Here in the blogosphere among my fellow bloggers I’ve come to know is Bud, a transplanted New Englander from SoCal as he often refers to it. (That’s southern California for those of you east of the Rockies.) Bud’s blog Older Eyes always keeps me coming back for more of his perspective from… well, his Older Eyes.
Bud’s livin’ the dream. Married for more than 40 years and now a retired Electrical Engineer he’s living off the fat of the southland and seeming to enjoy life at it’s fullest. That’s not to say life’s road has always been easy for him and not without a few pot holes along the way… but, it’s been a charmed life nevertheless. At least from my point of view.
Recently Bud wrote a blog about one of those (hopefully) rare challenges we’ve all had to face. The experience he writes about is not unlike some I’ve had myself nor — no doubt — like a few of your own. It’s one of those I’m as mad as hell moments and because I love Bud’s style I thought I’d share it with you. Maybe you can relate?
What follows below are Bud’s words … Once you’ve read them feel free to get up and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Or… just leave a comment. Thanks as always for stopping by. And remember, Caveat emptor!
A little over ten years ago, when we bought our house in Anaheim Hills, I bought a ten-year term insurance policy with Transamerica Life Insurance for the amount of our loan. It was very inexpensive and the plan was to keep the policy in effect until the term expired. The term expired in April of this year and I thought nothing of it … until a week ago. In looking at a rarely used credit union account, I noticed a deduction of ten times the original premium paid to the insurance company. … and when I looked further, I found this had been being deducted monthly since April. I knew immediately what had happened … they’d continued the policy at the rates for a sixty-seven year old man. But I’d never authorized them to do so. I immediately contacted my credit union and asked why they’d pay such an increase without contacting me … they told me to deal with the insurance company even though I’d purchased the policy through them. Hmmm. I contacted the insurance company and told them they’d done this without my authorization and that I thought they should refund my premiums since April. Yesterday, I got a long obsequious letter filled with phrases like We welcome this opportunity to be of service to you and We appreciate your business. The letter told me how to cancel the policy and informed me that they’d sent me two courtesy letters (courtesy letters?) telling me that the premiums would increase, so they could not refund my money. Is it possible I missed the letters? You betcha. But it sure seems to me that a ten fold increase should require written authorization.
Are we eating peanut butter and jelly for dinner because of the lost funds? No, we’re lucky, but I’m sure I’m not the first retiree to have this happen and I’m sure there are others who could not afford the expense. I’m pretty sure that the Transamerica Life Insurance Company has done nothing illegal, although I intend to look into it. Maybe there’s nothing I can do. But hold on … I can vent. Hold on … I’m a writer. I can write a hell of a complaint letter to their so-called customer service department. And I can get one Postaday2011 out of that letter:
Dear. Ms. ______,
I received the letter dated October 20, 2011 regarding my Trannsamerica term life policy and the increased premiums that I did not authorize. I have already mailed the surrender form as you suggested and it does not surprise me at all that you will not repay the premiums – the fact that you would increase them tenfold without authorization pretty much said everything about your company’s view of customer service, so-called courtesy letter not withstanding. Whether the letters were actually sent, lost in the mail, or missed by me is irrelevant – I am out $____ that was not intended for life insurance. I suspect everything you did is legal. While Transamerica seems to talk about customer service, companies that actually have customer service don’t fall back on legalisms when they betray the trust of a customer. That’s what makes it such a joke that your letter includes phrases like, “We welcome this opportunity to be of service to you” and “We appreciate your business.”
I’m old enough that I’m unlikely to be buying more term insurance but I certainly would not be doing business with Transamerica. I will certainly let everyone I know, both in person and online, how helpful you’ve been (that would be sarcasm) and I will be filing complaints with whatever agencies I can find that will listen. It may do no good at all and you probably don’t care but it will make me feel better. It has certainly not been a pleasure doing business with you.
Disgruntled Former Customer
I don’t know about you, but I feel better. I hope you’re not doing business with these clowns.