Well, the best deal they certainly did give me... at least, for a couple of days.
I duly insured my £700 car on a third party, fire and theft policy costing almost as much and sent in my proof of no claims bonus in the form of a letter from my previous insurance company stating that, during the five years I'd been insured with them I hadn't had so much as a scratch, let alone mown down thousands of innocent pensioners whilst swigging Jack Daniels straight from the bottle.
Apparently, that wasn't good enough for Direct Line who wrote back to me explaining that as a) my previous vehicle had been insured under a company policy, b) the letter didn't state that I was the sole person allowed to drive the vehicle, or c) the letter didn't state on what date I surrounded use of the vehicle their policy was to decline the letter as proof and whack another NINE HUNDRED POUNDS onto the cost of my insurance.
Now, call me a penny-pinching old git, but £1,600 pounds a year to drive a car that's only worth £700 seemed a little excessive. Similarly, when I called Direct Slime to question why they weren't prepared to accept the letter from my previous insurers as proof I hadn't had an accident, they went out of their way to be as unhelpful as humanly possible.
"It's our policeeeeeeee" whined the first person I spoke to. Her boss said the same. Bleating this innocuous little word did little to calm my mounting annoyance at having to call them in the first place and navigate a multiple choice session of "press any amount of fucking buttons, love, your call will be shot out into space to orbit as yet unnamed planets before we get around to actually letting you speak to a real person".
My piss, already fully boiled, evaporated to steam when, yesterday, I received a telephone call from a "customer service representative" (just about the least convincing job title in existence) asking me if I wanted to "progress my complaint".
"Progress my complaint"?, I intoned, as menacingly as I could muster, bearing in mind I'd spent almost half an hour on the 'phone to these cretins the day before practically losing the will to live and shouting "Admiral don't give me this kind of crap"! and hanging up with a triumphant flourish.
"Progress my complaint"? I repeated, incredulous at the sheer stupidity of the question. "I haven't even made a complaint. All I did was ask why you wouldn't accept that bloody letter as proof of my no claims bonus".
And, thus, here is the crux of the problem with most large organisations. They have no idea of two-way communication: if one is dissatisfied, one may only make a complaint. The idea of intelligent discourse in order to bring about a solution is so radical an idea that the computer-generated letter to handle the scenario hasn't even been invented yet.
Needless to say, I opted for the time-honoured consumer tradition of "taking my business elsewhere". Now all I have to do is set aside another three hours out of my day in order to insure my clapped-out little banger with another insurer possessing a whole new set of policeeeeeeee's.
And, as undoubtedly is their want, this new insurer will also require the very same letter pooh-poohed by Direct Slime which is now floating somewhere around their gargantuan inner workings. I can only marvel at just how slim a chance there is of ever seeing it again.