Man, was I hot a few weeks ago! These people from Esurance, an Allstate company; had me hoppin’ mad! Most of my day was spent addressing this nonsense they tried to pull on me. I’m sure this trap was the brain child of Allstate. It was clear that this is their standard process; part of their normal policy, and used on every person ignorant enough to purchase products or services from either company. It all started in November, when I naively purchased an insurance policy from Esurance for my car.
My previous insurer, Direct had proven to be totally unreliable due to extremely poor service. At the time I was still dealing with them, I couldn’t even get them to send me documentation they needed me to sign; neither via email or snail mail. Their website is a malfunctioning monster that I was extreme tired of fighting with on every renewal. The rapidly, ever changing quote amounts, even within the span of 1 hour, had infuriated me and I could not download or sign documents in their site; so I had requested several times with their reps that they send the documents. I even stated that I refused to make any further payments until they addressed this, so they had issued a cancellation notice.
Since I had no faith that they were going to get the documents to me on time, which I had been requesting for almost two months; I started looking for another company. I had just had enough. At the time I got the quote from Esurance, there was only about one week left on my previous policy. So I had an active car insurance policy at the time I processed the quote per their questionnaire. All I needed to do was pay the down-payment. My check was coming in two days after the cancellation date, and since I wanted to be sure funds were available, I had set the initiation date of the policy to 4 days after the cancellation date.
I wasn’t worried about the small gap because other insurance companies had told me previously that a canceled policy is not reported for about 30 days. Many previous insurers had told me that as long as the gap did not exceed 30 days, there was no rate increase. So I wasn’t worried about 4 days. On the 4th day, I purchased the insurance with Esurance. Their rate was just a few dollars above my previous insurance payment, so I accepted it because it was very close to the last low rate I had. I don’t need anything, but the most basic required insurance, because my car is old…a ’94. I still thought the cost was high for just PIP and liability, but this was the lowest price range I could find outside of Direct’s price.
Having previously had problems with Progressive a few years ago, I don’t even look in their direction for service. After I paid the down payment, Esurance contacted me stating that they needed to talk to me. Upon calling I found out that they wanted info from the previous insurer, and brought up a gap between insurance from the policy prior to the previous one. We called Direct and they gave them the info. No gap.
I thought that was it, but then the Esurance rep tells me that just the 4 day gap between the last policy and the initiation of theirs was going to cause my rate to increase over $100! I explained the reason for those 4 days, but she rudely informed me that that’s what the company was going to do, regardless. I was pretty ticked off, especially at her rude attitude with me about it. I told her to inform her managers that I wouldn’t be with the company long, since this was their position. So this brings us to what happened what really set me off.
You see, I had specifically given this company my Paypal credit card because I had been told by Paypal’s reps that since they have direct access to my account, they can verify if funds are available or not, and their system doesn’t process a payment if the funds are not available in my bank account. Since I had decided not to continue with Esurance, I never put funds in my online account. It is not linked to my main account, so I felt pretty assured that Esurance could not process and collect any more payments from my account. Paypal was supposed to be my safety net.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my account and found that Paypal had indeed processed the charge. So first, I fired off an email to Paypal, because if they don’t verify fund availability prior to processing a charge, their reps should not be misrepresenting information like that. Of course you know, that left a negative in my bank account, and, I realized, subsequent fees would be pending.
So now you know why I was hot.
I called Esurance to cancel the policy, because I had already sent an email, but their site says you have to call them to cancel. That’s so they can attempt to manipulate you out of doing it. So I started off hot, but I went into ether….like sub-atomic levels of hotness after the runaround I got from the Esurance reps on the phone.
In the aggravation of going through their automated system, you get to a section where they say, if you have an account issue press 1. After that, you get three options. For cancellation, you press 2. Now, you’d think this would be where you get directed to a rep, but it isn’t. The automated system asks if you are cancelling and have already obtained another policy, press 1, but if you haven’t already gotten a policy, you press 2. This is where the manipulation begins, and thus the reason for this separation.
First you are left on hold for 15-20 minutes before an operator even picks up the line. This is every time, and even if you pressed 1 on that last question. If you are cancelling, they don’t care how long they leave you waiting. The rep finally came on the line. I stated very matter-of-factly that I was cancelling the policy. He asked for the policy info with all the coddling apologies for my wanting to cancel, then attempted to pry the reason out of me, but I was resolute. I told him I was not going into it with him, just cancel the policy. Then he asks me if I had another policy in place already. I stated that I had gotten my quote, and just had to pay and the policy would be activated.
So he said that what he could do is not to make the cancellation effective until midnight, that way, since I stated that I would be paying for the other policy that day, I would be covered until then. I agreed. Then he asked for my policy number, verified it, and upon seeing that I had not had the policy for more than 5 weeks, he began again to try to pry into the reason I was cancelling.
At that point I stated that I did not like the rate increase they did, and that I didn’t want to debate the issue; just cancel my policy. Here’s where his tune changed. He began to whine, like how someone might talk to a pet, pleading with it; stating that he had nothing to do with my issue with the billing dept. He was just trying his best to help me, so that I could keep my policy. I stated very firmly that I didn’t care what he said, I didn’t want the policy – to just cancel it! At that point, he stated that he couldn’t cancel my policy anyways, because of FL law that states that I cannot be uninsured!
He stated that I would have to supply him with a policy number from the new policy before he could cancel my insurance with Esurance. Five minutes ago, he was able to cancel it, but was allegedly doing me a favor, making the cancellation effective at midnight, but now suddenly, he can’t do it at all?!? And since when does an insurance company get to hold a customer hostage due to FL law? They refuse to cancel my policy??? I’ve never heard of such nonsense!
And let me tell you, if you want to cancel by allowing the policy to lapse, you can’t. They have their system set up so that you cannot change the charge card info in the website unless you put another card in there. You can’t erase the info, nor change it without replacing the info with another card’s info. So they are literally trying to hold people hostage. If I choose to cancel my policy, they don’t have the right to refuse to cancel it because FL law says I have to have insurance. If I don’t carry it, is the state of FL going to arrest the management of Esurance because they cancelled it when I had no other policy in place? No. I make my own decisions, and I would be held responsible. How dare they refuse to cancel it! So you know I was burning up by this time, right?
“Don’t worry!” I told the rep, “I’ll have that policy number for you in a few minutes!” Then I hung up on him while he was still yakking, attempting to manipulate me more. After I processed the payment on my new insurance, I called back. This time, I pressed 1 for cancelling with a policy in place already. I got a different rep with a different line of b.s. By this time, I had figured that I was going to cover my tush. I not only received a letter from my current car insurer to give to the former about cancelling, but I called Esurance to get a fax number so I could fax it to them. You would think that such a simple request like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!
The first rep that I asked for the fax number, immediately puts me on hold for 10 minutes, then tells me she needs my policy number! Just to get the fax number?!? But, you see, it was because I stated that I was sending them my notice of cancellation. Then of course, she wants the reason for the cancellation. I told her that she doesn’t need to know that; just give me the fax number. Now, suddenly, she has to transfer the call because she’s not in that dept. She disconnected the line. I was see’n red.
I immediately called back. The next rep again asks me for the policy number, but I’m not falling for it this time. “You don’t need my policy number to give me the fax number,” I said. “Oh, but I need to know what dept. to send you to,” was her excuse. “I’m faxing a cancellation. You will NOT change my mind! I need the fax number, not a bunch of runaround!” She puts me on hold for 10 minutes again, then finally comes back with the fax number. I faxed the cancellation notice, got the receipt, then called to verify it had been received.
At first, the rep stated they had received a notice that I emailed the previous day that they deemed as unacceptable as a reason to cancel. That notice contained my complaint about the fact that they had raised my rate. So in other words, what they were saying is that they can randomly raise the rate on their customers, and if their customers decide that they don’t like it and don’t want to pay that higher rate, they can just refuse to cancel the contract per the customer’s request, if they deem it is not a good enough reason.
So they use all this manipulation to try to keep your money, and when that fails and the customer is adamant about cancelling, they hold them hostage by refusing to accept the reason for the cancellation, and by locking you in via the credit card trap on their website. If you aren’t strong-willed and insistent, you would never escape their clutches! You’d have to cancel your credit card to avoid any further charges and initiate a cancellation! It’s ridiculous! How can the law even allow this sort of thing?
I told the rep that I had faxed another cancellation notice that was provided to me from my new insurer with December the 30th as the effective date. I mentioned this, because the next thing she would have told me is that the request would have to have their policy number, plus the new policy number from the new insurer on it before they would agree; as if they are looking out for my best interests, when they are really trying to hold me hostage. She tells me that the fax has not shown up in the system yet, and to call back and check later, but that even when it does show up, they can’t cancel my policy until 1/23/2015. This was their excuse so they could justify keeping the payment that they had just processed. I was thinking, “Uh-uh! That’s not happening!”
Meanwhile, I get a notice that they received the first cancellation request I sent on 12/28/2014. I go back to the website to see, per the notice, the cancellation fee, which the first rep had already told me was 10% of the remaining payments. I had paid a down-payment that was the equivalent of 2 months payment. Then they had increased the policy, and processed another payment; a process they started on the 9th, despite the due date being the 23. So they had 3 months of payments, with 3 months remaining, and I had only used 5 weeks.
So by my calculations, they owed me the payment they had just processed, plus whatever remained after the 10% of the final 3 payments had been subtracted from the 3 weeks of service I had not used for the second month. We’re talking about $250, but when I saw the notice of cancellation, they claimed that they only owed me $53 and some change! So if you believed I was hot before….
I immediately filed a charge against them with the financial officer of FL who oversees insurance. They weren’t keeping my money! There was no way I was going to sit quietly while they attempted this maneuver, which was like a bank robbery in broad daylight! So when I said that my day was taken up with addressing this, you see what I mean, right? I was at work at the time, fitting this in during open times on my schedule. By the time I got home that night, I was exhausted from the stress of it all.
However, my remaining thought, which I told my son from another mother (what I call my son’s best friend); was that this was another of those situations that God had allowed so that I could inform all of you about how scandalous these companies are. Despite the lack of understanding that some Christians have about the fact that I out companies like this online; I believe that God wants people to know. He’s all about people, and he doesn’t like extortion on any level. Somehow or another, He was going to work it all out for me, but I had to experience this, because people needed to be aware, and I needed to write about these traps of the enemy.
So today, I already see His hand moving. First of all, I sent my bank an email to let them know that I was disputing that charge Esurance had made through my Paypal account. I asked them to consider removing any fees that might result from the situation. They sent a response, which was to update and inform them of the outcome, and they would try to dismiss the fees. I then updated them, informing them that I had indeed cancelled the policy, and would send the cancellation letter if they requested it. I also received a notice from the financial officer of FL and updated them. You see, that last charge that Esurance had processed, never went through.
Because I didn’t have the funds available in the account, the bank had not paid it, and Paypal notified me that they would attempt to process it again in three days. I had already contacted them about my dispute, and, knowing I could not stop this auto process, this info was in the update to my bank. Since the charge was not successful, I had to update the financial officer about the difference in the balance owed to me. A day or two ago I received an email from Esurance, which I’m sure was in response to the complaint I filed; stating that they had refunded my $150 payment, but the reality is, they never actually had that payment in the first place. But the great thing was that it only took God less 24 hours to initiate the change.
In fact, He was already on it before I even ran into this snag with these deceptive companies. You see, the insurer I switched to gave me exactly what I had been seeking for quite some time. Straight insurance…no stacking. USAA is insurance available to military personnel and their families. I didn’t find out about this company until two days ago, but I’m so grateful I did. I’m talking about a difference in price like from $150 mthly to $50 mthly. As the adult child of a military father, I am eligible for this. And, there’s no stacking with this company.
They automatically gave me the minimal amount of insurance required, and the maximum discounts available according to my driving record, car type and the age of it. There was nothing about my credit, rental history, and all this other crap that these other insurers use as an excuse to jack your rate up. I was reminded yesterday about how a friend of mine’s mother always used to pray to God to make a way out of no way.
I did pray that, because when I thought about losing so much money, plus the likelihood of getting hit with bank fees, I was just dying inside. I don’t like to speak in the negative, so I don’t say times are hard; but they aren’t easy and who could afford such a loss? That’s why I’m so glad I’ve got God. He’s always got my back long before something hits me from the front. I don’t see how people live without Him.