telephone call to Customer Services.  The call was picked up in less than 30s and a friendly voice greeted me on the other line.  Once the security checking was done, I simply asked for my policy to be cancelled there and then.  The young man asked me if I was sure that I did want to cancel the policy.  Once I said “Yes” he cancelled the policy there and then – in less than a minute.  After cancelling the policy he told me “You will receive a letter confirming the cancellation within the next 7 days”. I thanked him and the whole interaction was completed in less than four minutes.  At the end of the call I felt good: good about the encounter, good about the young man who had helped me and good about Aviva.

My experience with Paymentshield is still ongoing and has been painful.  I dialled the number for Customer Services and then picked the option for cancelling policies and then proceeded to wait for someone to pick up the phone.  After 6 minutes a woman picked up the phone and went on to the do security check.  When that was over she asked me why I was cancelling the policy.  I stayed calm even though a part of me was fuming as I just wanted her to cancel the policy – like Aviva did.  Staying calm I explained the reasons and she seem to be satisfied.  So I asked her to cancel the policy.  The response: sorry, I cannot do that for you as the system is down, please call back another day!

So, I had waited for 6 minutes to get through to an agent and spent another 3 minutes or so on security check and explaining my reasons for cancelling only to be told that I had to ring back another day.  Sensing that this was a deliberate ploy to reduce cancellations, I hit the website and emailed Paymentshield, here is my email:

“Dear Sirs

RE:  Master Policy No……

I rang today to cancel the policy.  After waiting for six minutes I got through an agent and asked for my policy to be cancelled.  She was more interested in finding out why I was cancelling my policy than actually cancelling my policy.  This agent told me that someone would ring me later today to cancel the policy.  Her reasoning: the system is done right now and I cannot do the cancellation.

Frankly, I do not believe a word of what she told me.  So I am writing to you, officially, to request that you cancel my policy today.  Please ensure that you stop direct debiting my account forthwith – immediately.  I also request that you cancel / delete any and all information that you hold on my bank accounts.


The website promised that emails would be responed to within 2 days.  My response took 3 days and here it is:

“Subject: Paymentshield Enquiry

Thank you for contacting Paymentshield Mr Iqbal.

We acknowledge receipt of your cancellation request.

We can confirm your policy has been cancelled with immediate effect, however please be advised that it can take up to 10 days to stop your Direct Debit. To ensure that no payment is made during this time, please also cancel the Direct Debit at your bank or building society.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to call our Customer Services Team on 0845 6011 050. Our lines are open between the hours of 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm Saturday.

Julia Farrell

 E-mail Administration Team
Paymentshield Limited”

The only problem was that my bank account had already been debited – on that very day.  So I sent another email, here it is:

“Dear Ms Farrell

I have just logged into my bank account and noticed that PaymentShield have debited my account on 21st October (today) by £70.48.


Given that I asked PaymentShield to terminate by policy on the 18th I request that you refund me the sum of £70.48. Please let me know if you will be sending me a cheque or refunding the money through electronic banking.

Kind regards

Maz Iqbal”

And four days later (25th October) I got this reply:

“Subject: Paymentshield Enquiry

Thank you for contacting Paymentshield Mr Iqbal.

We acknowledge receipt of your email regarding a refund of premiums paid and can confirm that your query has been forwarded to our Premium Collection team to be dealt with.  If you wish to query this matter further please email premiums@paymentshield.co.uk

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to call our Customer Services Team on 0845 6011 050. Our lines are open between the hours of 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm Saturday.

Julia Farrell”

So here I am writing this post on Sunday 14th November – 28 days later.  As yet I have not received a refund of the premium that was taken and so will have to chase up Paymentshield or take the matter up with my bank.  Now what are the chances that I will ever do business with this company again?  Nil.  What are the chances that I will do my very best to make sure that people whom I can influence never do business with this company? 100%

Now the interesting thing is that I dialled the number for sales and interestingly enough I got through to someone within 60 seconds!

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant. Passionate about enabling customer-centricity by calling forth the best from those that work in the organisation and the intelligent application of digital technologies. Subject matter expert with regards to customer strategy, customer insight, customer experience (CX), customer relationship management (CRM), and relationship marketing. Working at the intersection of the Customer, the Enterprise (marketing, sales, service), and Technology.

4 thoughts on “A tale of two insurance companies: Aviva v Paymentshield”

  1. I am trying to cancel my policy with payment sheild, will I have the same problem as you?
    It turns out that there is no contents cover on my policy and all this time, I thought I did!


    1. Hello Martin
      Thanks for dropping by and creating a conversation. For my part it will be interesting to learn about your experience – will you have experience what I experienced or have PaymentShield learned from my blogging? If you are up for it then I invite you to return and share your experience.

      All the best


  2. had same problem when i tryed to cancel policy with payment shield, girl had me fuming repeatedly saying i cant understand why you would do this, it doesnt make sense why! for a full 5 min while im raising my voice saying are you going to cancel it yes or no , avoid payment shield i was almost shakin after that phone call.


  3. Paymentshield now write to customers to scare them. I cancelled and they told me not done the right way. I use a company that compares the market for me every year and always gets me the best price. They won’t use Paymentshield they said there are better deals. The hassle to cancel was a joke. I am happy I am insured elsewhere.


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