Protect Your Bubble Threatens to Sue Blogger Over Review

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As many of you know, I went through a maddening experience with mobile insurance company Protect Your Bubble last year when I had my iPhone stolen. In my sheer frustration, and because I promised Protect Your Bubble I would, I made my feelings known online. If you want, you can check out the two posts here:

Part One
Part Two

Now, I eventually got a resolution (after fighting tooth and nail) and as far as I was concerned the matter was over.

Protect your bubble claim
Except if you look at the comments on those posts (or my inbox, or the site’s incoming search strings) – you’ll see that scores of people are having the same problem as the company. My bad experience wasn’t an exception, it was the general rule.

As such, I decided to leave the posts on the site as a cautionary note to others considering taking out mobile phone insurance with them… and clearly, it worked. You can barely google anything to do with the company without seeing those two posts way up the top, right below their own website.

Naturally, this is costing them money on a daily basis.

Naturally, Protect Your Bubble ain’t too happy…

From: Martin Subject: Factually incorrect comments regarding Protect your bubble

Dear Zeke

While we appreciate that you experienced a poor level of service during your claim with us last year, and that you have the right to share that experience through posts on the web, we have now received communications from a customer quoting some of your comments that are factually incorrect.

As a result we are now asking you to remove your posts that mention Protect your bubble, to negate any further exposure of these comments on the internet.

As these comments could have a negative effect on our business, we have decided to request this action before taking any potential legal action.

Please could you confirm receipt of this email, and again when you have removed all posts mentioning Protect your bubble.

Regards,

Martin

Head of Customer Management

Protect your bubble


Oh dear! This is not good at all! I must rectify these ‘factually incorrect’ comments as quickly as possible, and hope Martin can help me identify them toute suite.

I respond. Politely, of course. Because I’m a lovely guy and really care about Protect Your Bubble’s well-being.

From: Zeke Subject: Factually incorrect comments regarding Protect your bubble

Dear Martin,

Thanks for writing in. I’m sure we can sort something out.

Firstly, I’d be interested in hearing which comments are ‘factually incorrect’ – as you’ll appreciate, I’m not responsible for the sentiments expressed by readers but I would be happy to address anything which you feel falls outside of free speech jurisdiction.

Best,

Zeke

Hopefully we’ll get this sorted out pretty quickly. I mean, Martin clearly knows how the law, free speech and the internet works. There’s no way he’ll embarrass himself with his next response, right?

Ack.

 From: Martin Subject: Factually incorrect comments regarding Protect your bubble

Zeke

Thanks for your swift response

Appreciate your comments.

 In terms of incorrect factual comments, or inferences – there are a number of specific instances:  

Protect your bubble are not being – and have never been – ****CENSORED, SEE RESPONSE BELOW****.

Protect your bubble are not a “mobile phone mafia” – or “Utter Scam Merchants”.

We do not quash bad reviews – and have never posted any fake positive reviews from customers.

Our call response handling isn’t as reported – “anwhere between 30 and 60 minutes – sometimes more – but never less.

The claims process you describe isn’t correct and is misleading.

Within your responses to posts from third parties – specifically :

“I’ve stopped being surprised at how much of a scam company Protect your bubble are”

“It seems that declining insurance claims for spurious and usually outrageous reasons seems to be Protect your bubble’s MO”

“They are bordering on being illegal”

Personal issues:

While we appreciate you posting contact details for customers to communicate directly with our customer management team – your thoughts about their abilities are unnecessary – and upsetting.  In particular the reference  to Ash as an incompetent muppet.

As per my previous email we request that you remove all references to Protect your bubble – as the whole tone of your blog is disparaging and doesn’t reflect the true nature and ethos of our business.

We acknowledge that while we strive to offer excellent customer service to all of our customers there will always be an element where

we do not achieve this.  We also know that all Insurance companies will have similar issues.

While you have the right to post your opinions, as your comments have now been quoted by other customers, this is having a negative effect

on our business which we can no longer tolerate.

Please acknowledge receipt – and confirm your acceptance to remove all posts that reference Protect your bubble.

As before we will consider legal action if this request is not complied with.

Regards

Martin

Head of Customer Management

Protect your bubble


Oh dear. It appears that Martin is out of his depth here. I don’t know if he’s doing this on his own steam – all emails from him come after 7pm, and it puzzles me why the Head of Customer Management is issuing demands like this rather than a PR or a legal team. But whatever. Time for a little schooling.

 From: Zeke Subject: Factually incorrect comments regarding Protect your bubble

Martin,

While I appreciate you taking the time to outline your opinions on my posts, the lines you have cited as examples of ‘factually incorrect’ statements are very clearly expressed opinions. Not only that, but they are opinions which are substantiated by a) people who commented on the posts, b) the scores of emails I’ve received from your disgruntled customers, and c) by the numerous similar bad reviews and articles posted around the web.

Out of interest, have you tried the same empty legal threats on all the other bloggers? What about the BBC, the Consumer Action Group and the people complaining on the forums of Money Saving Expert?

Heck, one of those guys started a thread naming PYB as the ‘Worst Insurance Provider in the UK’. Quick, get the legal team onto him for crimes against hyperbole!

But onto the matter at hand. When I said in my earlier email that I was keen to address your concerns, I meant it. As such, I have totally removed the reference to ***CENSORED**** as that was a factual statement which I could not substantiate without naming sources I’d rather not name.

The rest of your qualms, however, are so laughable I’m surprised you’re even trying this on. I’ll go through them one by one.

Protect your bubble are not a “mobile phone mafia” – or “Utter Scam Merchants”.

Expression of (fairly substantiated) opinion, shared by many others online.

We do not quash bad reviews”

The irony of this statement is absolutely staggering. Remind me what you plan to do if I don’t remove the negative review again?

and have never posted any fake positive reviews from customers”

You’re referring to my mention of the Trust Pilot page, right? The site that is notorious for false-positive reviews – they’ve been busted for it quite a few times now.

99% of the 8,000 reviews on that site are – amazingly! – no less than 5 star reviews, despite the bad press you get from all other quarters. All those suspect reviews are left by anonymous people who have only ever logged into the site to leave a review for PYB, and no other company? All using incredibly similar language?

I’ve changed the wording on the site to reflect that I cannot prove it with 100% certainty, but c’mon mate, I wasn’t born yesterday. I’ll leave it up to readers to decide how the review profile looks but they’re probably going to come to same conclusion.

Our call response handling isn’t as reported – “anwhere between 30 and 60 minutes – sometimes more – but never less.

Yes it is. Your call handling is awful, and I’m not the first person to observe that. Helen herself admitted to me it was bad. Would you like a copy of my phone bill? I’ve got physical proof, all you’ve got is “uh, erm, no you’re wrong.”

The claims process you describe isn’t correct and is misleading. 

I mean, seriously? Is that the best you’ve got? Because I only posted some of the emails between myself and your company to back up my description. If you’d like me to publish the entire and unabridged exchange as further proof of how shocking the claims process was, do let me know. I’ve also lost count of the amount of emails your disgruntled customers have sent me, many of which had an even worse time than I.

Trust me when I say you got off lightly with what I did write about you guys.

“I’ve stopped being surprised at how much of a scam company Protect your bubble are”

Expression of opinion.

“It seems that declining insurance claims for spurious and usually outrageous reasons seems to be Protect your bubble’s MO”

I’m getting the impression you haven’t really read your own bad press, have you?

While we appreciate you posting contact details for customers to communicate directly with our customer management team

No problem, I’m happy to help your customers get in touch. Someone’s got to.

your thoughts about their abilities are unnecessary – and upsetting.  In particular the reference  to Ash as an incompetent muppet.    

Have you any idea how much unnecessary distress and upset you caused myself (and countless other claimants)? I gave you guys more chances to sort it out than any rational man would. I even forewarned you – on two occasions – that I’d be writing negatively about you in a public domain if my claim was not sorted out. Never forget that you bring all this bad PR on yourself.

Regardless, I’ve taken your point on board and revised the reference to Ash being ‘an incompetent muppet’. It now reads ‘a totally incompetent muppet’.

As per my previous email we request that you remove all references to Protect your bubble – as the whole tone of your blog is disparaging and doesn’t reflect the true nature and ethos of our business.

What exactly is your argument here? That myself and others complaining online didn’t receive appalling customer service? Here comes the clue train, last stop you: If your ‘true nature’ and ‘ethos’ isn’t to do everything in your power to not settle claims, you don’t get angry blog posts online and we wouldn’t be having this exchange.

While you have the right to post your opinions

Correct.

 as your comments have now been quoted by other customers, this is having a negative effect on our business which we can no longer tolerate.

And in what way does any of that change the fact that I have the right to post my opinions? Do my words take on some kind of bizarre magical power if someone quotes them?

And yes, negative reviews do have the funny knack of having a negative effect on a business. Either stop attracting so many negative reviews or learn to ‘tolerate’ them better.

As before we will consider legal action if this request is not complied with.

Hmmm, okay. This is getting pretty serious. I’m no lawyer – what is the average sentence for hurting someone’s feelings? Am I looking at life here, or what?

Very best,

Zeke

Sadly, the story ends there. It’s been over two weeks and Martin hasn’t responded. Since they’ve deigned to further waste my time, any requests to remove this email exchange will be ignored unless they’re made by phone. Protect Your Bubble should note that there is currently a high call volume and it may take me three or more hours to answer their call.

What’s amusing is that I would have never written about their dodgy company if they’d sorted out my claim efficiently in the first place, but they seem utterly determined to keep up the bad PR moves and dig themselves further into a hole.

Feel free to share this story using the buttons at the bottom of this post if you’d like to lend them a shovel.

 

QUICK FAQ POSTSCRIPT [UPDATED 03/06]

Q: Why are you raging on Protect Your Bubble so hard?

A:  A few reasons. Firstly, because I told them I would if they kept messing me around. Secondly, they came back to poke me with a stick. Thirdly, because I care about my readers (and anyone else stopping by the site) and want to warn people of my experiences. I just don’t like it when companies rip off consumers, and people in this country don’t push back enough.

I don’t care about their ‘feelings’ or  Protect Your Bubble’s bottom line. They’re grown ups and should be able to deal with the consequences of their actions.

Q: Help! Can you help me settle my claim/complaint with PYB?

A: I’m afraid not – your dealings with them really have nothing to do with me. Everything I’ve had to say about them, including contact details, can be found here and here. Do check out the comments though as others continually post useful insight (and feel free to sound off in the comments yourself!)

Otherwise, if you get really stuck you might have to resort to the Financial Ombudsman Service to settle the dispute.

Q: Did you get your claim sorted in the end?

A: I did, but only after fighting tooth, nail and fist to get a replacement phone. But y’know, you get what you pay for. I’ve since gone with Gadget Cover and although they’re a bit more pricey than PYB, they’re not as steep as going through EE (in my case) and the low excess makes it way better than making claims on the home insurance. So far so good.

Q:  So what’s this site? Who are you?

A: I’m just a bloke, but you can message me or whatever here. The site is actually a charity gaming site, and has nothing to do with phone insurance! I actually don’t like posting personal stuff here, but it’s the only outlet I had when the story started. But hey, if any of this has helped or amused you, do feel free to chip in a dollar or two to our Child’s Play charity fundraiser. It’ll mean a hell of a lot and only takes a second!

Protect your bubble complaint

5 Comments

  1. I was considering PYB and found your site. I’ve decided to go with AppleCare in case I smash my screen and I will take my chances in case of a loss and make sure I put aside funds each month.

    Great job for expressing your opinion and for staying true to it. The muppet comment is absolutely hysterical and I just loved your entire answer.

    I had a horrendous experience with a pet microchip company. It got me so worked up that I created an entire site about it to warn people http://www.homeagainmicrochipscam.com so I fully understand where you are coming from.

    Keep it up!

  2. Thank you for your Blog and all the posts to it.
    I was considering taking out a policy with PYB after seeing their advert on TV.
    After reading the Blog and posts I will avoid PYB.

  3. Thanks alot Zeke. If I didnt see your blog I wouldn’t know what to do. Once again. I really appreciate it.

    • You’re very welcome. When I wrote the original post, it was purely as a rant and I didn’t expect to meet so many other disgruntled customers as a result (or for it to go this far with the company!) Sorry to hear you had a similar nightmare – hope you get it sorted soon.

  4. LOL! Martin the fool.

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