Don’t Settle For Poor Service

I’ve been a pushover for most of my life. There, I said it, now let’s move on. I have spent the majority of my life receiving sandwiches with mayo and onions when I said to leave them off, ice in my drinks after requesting the absence of ice, and a myriad of other service-related oversights and outright slaps. The problem was that I still paid and either didn’t enjoy my product or didn’t eat all, if any, of it.

That has changed, and it wonderfully started changing when I met my wife. I say “started” because it wasn’t too long ago that I still fell into old habits more than a man nearing 30 should. I started taking my food back to the counter or back to the kitchen. I discovered that returning an item at the store does not cause a rift in the universe. Did you know that you can return a toaster after 2 years? Inside family story, but true, nonetheless.

Then along came our house-buying time. I was a pushover in accepting our first agent. It was a disastrous 20-30 houses, me doing the looking, and all sorts of things, that made it hard to get a place as property virgins. I finally fired her, got a new agent, and we bought a house the next day. Things happen when you move like that, you’ll see more as I go on. During signing for the sales contract, the lender made a mistake that was going to add $4,000 to our closing costs over what we were shown an hour earlier. I simply told him, “I liked that other number, so how about you get that number back to the table because I don’t want to pay for your mistake.” About 5 minutes later, we were signing a contract with an extra four grand in our pockets… because I put my foot down on that service we were receiving.

I’d finally had enough with paying Verizon so much for our FiOS services, especially since we were already having to pay for basic cable and Internet with our HOA and not getting a thing for that out of Verizon. We were told when we bought our house that Brighthouse wasn’t available, but after seeing a dozen or so service vans in the neighborhood somebody was getting Brighthouse, so I wanted it back, too. I called them up, got it sorted out, and switched back to save a ton of money because we got a credit for what we were paying the HOA since the HOA was paying Brighthouse’s subsidiary.

Then Today…

Today was a last straw of epic proportions. I was sitting with my laptop, minding my own business (literally), when State Farm called to see if I had life insurance and if I was interested in getting it through them. BIG mistake! That implies that: 1) I am not planning for the future for my family, 2) I’m too stupid to connect the dots that if I really wanted to get life insurance that State Farm sells it and would give me a multi-policy discount. My rule: don’t call me, I’ll call you! If I wanted your stuff so badly, I’d already have it.

That was rude, yes, but the killer was two parts waiting to unfold. I told her that I’d be more open to getting more services from them if I was happy with the service I was already paying for. I’d requested a lower rate TWICE because I work from home and drive well under 400 miles per month, sometimes 150 miles. There is no reason for a 30-year-old with a 9 year old sedan to be paying $1,000/yr to drive 4,000 miles per year. That’s just my car, and I’m the old one here! Sure, we’ve got a killer policy, but those figures are unacceptable for how little I am exposed to the need for insurance (i.e., in my car–driving!). All set with that? The next part is going to require duct tape around your head to keep your brain from exploding.

She called me back and asked me for my milage records from my oil changes. Lady, I’m a man… I change my own oil. I ain’t paying someone to walk under my car, remove my filter, put a new one on, and use a metered pump to put in sub-standard oil into my car. I want to know what I’m getting and that it’s done right, and I’m not paying $70 to get the kind of oil I use that costs me $20 at the store to buy. Get your own milage figures.

Next she suggested that every time I take my car into the shop for work, they write down my milage. What!? They do? Idiot! What self-respecting man doesn’t know this about cars, either? Lady, I’m a man… and I drive a Nissan Altima. Hear me? Reliable car, going to get 200k+ miles out of it. I haven’t had my car repaired since I had the A/C fixed back in June, long before I started working at home.

So she decided it was a good idea to transfer me to her supervisor to convince me that I needed to cough up these numbers or be stuck with our current policy rate. Now this just so happens to be my actual agent’s branch, not a call center. These are supposed to be MY people. I own them. “Underwriting will reject this request to decrease your milage without proof of usage.” WELL, those numbers are going to have to come after the fact, and you’re going to have to give me the discount now and charge me if I’m lying to you.

I called my wife to be sure she wasn’t attached to them as our insurers and found out that a policy with a competitor with the same, and even better, coverages costs 55% less. Had they not called to remind me that I was mad at them–not to mention throwing gas on the fire–I would have just kept paying my bill.

Tomorrow we’re switching to Progressive.

(for some reason, neither Geico’s nor Progressive’s sites questioned me about my milage claim…)

  • Jerry

    That’s pretty ironic! Getting a call from a solicitor that leads you to about a $500/year savings with one of their competitors. Maybe phone spam isn’t all bad after all. LOL! That story needs to be on 20 Minutes or something. Great read and congrats on the small but very satisfying victory.

  • Jerry

    That’s pretty ironic! Getting a call from a solicitor that leads you to about a $500/year savings with one of their competitors. Maybe phone spam isn’t all bad after all. LOL! That story needs to be on 20 Minutes or something. Great read and congrats on the small but very satisfying victory.

  • http://www.yolospat.com Jen

    I’m proud of you! I used to be exactly like you until I got married. Then all the sudden I started not accepting anything other than what I expected/ordered/didn’t order/etc and I became the power-horse and negotiation when we just bought our first brand new car, and our first house.

    It’s like now that it’s not just me, but me and my husband, everything is more important and everything matters more. Which it should. Good post!

  • http://www.yolospat.com Jen

    I’m proud of you! I used to be exactly like you until I got married. Then all the sudden I started not accepting anything other than what I expected/ordered/didn’t order/etc and I became the power-horse and negotiation when we just bought our first brand new car, and our first house.

    It’s like now that it’s not just me, but me and my husband, everything is more important and everything matters more. Which it should. Good post!

  • http://www.cffatboy.com/ Jesse Petersen

    We will probably be buying two cars within a year of each other very soon, so the practice is going to come in handy. We hope to buy the first one with cash and I am NOT paying a DIME more than I have to. I am dead set on walking off the lot after the test drive and going to Panera to wait for them to call a-begging.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Jesse Petersen

    We will probably be buying two cars within a year of each other very soon, so the practice is going to come in handy. We hope to buy the first one with cash and I am NOT paying a DIME more than I have to. I am dead set on walking off the lot after the test drive and going to Panera to wait for them to call a-begging.

  • Tyronius Maximus

    Make sure and pit a couple of dealers against each other. Then, start calling each one telling what the other is offering. That’s how I got my truck for but rocking cheap. It was new, so it was a little easier to find comparable vehicles. You might try the private route. Less overhead and generally considered to be cheaper…

    As for solicitors, well, I hate salesmen…

  • Tyronius Maximus

    Make sure and pit a couple of dealers against each other. Then, start calling each one telling what the other is offering. That’s how I got my truck for but rocking cheap. It was new, so it was a little easier to find comparable vehicles. You might try the private route. Less overhead and generally considered to be cheaper…

    As for solicitors, well, I hate salesmen…

  • http://www.cffatboy.com/ Jesse Petersen

    Good advice, man. Yeah, I know where you stand on salesmen… LOL!

    I’ve got a hankering to get a modern classic and do a little flipping after we get her a nice car. I’ve got the know-how, but a lift should would be nice, eh?

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Jesse Petersen

    Good advice, man. Yeah, I know where you stand on salesmen… LOL!

    I’ve got a hankering to get a modern classic and do a little flipping after we get her a nice car. I’ve got the know-how, but a lift should would be nice, eh?