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Fair Go: August 24

Published: 6:08PM Wednesday August 24, 2011 Source: Fair Go

Trade Me Rouge

Reporter: Phil Vine

One and a half million listings every week, almost all genuine.

So, how do you know if you're dealing with a rough trader like the one Fair Go tracks down?

30 Second Challenge

Reporter: Ali Mau

In last week's show Jasmine from Hamilton was furious about a McDonald's promotion, the 30 second challenge - here's the latest.

Insurance burnout

Reporter: Gordon Harcourt

Two huge things happened in the lives of Dante and Kashan Passmore in early autumn last year - one was wonderful, one was not. Baby Leo (now seven months) was conceived, and the little investment property they own in the Otago town of Clinton burned to the ground.

It was arson, but Dante and Kashan were blameless. The investigators report describes them as "most forthright and co-operative ... nothing of an untoward nature was noted."

But their insurance - sold by Westpac, underwritten by Lumley - won't pay, for various reasons:

- Unoccupancy: no tenants for more than 60 days
- Change in circumstances: Kashan didn't notify it was unoccupied
- Care of insured property: Not maintained
- Reckless, wilful and deliberate acts: Locks weren't changed after a break-in

But we think there's some worrying stuff in the Westpac and Lumley response - allegedly missing documents, contradictory policy wording, and some petty, silly stuff with huge consequences.

Unoccupancy is the main problem. The house was empty for several months. The policy says if it's unoccupied for more than 60 consecutive days, there's no cover unless the owner notifies it's empty.

Westpac says Kashan didn't, Kashan says she did - on the phone and in writing, in paperwork "required" to be faxed and posted when she extended her mortgage. The paperwork can't be found.

The silly stuff is the maintenance and the locks. At one point, it seems Lumley is seriously arguing that not mowing the lawns is a reason not to pay the claim.

As for the locks, the investigator says the arsonist got in by "forced entry", so locks and keys are irrelevant!

Westpac and Lumley ignored questions about that in a statement they sent. They aren't budging, but I'm going to keep fighting for Kashan, Dante and baby Leo.

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