Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Scam - Part 2: I Call Them Back - Transcript

In Part 1, I described what happened when I received a phone call from "GCS - 1-714-551-9581."  The call ended with me signing up for an accidental supplemental insurance program with National Union Fire Insurance Company (of Pittsburgh).

With some research after the fact, I've determined that Nation Union Fire Insurance Company is a legitimate company.  They really have been in business for a long time.  They are even listed in an old actuarial exam paper I had to read dated around 1964 (look on page 229).  This means that NUF has to pay claims as they promise, or else the Pennsylvania regulators would shut them down in no time.  In other words, if they are a scam, then they are the biggest insurance scam ever created - having pulled the wool over so many eyes.

So, they're legit.  But do they engage in shady practices?  That remains to be seen.  I will now continue with Part 2...

It took a week, but I did get a policy in the mail.  (Some people have complained that they never received one.)  I also got the $25 gas voucher they promised to send.  Only, I don't feel inclined to send it in.  Who knows what mailing list it would put me on?

The insurance plan itself is simple.  It's supplemental insurance, meaning if a certain event happens, I will be paid a predetermined dollar amount.  For example, if I have an "emergency accident" they'll send me $250.  If I have a physician office visit, I get $50.  A day in the hospital gets me $1,370, and so on.  This is a typical gap insurance plan meant to fill in holes in your primary insurance (which usually has deductibles and copays you have to pay).

It sounds like it could be a good deal, but ultimately, I decided it wasn't right for me.  My biggest two complaints are: 1) It doesn't seem geared toward sicknesses (which is actually listed as an exclusion), so it's not really health insurance; and 2) my children would be covered mostly at 10% of my coverage.  That is, an "emergency accident" would be $25 instead of $250; a day in the hospital would be $137 instead of $1370; and the physician office visit would be $25 instead of $50 (okay - that last one is 50%).  This isn't for me, as my kids will have a much higher chance of getting hurt.  That is what kids do, right?

So, I made up my mind to cancel.  Since they had recorded our conversation when they signed me up, I decided to return the favor and record our conversation when I asked for them to cancel.  So, if they decide not to honor the cancellation, I have proof that I made the call.  Here's an excerpt of the call (most ums and ahs and what-did-he-say's edited out).  I am "M", and the salesperson is "T."

T: Good afternoon. Thank you for calling customer service.  My name is T.  How may I assist you today?

M: I'm actually calling to cancel insurance.

T: I'm sorry to hear that, sir.   But in order for me to better assist you ..., may I please have your phone number beginning with the area code first?

M: ### ###-####

T: Okay and how's your day going so far, sir?

M: So far so good.

T: That's always a good thing.  Now can I please have the client's first and last name?

M: M. W.

T: Okay, now can I also have your first and last name, sir?

M: Uh, that's me, too.  M. W.

T: Okay, Mr. W.  For security purposes, can you please verify ... your mailing address?

M: …

T: Okay.  Thanks so much for verifying your mailing address for me today, sir.  And also, Mr. W., could you please verify as well your date of birth?

M: …

T: Okay.  Thanks for verifying your date of birth.  ...  This was a policy--a supplemental accidental policy [through] Wells Fargo Home Mortgage because you remained in good standing with them.  They decided to treat you with a policy that would treat you better back.  What that basically means is, sir, that whenever you make a claim ..., you receive that amount of money in the form of a check coming directly to you in the mail.  ... we have not billed you for this as of yet.  ...  it doesn't take effect until <date>.  And did you receive a copy of your policy, Mr. W?

M: I did receive a policy.

T: Okay.  That's perfect.  Seeing how you received a policy, do you have any questions on that policy or any concerns or anything of that nature, sir?

M: No questions.  It's just that when I looked through it, I decided that it wasn't right for me. 

T: Okay, and was there something you did not like about the policy, sir?

M: It seemed to be more of an accidental …

T: Yes, Mr. W., that it is.  It is supplemental accidental insurance policy, <three minutes of blah blah blah about what the policy pays for> ... you'll be able to receive a check in the mail for $50 for that.  And, sir, are you currently married, Mr. W.?

M: Yeah.

T: This policy also covers your wife as well.  And if you have any dependent children, your children are also covered under this benefit as well, because this is the combined family plan.

M: Yeah.  I …

T: And also, sir, you do have additional time to review this policy before you make any solid decisions, because ... this is a ... dated policy that wouldn't begin until <date>.  And the same benefits [I read] are the same benefits that do apply to your family as well.

M: Yeah.  Well, now let me ask a quick question.  Based on the information that I received, it looks my children are covered at a different level than I am.

T: Let me see here.

M: Is that correct?

T: Yes, sir.  They are covered at a different level that you are, but they are still in the combined family plan.  Now, even though there is a price difference as far as your children go, sir, they are still covered under this, and even if you claim or whether it be your wife or the children that you currently have, that check is going to be sent directly to you in the mail.  <another two minutes about maximum payouts> ... you still receive that amount of money in the form of a check sent directly to you in the mail.  So let's say if you claimed your wife on the same benefit that you are covered for, ... you still receive that amount of money if the form of a check sent directly to you in your first and last name, seeing how you are the primary insured on the account.

M: Okay.  So, yeah.  I understand all that.

T: And then also, sir, you do have additional time to review the policy ...  Because you are paid up until <date>, and you will not be deducted off of your mortgage until that time--because [of] the 60 day delayed effective date on this.

M: Okay.  Well, Yeah.  I've actually finished reviewing and we already have insurance that covers most of those costs.

T: And that's actually a good thing that you do currently have insurance because we do pay in addition to your current insurance, sir.  And not only that, you--again you can claim on your wife as well and any benefits that you are covered for with our company, and you do have additional time to review this policy with your wife as well, because you are paid up until <date>.

M: Uh, I think I prefer to cancel now.

T: Oh, okay, and was there something you did not like about the policy, sir?

M: Um, it's just … I don't … um … oh, nothing in particular.  Nope.

T: Okay, because you do--as I said earlier--you do have additional time to review this with your wife as well because she is covered under the policy as well as your children.

M: Yeah …

T: And not only that, ... your dependent children are covered until the age of 18 and ... if they enter into college after the age of 18, they are actually further covered ... under this policy until the age of 23 if they are a full-time student in college.  And not only that, if they have special needs they will always be covered under this policy.

M: Yeah …

T: Even into their adult years.

M: Uh, I've already talked to it with my wife, and …

T: Okay, uh, well, Mr. W., I do understand and we can process that cancellation for you today if you like.  Uh, do you have pen and paper available today, sir? ...  Okay, the cancellation confirmation number for this policy, sir, will be #########.  ... Okay, ... this policy is cancelled effective immediately, and Mr. W., is there anything else I can further assist you with today?

M: I think that will be all.

T: Okay, Mr. W., this policy has been cancelled effective immediately.  I've provided you with your cancellation confirmation number as well.  And because we do value your opinion, Mr. W., I'll be transferring you to a very brief survey about our service and products, so please hold while I transfer you, and thank you for calling customer service, Mr. W.  You have a nice day.

M: Okay.  You, too.  Thanks.

And that was it.  In a couple of weeks, I'll see if they start charging me.  I'll let you know what happens.  If I see any charges, at least I'm armed for a fight...

Update: Would you believe it?  Right after I submitted this post, I saw our mortgage payment for next month.  It shows no charge for this insurance, confirming that they did indeed cancel coverage.  My final verdict: Not a scam, but I did get a funny transcript - as they try hard to get me not to cancel!


Lonna said...

All those 800 calls from wells fargo are received by people who are submitting stuff to get published... Lonna B.

Melvyn Windham said...

@Lonna: That's pretty funny!

Roni said...

Hi Melvyn,
Thanks for your blog/story. Same thing happened to me, and with gas almost $4 now, the $25 gas card did lure me in. The first lady asked for my birthday, which Stupid Me did give her, but then when she wanted my birth city, I wised up and said no. Then she transferred me to Another Fast Talker, who also wanted my b/day and birth city and confirmed the $25 gas card.
This was all on April 16, and I have NOT YET received any material to look over, nor any gas card. They told me it was Barclay's bank they were doing business with, not W.F.
Thanks for your story. I am praying All's Well that Ends Well, but I do keep looking for that package in the mail, three weeks out! :(

Melvyn Windham said...

@Roni I think it took me about 3 weeks to get my info. You'll have to let us know what happens. If it doesn't come in the mail, you can take action.

I halfway wonder if they saw my blog and wanted to make sure I was taken care of. They got me to declare them "NOT A SCAM." But I'd happily undeclare it if they're still scamming those who aren't complaining.