September 13, 2013

Since the very dawn of humankind, a pitiful need to trust in someone or something has bedeviled our species. Not content with a mutable system of working hypotheses on how things are likely to turn out in broadly similar situations, we want to be able to ‘believe’ in things: the divine order that ineffably shapes this seeming chaos, the partner we vow to share our lives with, that friendly bloke who sells us a motor insurance policy.

The problem is: it’s hard to know who you can trust anymore. It turns out even your parents were lying to you. What was all that nonsense about Father Christmas and tooth fairies and everything turning out OK in the end? It certainly seems doubtful we can trust in those we’re invited to vote for. Specially not since that “pretty straight guy” Tony Blair spun us to hell in Iraq and Cameron straight-faced that “we’re all in this together”.

Maybe we’ve given up on the whole trust thing and simply want a good deal. It’s pretty obvious that meerkat’s lying through his tiny pointy teeth when he pretends he’s not trying to sell us insurance comparison but simply promoting a dating site for meerkats (FACT: there are only 209 meerkats in the UK. FACT: Compare the Market’s annual marketing budget is £21m. CONCLUSION: That’s over £100,000 per meerkat. EXTRA FACT: some of those meerkats aren’t even old enough to date.) But does that stop consumers beating a virtual path to the conniving rodent’s door? It does not.

It’s also clear enough that large numbers of us have no idea what a good deal looks like (HINT: It doesn’t look like a pay day loan at 1400% APR. SECOND HINT: It doesn’t end in the words CASH BACK).

So, reluctantly, halfheartedly, or however else we do it, most of us end up ‘trusting’ someone or something. The best kind of person to put your trust in, obviously, is an insurance broker. Unless of course, it turns out that they are not the regular trustworthy type of insurance broker, but something more sinister, something, for example, such as a ghost broker!

Anyone who doubts such beings walk among us, should take note of the chilling tale of one Danyal Bukharee, evil mastermind of a gang of ghostbrokers (but lately brought to book) who duped too-trusting punters into shelling out for motor insurance policies which combined the undoubted benefit of being 15% cheaper that anyone else’s with the minor drawback of being non-existent.

Mr B, of Putney, is reckoned to have made over £500,000 (or £5000 000 if you believe Post Mag who showed their usual generosity with zeros this week) from selling hundreds of policies mostly to naive first-time buyers desperate to reduce their staggeringly large premiums – and who typically only discovered their false economy when attempting to claim or when they had their motors impounded for having no insurance (ghost insurance doesn’t count).

The scam was accomplished with a certain ghostly swagger: calls resulting from the four ghost websites Bukharee operated were answered in a flat where office noise played from a iPod in the background (presumably to mask the sound of moaning, wailing, clanking of chains etc) by a handful of co-ghosts using aliases including that of David Wood (head of the notorious iFEDs crack police insurance fraud enforcement department). Seems the coppers had the last laugh this time though!

If you insist on reading a proper version of this story, the Mail has one here (to the extent the Mail does proper stories, obvs.) Or Insurance Age has a fact-packed version here.

ghost-speakers-ipod-iphone


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