Reporting Paul Burton
FOXBORO (CBS) – Foxboro resident Charles Di Pompo is $8500 richer thanks to his relentless pursuit to right what he believed to be a wrong by his auto insurance company, Met P&C – an unjust surcharge.
And soon, thanks to his efforts, scores of other Massachusetts residents could be getting a check from their auto insurance company.
Under state law, drivers involved in an accident or those who receive a moving violation may get slapped with an auto insurance surcharge on their monthly bill.
However, if the Board of Appeals finds a customer is not at fault for the crash, the insurer is supposed to remove the offense and the surcharge from the driver’s record.
That board cleared Di Pompo of any fault after he was involved in a crash – a crash that cost him $700 in surcharges.
Di Pompo was overcharged for two-and-a-half years, before he took his fight to the Attorney General’s office.
“The consumer has to be aware of where they can get help in terms of the laws in the state,” Di Pompo said.
After an extensive investigation, the Attorney General’s office found at least four insurance agencies had failed to remove surcharges, and continued billing customers.
One of those customers was Di Pompo, who would eventually get his money back and then some. Because of other alleged violations by his insurance company, DiPompo received an additional $8000 settlement.
Since 2003, the Board of Appeal has overturned more than 40,000 surcharges. The Attorney General’s office believes a portion of those policyholders were overcharged.
“We think it affects thousands of consumers. We do anticipate that anyone who has been a victim of this will be able to get full restitution plus interest for that money,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said.
As part of the settlement with the Attorney General’s office, The Premier Insurance Company of Massachusetts (now Travelers), Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation, Pilgrim Insurance Company, and Massachusetts Homeland Insurance Company are now being audited as a result of Di Pompo’s complaint.
“Just one person with a small consumer problem; it could be $100 or $500; but given these difficult times, people could use that money more than the insurance companies,” DiPompo said.
One of the insurance companies being audited, Travelers Insurance said in a statement that It has fixed the glitch in its system and is cooperating with the state.
“We are working closely with the state of Massachusetts to resolve this issue and will refund affected customers,” Travelers said in a statement. “A fix has been implemented so on a going forward basis, current customers who have at fault accidents overturned are rated appropriately.”