Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Letters Get Results!

I recently purchased the American Express rental car insurance program.  This sounded like a really good deal - for one price your rental car would be protected.  Gone were the days of an additional $12 or something for daily insurance on your rental car - that always seemed like a rip off. 

I was hoping I would never have to use my new insurance but recently I was in Montana with the Florida Bar Elder Law Section and a stone flew up from a passing truck and cracked my windshield.  I called American Express to report the damage.  I filled out the claim form with National Car Rental.  Then I waited.  It appeared everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing - settling the claim.

Finally I get a letter from Amex saying that my claim has been settled - yes!  Then I get a call from National (actually, their agent) who says I still owe $100 plus dollars on the claim because American Express didn't cover the whole claim.  What?  Now, I'm really mad.   Why didn't they pay the whole claim?  First I call American Express for an explanation - they actually give a pretty good one.  National would not provide their out of service logs but still made a claim for the loss of use on the car.  And, National had imposed some junk "administrative fee" that wasn't actual damage to the car so Amex wasn't going to pay.

My first solution, I went on FaceBook and posted my story on the National Car Rental page.  This got their attention.  Then I wrote a letter - on legal letterhead - describing my problem and asking National to waive their junk fees.  Well, guess what?  The claim is now settled and I'm not having to pay out of pocket for uncovered insurance expenses. 

As consumers we need to stand up for what's right.  Failure to provide requested information.  Junk administrative fees.  That's not the way to do business.  Demand more, get more. 

If you have a complaint against a service provider and you need help - The Professional Nudge is the answer.  We'll write a letter on your behalf - it's all we do. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

If you don't ask, you don't get

I’ve always been a letter writer.  And, before I became a lawyer, I wished on many occasions I could have my letter written on law firm letterhead.  I felt like that might just be the difference in getting the response I wanted – recognition of my complaint and a resolution of the problem.

Letters do command attention.  They memorialize your concerns about what went wrong.  They should be directed to the highest ranking person who can make a difference in your situation.  They should be firm, to the point and ask for a realistic, concrete solution.  They can also be creative, constructive ways to make yourself heard, even if you don’t get exactly what you want.  

One day my father and I were shopping for a pair of cowboy boots.  I found the pair I loved and wanted to purchase.  Unfortunately, the store didn’t have my size.  I asked the clerk if she could call another nearby store to see if they were available.  Her response was that it was store policy not to call their other stores to locate merchandise.  I thought that was a very interesting policy.  She agreed, and in fact suggested I write a letter.  Since this was already my preferred method of letting people know I was unhappy with a service, I was more than happy to oblige.  I obtained the name and address of the company vice president.  I wrote him a strong, persuasive letter telling him about my problem and asking the company to change their policy.  My letter began, “Congratulations, you’ve reached the pinnacle of success, you no longer need your customers to succeed.”  In response, I received a hand written apology along with a gift certificate for $125 to “bribe me” back into the store.  I gladly accepted my gift certificate and used it to purchase additional merchandise.  By the way, I called the stores myself and found my boots in the appropriate size.  I still have them today and they are still a favorite.  Unfortunately for the store, they are no longer in business.  

If you have a complaint and would like assistance in making a strong request for resolution of your problem, we can help – The Professional Nudge – it’s the only thing we do.