Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chain of errors

When I cancelled a credit card earlier this year, I had forgotten that there was a cash guard insurance policy riding on it. It was only brought to my attention in May when the insurance company sent me a letter when it failed to deduct the annual premium from the now dead credit card.

I had been paying them S$70 every year without realising it, for the past 6 or 7 years!

So I got back to them and a very nice customer service officer sorted it out and said that they could attach the policy onto the new credit card. And reminded me to check my credit card statements. Since this was an annual deduction, that must have been why I overlooked it, and forgot all about the policy, he suggested. And since the premium deduction was imminent, he suggested that I email them the new credit card number instead of going through the usual route where he would send me a form, I would fill it, and send it back, which would take weeks to process.

And so I did. And received a return email from customer service which said that they have my new credit card number and would forward the details to their billing department.

Well, the billing department must have been out of the loop because the next thing I got was a letter saying that my policy had been cancelled. But if I wanted to reinstate it, I could do this, that or the other. Which involved calling them. On the customer service hotline. Which takes you through a loop through eternity before you can even talk to someone human. And there's no way of calling the nice customer service officer who handed your problem. You had to call the central line. Which loops through pressing numbers for everything except what you needed.

In the meantime, someone else from the same insurance company called me, trying to flog other insurance products. Since I had someone human on the phone, I directed her attention to my problem, adding that I'm obviously not in the mood to buy anything from your company till it fixes that problem.

She was as nice as the first guy. She had the relevant people sort it out, and called back to check that it was sorted out. And I thought it was.

Until on Thursday, I got a letter saying that the policy was reinstated and that henceforth, the monthly premium would be deducted from the new credit card.

Except that this was supposed to be S$70 annually. Not monthly.

Back I went to customer service hotline's runaround hell. I sent them an email too. At least when you hit send on an email, it does go somewhere. Unlike voice recorded phone hotlines.

And today, I get another letter. This time they got things right. Policy reinstated, annual premium deduction. Yada yada. No apologies. No signature. Computer-generated letter.

Do they really think I would buy their products the next time they call?

Listen, AIG: If you can't take care of the small things, you can't settle the big ones.

Their bailout cheque should have been this:

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