Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Service with a smile???

Customer service, indeed just doing one's job, sure isn't what it used to be. Of course, I am a tad cynical, considering that my most recent lack of service was with the Social Security Administration. Of course, the issues with them only go back seven years or so, and are still not resolved...but I certainly didn't expect quality service from the Government...

Well I don't think that you get any better service from private business, either. This time it is refinancing our mortgage, and I haven't decided who the most egregious offender in dealing with this customer. To start with, I went to a .com and they supplied my name to four mortgage companies. One of these is Quicken, a nationally known mortgage company, and they have been okay in some respects so far.

This is where things get more interesting. In March, we received a letter from the homeowners insurance company that told us that our policy was cancelled due to non-payment. We were surprised, because of course, the policy was to have been paid from our escrow account. (I must tell you that the offending holder of our mortgage is Countrywide...they have a bad reputation, and it is deserved, IMO). So Patti called the insurance agent and paid the policy by credit card. In April, we received a check from the insurance company for the same amount, and we assumed that Countrywide paid the policy. Wrong, we were cancelled in March! Now, I despise these automated response phone systems that companies use to not speak with a customer. After five calls with no way to speak with a real person, I called a number for them in Fort Worth. I didn't get the correct office, but the person I spoke with did say that to get around the automated phone system, I should just answer 'NO' to every question, and I got to speak with a real person.

Big quacking deal. The Countrywide person said that they weren't informed about the bill in February. Paying the insurance out of the escrow was part of the mortgage, why do I have to remind them to pay? So we did not have insurance coverage for nearly three months on our house! This rep did contact the insurance agent the next day, and Countrywide agreed that they should have paid the premium, and finally yesterday, we our insurance was reinstated I was told.

However, Quicken did say that we had to increase the policy replacement value for the house for a higher value. Fine, our house has increased in value, so okay. Because we won't get the declaration page for the policy for weeks, can Quicken talk to the insurance company to obtain proof of insurance. The conversations went like this:

Quicken: Our underwriters say that we need your new declaration page to schedule the closing
Insurance Agent: We can't give you this proof without a closing date
Quicken: We need your new declaration page to schedule the closing
Insurance Agent: We can't give you this proof without a closing date, etc, etc, etc

Finally today I sent an e-mail to my Quicken rep saying, not in a mean way, but a pointed way, that they have to call the insurance agency to get a proof of insurance...she replied later that the underwriting department is contacting the insurance people. Where did these companies decide that the details don't count:
  1. Countrywide: Why didn't you pay the insurance bill? Why do you feel that we have to tell you to pay our bills on time. I wonder if they missed the property taxes, too.
  2. Quicken: You knew 3 weeks ago the loan we were applying for, and knew what our insurance coverage we had been carrying...why didn't you inform us then that we needed to increase our coverage? As well, You are going to make a pile of money off this transaction...why should I be making phone calls for your underwriting department?
  3. The insurance company: Why does it take a month to issue the declaration page?
Customer service, as a general rule these days, does not exist. Grandpa told me to never do a half-assed job. A fine philosophy, maybe these so-called consumer businesses should adhere to


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh i soooo sympathize with you ralph! service is so bad these days. people just want the paycheck and not do the work. try to hire someone! ha ha...work has become a four letter word. i wish you well my friend...

smiles, bee

Lynn said...

It is a sad state of affairs that there are many people who don't take pride in their work...unfortunately, it is we...the consumers, who have to pay the price for their "don't care' attitude.

Michael C said...

Wow! When we bought our house, we had more glitches with out escrow closing than I care to remember. Why can't some customer service people pretend they are on the other side...just once??