(Posted 12-10-02) If any of you out there are thinking about getting car insurance in the United States, I would personally advise you to steer as far away from 21st Century Insurance as possible. I’m simply going to explain my story to you here and if anyone out there has a similar story about this company I’d love to hear about it as I’m sure there are many more!
On Friday 9-20-02 I called 21st Century and I talked to Edward. I explained to him that as I was going through a separation, I was canceling my policy with them in two weeks making my policy run for a total of only two months opposed to the original six. (It had started on August 4th so I was going to cancel it on October 4th.) He had no problem with that and I said that I’d be looking into alternate insurance companies from that point on.
I asked if he wouldn’t mind sending me a QUOTE in the mail for my truck as I would be looking into what AAA, Mercury and other insurance companies had to offer. I said that if I liked their quote I would go with them again. While on the phone with him I distinctly asked him (and my wife was witness to this) “if I don’t like the ‘quote’ that you’re going to send me what do I do?” He replied, “as long as you don’t sign it and mail it back to us then its void.” I asked him this again on the phone just to make sure that he FULLY understood what I had said. Again he gave me the same response.
My policy was to run out on October 4th, 2002. By the beginning of October I’d found an alternate insurance company who were cheaper and I’d paid for my new policy to start on October 4th, 2002. 21st Century’s quote arrived in the mail and on the night of Tuesday 10-1-02 (three days before my original insurance with them was to run out) I got a call. ‘Just to make sure for the last time,’ I’d requested earlier that day for a supervisor from 21st Century to call me at 7pm that night. I’ll give the man credit, at exactly 7pm, John, one of 21st Century supervisors called. I asked him the same questions on the phone, just like I had done with Edward about the quote. I said I had an alternate insurance now so I didn’t want to go with the quote price that they had sent. “What do I do?” I asked him. “Don’t sign anything, throw it away and you’ll be fine,” he told me. This was exactly the same information that Edward had given me. Again I asked him the same question just to make sure everything was understood and he replied with the same words.
Everything was fine until a few weeks later when the first of various letters started to come through from 21st Century. The first one was where they wanted $5 from me for this NEW policy that was to start? What Policy? Then the real heavy stuff started to come in like on 11-4-02 they wanted $50.00 for a policy cancellation fee along with $99.00 for premium owed prior to the cancellation. (As you've already read I never agreed to have this policy to begin with?)
After a few more “harassing” letters, on Thursday 11-14-02 I called them again and was on the phone with Ilene for a long time as I explained that my parents were here on vacation from England and the last thing I wanted to be doing during their visit was wasting time on 21st Century’s error. Personally I found her rather rude, pretty uncaring to what I had to say and she didn’t really listen to hardly anything that I was trying to put across. She concluded our conversation by saying that “if my time was so precious and I didn’t want to waste anymore time with them, why didn’t I simply fax through to them a photocopy of my NEW alternate insurance (with another company.)” I replied by saying, “Two of your employee’s have given me the same information twice and one of them might I add was a supervisor. So no, this is not my problem this is yours. We wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with would we, if I was given the correct information? I specifically asked the questions that were needed before you sent me that quote and those questions were answered. So it’s your error not mine. So no, you’ve wasted enough of my time, why don’t you get in touch with John and Edward and verify with them what they both told me.” She said someone would call me back.
Did Ilene even listen, well I wonder? Firstly NO ONE EVER DID CALL ME BACK. And on top of that 11 days later, the last and final letter came from 21st Century. Now on top of the $99.00 that I supposedly owed them, things were going to get worse if I didn’t pay up! If the amount wasn’t paid within ten days they “WILL BE FORCED TO REFER THIS MATTER TO THEIR COLLECTION AGENCY.” Also the letter stated, “THAT THE AGENCY THAT THEY RETAIN IS AUTHORIZED TO REPORT THIS AMOUNT TO SEVERAL CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES.”
How dare these people threaten me with this kind of crap. I’ve never been in debt in my life. I’ve never even owned a credit card and they would put a red flag up on me in the future due to an error that was 100% THEIR FAULT? An error that I had spent hours on the phone trying to conclude to no avail. What a company, what ethics to follow, what a load of garbage!
In the five days that followed that final letter arriving I left numerous messages for a 21st Century supervisor to call me back and no one ever did. Does that surprise me? Finally on the night of Saturday 11-30-02 I called them up again and a Deadra Anderson answered. I explained the whole situation to her and I really let her know how frustrated I was with everything. I wasn’t rude, hostile or belligerent to her, I simply let her know that this was totally unacceptable. At the end of my long explanation she put me on hold. She came back saying that her supervisor, Laurie Merlin had taken the charges off and that I had nothing else to worry about.
Having been already mislead twice by this company and wasting hours of my time dealing with their errors, I certainly had no faith in being told that all was well! So I asked her to send that to me in WRITING. I wanted proof! I certainly couldn’t trust what I was told on the phone by ANYONE in this company anymore. They’d already proved that over and over again? And TWICE on the phone I told Deadra that I had moved to a different state and that I wanted this letter sent to my NEW address in Arizona. To make sure I asked her to repeat my new address back to me. She said that the letter would be typed up that night and mailed out to me on Monday (12-2-02) morning.
Five days later I called them back again saying that I’d received NO letter in the mail. When the agent looked it up on the computer she said it had been sent on the Monday to my (OLD) address in California. Need I say anymore?
Between Thursday 12-5-02 to Thursday 12-12-02 I’d left seven messages on Deadra Anderson’s voice mail and five on Laurie Merlin’s. These calls were made in the morning, afternoon and night as I was told they were on the night shift. I explained that I would like another letter sent to me at my NEW address which I’d given to them on the phone that night. I also asked that they please call me back and let me know that they got the message/s and that the letter was on its way. I said that they could call anytime day or night, it didn't matter. To this day neither of them has ever responded to any of my calls. 21st Century Insurance what an example of 'Great Customer Service' eh?
So that’s my story and I’m sure it’s one of many regarding this company. What a way to run a business. Misinform the client and then later threaten your credibility with credit agencies. I would advise anyone to stay as far away from this company as possible.
Thank you for your reading, Johnny Anderson.
UPDATE: On Thursday 12-12-02 I finally got in touch with (yet) another supervisor as I gave up on Laurie and Deadra after a week. I was promised that a letter would be on its way to me? Deadra finally called later that day asking for a name that sounded like mine but not my name. I thought she was a tele-marketer at first. She was about to hang up when I asked her again who she was after. She said that she had been on vacation since we spoke. But why couldn't Laurie Merlin call me back? She also assured me that a letter was on its way (again). I've contacted the State of California Department of Insurance and filed a complaint about this appalling company.
UPDATE: On Tuesday 1-21-03 I got two letters in the mail. One from the State of California Dept of Insurance and the other was a response from 21st Century after they'd been contacted by the above. Below is my response back to the CA Dept of Ins:
Hello Quintin, I received a letter from 21st Century today and it was from a Marcia Phelps. I called her up today also, stating how appalled I was at their company. How DEGRADING her letter was to me, how it was fabricated to make me look like an idiot and how she's responded with INACCURATE information.
I really do hope you file my complaint and I am more angered now by her response than when this all began. Let me put in here one segment of her letter:
YOU OBTAINED INSURANCE WITH ANOTHER CARRIER PRIOR TO THE INCEPTION DATE OF YOUR NEW POLICY. SUBSEQUENTLY, WHEN YOU WERE BILLED FOR A POLICY WITH US, YOU ATTEMPTED TO CANCEL THE POLICY AND HAVE YOUR ACCOUNT ADJUSTED. THESE REQUESTS WERE NOT HANDLED IN A TIMELY MANNER. WHILE WE CANNOT CHANGE WHAT TRANSPIRED OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS, WE CAN MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SERVICE REQUESTS HAVE NOW BEEN MET. A REVIEW OF OUR RECORDS SHOWS THAT $49.00 HAS BEEN CHARGED OFF, THE $50.00 FEE AND $5.00 LATE FEES WERE REVERSED, YOUR ACCOUNT BALANCE IS ZERO AND YOU HAVE RECEIVED CONFIRMATION OF THESE CHANGES.
My God, I won't say what I would like to say as it's classed as foul language.
1) SUBSEQUENTLY, WHEN YOU WERE BILLED FOR A POLICY WITH US, YOU ATTEMPTED TO CANCEL THE POLICY AND HAVE YOUR ACCOUNT ADJUSTED. "My new insurance with the other company started the SAME day that theirs ended 10-4-02?"
2) I never attempted to cancel anything it NEVER was a policy. I'd been told by Edward on 9-20-02 and by the supervisor on 10-1-02 that the policy was VOID unless I signed it and mailed it in, it was exactly as I'd asked; a simple QUOTE?
3) What "requests and timely manner?" There never was an agreement to begin with, their letter is worded like I'm a flake or I don't pay my bills on time, how dare they insult
my intelligence with this crap?
4) The last of their letter makes it sound like they've done ME a favor when all along I was harassed to pay money by a certain time, my phone calls were ignored, no one never
called back and if and when they did I was NEVER listened to?
An appalling way to run a business.
Thanks for your time Quintin,
Readers, need I say anymore about this company, thanks for your reading, Johnny Anderson.
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