Saturday, April 23, 2005

American Freaking Honda

On July 3, 2002, Paul had a motorcycle vs. car accident. This was the first time either of us had ever been in a serious vehicle accident. When the nice fella from Progressive came out to our house one afternoon and sat with us, commiserated with us, felt sorry for us (or so we thought) we were won over by his salesman-ish charms. He cut us a check for a lot of money and were told that it was over, done, finit, ba da bing ba da boom, we were done with that nasty mess. We actually had two agents working for us - one that handled the medical issues, one that handled the actual motorcycle issues. The medical one was the nice one. The motorcycle one, not so nice. He eventually started not returning phone calls and when we could get hold of him he was vague and curt and just generally not nice at all. Now keep in mind that I said this was the first time either of us had ever dealt with our insurance company over anything more than hail damage. When we were told the title was released and the account was paid in full, we believed them.

Silly us.

One year and 3 weeks after the accident we got a nasty letter from American Honda Finanace Corporation that said we owed them $1500-something. We called Progressive and they were of NO HELP WHATSOEVER. We called Honda and they said they only received a check for part of what was owed and we were responsible for the rest. And they weren't nice either. A month later we received another letter from them, still saying we owed them money, but it was roughly $450 less than the first letter. (Remember that $450 - it comes back to haunt later in the story.) Grrrr... get your act together, Honda. So Paul basically said, let 'em sue us, we'll declare bankruptcy before we pay them.

Another year passed and we got a letter from a "law office" which is actually a collection agency. Some incredibly rude woman who felt compelled to eat really loud food any time she spoke on the phone with me, was our account representative. We ended up settling for nearly $700 and she said the account was settled in full, we were no longer responsible for any more financial payments, the account balance was zero, yada yada yada. One year later, we got a letter from a collection agency that didn't even pretend to be a law firm, and said we still owed them $449.99. I then contacted Ms. Rosalyn "I Must Eat When I Speak With You" Freeman and she was more than happy to send off a letter, stating that our account balance was zero. I then typed up a letter to the new collection dude, sent it and a copy of Ms. Smacky-pants' letter and we weren't bothered anymore. I even called them to make sure the account was settled.

Now, it's April 2005 and the other day the internet answering machine picked up a call for Paul from someone named Tina("You fat lard"), yet Tina had no place of business that she wanted to share with me on the machine, so I did not return her call. You don't tell me who you are with then you don't want me to call you back. That's my policy. Two days later Ms. Tina Who Has No Place Of Business, became Ms. Tina With The Newest Collection Agency Assigned To Make Your Life Hell. She informed me that Paul owes American Honda $449.99. I immediately stated that no he does not, explained that the account was settled. Of course, I didn't have my file cabinet opened for her convenience, I had dinner going on the stove, a house full of kids and she was more than a little put out when I couldn't tell her the exact amount of money we settled the account with. I told her she could call me back in 30 minutes and I'd have any information she needed, but she obviously had someone else to harass and couldn't get back with me, but kindly offered to put this new information in my file. How sweet of her! She's precious, that Ms. Tina etc etc.

I mentioned it to Paul and of course, he BLEW UP. I said to let it ride awhile, see how actively they pursue it and in the mean time I'd get together all of the correspondence and cancelled checks from previous years. Today he got the mail. Imagine: Grassy lawn-mowing husband maxing out the mower as he hightails it up the driveway with collection letter in hand, busting through the backdoor and yelling "Give me the cell phone, woman! I'm going to kick some Honda butt!!" It totally ruined the quiet of the house and my then-present state of blogging nirvana.

Monday morning I will be calling both the collection agency and Honda once more. Except this time I'm going to threaten Honda with harassment. I mean, if they don't want the account settled for anything less than $499.99, then don't "allow" us to settle with the collection people repeatedly. If you want it all, say it, folks. Doesn't mean you're going to get it, but you could at least make your wishes known. I am sick of this!

Obviously it hasn't marred our credit too awful much. We just bought a $33,000 pickup and Chrysler finance didn't even bat an eye. But when we bought the truck we bought that extra little bit of gap insurance that pays the ENTIRE BALANCE OF THE LOAN in the event of the accident. That's where we got screwed on the bike. He had owned the bike all of 5 weeks when he had the wreck. Obviously we owed more than the bike was worth at that point because we hadn't made but one payment. So Progressive only paid on the value of the bike, not the total loan balance. This is something that Progressive should've told us. I mean, we're uneducated rednecks for cryin' out loud!

So in conclusion:
Progessive auto insurance sucks.
American Honda sucks.
Collection people that smack when they eat while they talk on the phone with you are rude.
If you call me and want me to return your call, you must tell me who you work for.
Paul has a temper, yet he mowed the yard today.
Always buy that little bit of extra insurance they offer you. Just in case.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Always buy Gap insurance. Trust me I know!(unfortunately)

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Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...