~ 8. April 2013 ~
I’m guessing you can count this as a review. A review on how a company treats its customers from the perspective of someone who’s had enough encounters in that field.
I’ll start from the beginning.
When I bought my first vehicle I may have been put under my parent’s insurance. I honestly can’t remember. Perhaps they didn’t want to dump too much on me at once (car payment, new things to learn..). But after my first wreck I remember who I had. It was an account of my own with a small, “no-name” company. Seriously, I can’t remember the name and have no documents saved from that far back. I could swear it had the word “Mills” somewhere in the name but a quick Google search turns up nothing. I gentleman who went to our church at the time was an agent with an office nearby.
I had Progressive for some time after that, possibly 8 years. I also had a few wrecks in that time. One wasn’t my fault and a couple others were. Progressive never jacked my rates much because of that. In fact, they fought in court after one of the incidents to get money for me. I didn’t know at the time a company would do that for their customers.
But eventually I got married. My wife at the time had State Farm and convinced me to move over to the dark side and join her account. I now look back on this as a dark day. Her (now ‘my’) agent has an office on the east side of town. I live in Louisville’s west end, and ‘across town’ isn’t exactly a short drive. Even after my divorce I asked myself why I had an agent across town on Dutchmans Parkway when there’s one less that two miles from me. But that’s my fault for not changing it.
My agent (who will remain unnamed) was usually there when I needed to talk to her. I’ll give her that, and if she wasn’t there she had multiple other employees in that office who have helped me. I’ve never had a problem adding or removing a vehicle from my policy, but until this year those were the only things I had to do regarding my policy.
On occasion my agent would contact me and hint towards a meeting in the future. Her reasoning was to look into ‘lowering my rates’ and possibly investing in other life insurance ‘opportunities’. Throughout the past few years we’ve met with her a couple times and my wife got a life insurance policy. Never once has my rates been lowered. We continue to get these calls from time to time. Well, my wife more than me.
I can’t blame an insurance agent from trying to sell more. I mean, that’s their job. But I over time the promise and non-fulfillment of lower rates begin to wear the skin a little thin. That’s a minor annoyance but yet it builds a foundation for grievances in the future. A better salesman would call their customers, talk to them for a bit, and then discuss your offerings while asking if there’s anything they’d be interested in. Continually offering something history has proven you can’t (or won’t) provide is bad for business.
Let’s forward on to this year. My wife was recently in a wreck. It wasn’t her fault and there wasn’t much needed to prove that. Two other vehicles were involved, not counting the ‘at fault’ driver. The problem was that she was having trouble contacting the other insurance company and even setting up an appraisal of our vehicle. Our agent was no help whatsoever. Every time my wife called her she insisted that my wife continue to make the calls and try to track down this company. My State Farm agent refused to do ANYTHING. It took us a month to finally locate this company (who put the wrong info on the accident report) and get our van totaled out.
I promised my wife after that we’d look into moving elsewhere for our Insurance. I didn’t have a time table but figured that I could take my time looking.
Now fast forward again to this week. My insurance payment bounced. This was OUR fault, mostly mine. Yet again, I admit a mistake when I make it. The wife and I recently created a joint account for our bills and moved all our payments to it. State Farm slipped through the cracks. We both thought the other had contacted them. When I saw it had happened we contacted our agent immediately. My wife appeared in person, explained the mistake and gave them the new account for the next payment. I called soon after to verify a couple of things my wife had told me when she talked to another person that was there.
My biggest concern was whether or not they would try to run the payment again on the same account. I stated that we had the money, and I needed to know whether I should move it to the old account or not. The woman I talked to said to not do anything, once the payment came back to them they would contact me now that they knew what was happening. Then I could make the payment over the phone.
So last night the payment was ran again on the same account. Bouncing as well and costing me another $30.
I’ll let that soak in for a second. Re-read that previous paragraph and picture how angry you’d be in my shoes.
Now, I’m sure you’re thinking: “Now now. Call them up and talk to them. It’s a mistake and a reputable company would surely correct it.” Well, I’m sure a reputable company would.
I called and left a message on my agent’s machine asking about how we could correct this. I then called the actual State Farm 24 hour help extension and talked to a live person who appeared understand my position and was quite nice. Their responce was sending a message to my agent that this needed to be resolved asap.
When the first call came in it was from the gentleman my wife had talked to personally a couple of days before. He ‘looked into it’ and said it was my bank who had tried to run the payment again. I answered “Are you sure? That’s never happened before.” but he insisted. His answer was that I had to take it up with my bank.
I had planned to make a trip to the bank anyway today so I just made the inquiry personally. Imagine the surprise on the lady’s face when she heard what I had to tell her, but just to be sure she called her supervisor, talked for a bit, and told me that they don’t runs the checks, State Farm’s bank does.
I was starting to get a headache by this point.
As I was leaving the bank I called my agent again. Getting the machine I left a message, “My bank insists that your bank has done this. Please figure it out and call me back!”
I had already gotten back to work before I received an answer. My agent called me herself. She insisted on the whole story, which I gave her. She then said that she’d talk to her people there and get back with me.
I waited another hour before she finally called me back.
So here’s the jest of it. Their was a ‘misunderstanding’. Her people are trained to respond that their bank will make two tries before a payment is returned. I must have misunderstood.
I told her, “I put it as clear as day. I don’t possibly see how there was a misunderstanding. This is what your lady told me.”
Her response was, “You must have misunderstood.”
So let’s review this week’s fun, shall we:
1 - Our payment bounces. It’s our fault and we accept that.
2 - My wife appears in person and updates our account information. She’s told that the next month will post on the new account.
3 - I call shortly after to verify because the wife forgot to ask, “Will you attempt to charge again? We have the money in another account. Do I need to move it?” The answer I’m given is “No. Wait until we get the payment back and we’ll call you to make the payment using ‘check by phone’.”
4 - The payment attempts to go through again. I could have easily transferred money for it. Instead I did what I was told to do by them.
5 - The agent’s staff blames my bank.
6 - My bank blames the agent.
7 - The agent then proceeds to blame me. She claims that her staff is trained to tell me just the opposite of what they’d been telling me for days. Apparently I’ve been ‘misunderstanding’ every single thing they’ve said to me for the past 72 hours.
Although if her staff is so ‘trained’ and know exactly how their bank attempts to charge twice then why did they blame my bank first thing this morning?
I can accept that I may not understand some things at times, but I know when I’m being pushed aside. You don’t get the same answer from two people and witness the lack of knowledge they’re portraying firsthand and then openly accept that you must have ‘misunderstood’.
This is why I’m dumping State Farm on it’s flat ass. Incidents with this company have been building up to something bigger and I don’t want to be around when that ‘bigger incident’ occurs. If you disagree then please give me a reason in the comments below although I’d really rather prefer suggestions on a new insurance company and experiences that you’ve had with them.
We have time until our policy renews. I’m playing the safe card and saving as much money as we can but State Farm is done in the Foster household.
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