We have had Barclays home buildings and contents insurance for 23 years, and made our first ever insurance claim on 28 April 2005 when my husband arrived home from work to find our grill had caught fire.

Since this time we have been treated appallingly.

My husband dealt with the fire himself. When it had gone out he found that all of the ground floor and most of upstairs was filled with black smoke.

We were unsure what would be covered by insurance so my husband telephoned Barclays to find out. Barclays took our details and said they would be in touch soon.

Over the next four weeks we received a sequence of visits from Chem-Dry, Mowlem Aqumen and Crawfords to inspect our house, but didn't hear from Barclays at all.

When I rang Barclays on 27 May to find out what would happen next, someone called Phillip Henwood said I should phone Crawfords to find out (as opposed to him doing it).

I did so, and spoke to someone called Paul Whitehouse, who was unhelpful and uninterested. He said he needed to see reports before he could do anything.

I telephoned Chem-Dry and Mowlem to chase them up, but both said they had already sent their reports to Crawfords. I rang Barclays to tell them about this, and they said they would get back to me.

When I went back to Crawfords, Mr Whitehouse he said he now had the reports, but could not tell me how long I would continue to be without an oven and how much a new one would cost. I asked him to send me a copy of his own report.

I chased Crawfords for this report the following week, to be told I had to pay a excess of £50 to receive it, which I did. The report itself was extremely badly written.

On 31 May and 2 June we received two visits from Chem-Dry cleaners, who did nothing other than wash one dirty wall, clean the oven door (which is going to be thrown out anyway), clean two cupboards and paint the kitchen (very shoddily) with a sealer.

When they left they said they would be back next week or someone from the company might phone me.

On Friday 3 June I rang Barclays again to ask what would happen next. Philip Henwood was in a meeting, and the person I spoke to told me that Kieran from Crawfords would ring me before I left work. This did not happen.

I phoned Barclays back to tell them and they suggested I rang Kieran myself! They then tried to put me through to him direct but the line went dead.

When I got home Kieran had left a message on my answerphone saying he would send a breakdown of the report and details of the work to be carried out.

Chem-Dry also telephoned me and I told them I was unhappy with the work done. They said they would send two more cleaners in the following week.

As of 9 June it was six weeks since our family of five had been without an oven. The whole experience has been a nightmare - I thought we paid insurances to avoid this.

Mr and Mrs M Garrity

Chipping Campden