January 17th, 2008

Michael links lip

Student Loan Payment

Okay, my family has been in Croatia for the past year. We've come back to the U.S for a couple of months. We were checking some mail sent to us, and included was some overdue notices for a loan that was supposed to have been paid through January. We called them, and multiple sucks took place.

1. Their system is an old one that only allows you to make 1 payment. If you put in multiple payments, it automatically only takes the last one while still giving you all the confirmations and not letting you know.

2. Even though there is no information of this on their website, and even though we got the confirmations, it is still somehow our fault for not knowing. The company is still making me pay all the late fees that have accumulated.

3. The lady on the phone offered no appology, was really nasty to my mom, and basically acted like she should have known what was going on.

4. We were oversees. We called them before we went to change the mailing address. The late notices still got sent to our office in Washington. We had called before to change the address to our home in San Antonio. If they had gone there, we would have gotten them since our neighbor sends us our mail every few weeks. Since it went to the office, we didn't get the notices until just now. Somehow, this is also our fault according to the lady. We still should have known.

Basically, I've had to pay a whole lot of extra money that I should have and the lady we talked to was completely nasty and unapoligetic about it.  Also, my credit is now shot because they sent it to collections when we didn't respond to the notices we never got.

Edit: Thanks for the advice. We called them back. The first lady we talked to was nice, but didn't want to help. We asked to speak to a manager, and he was very helpful. Everything is settled now.
swine flu

Emergency rooms called out

I've read so many emergency room stories here, I thought you guys might be interested to see that CNN's done a couple of pieces on it recently, criticizing how completely uncaring hospitals can be. The most interesting of these is one with a list of ways to take control of a crappy emergency room visit, with suggestions from the Emergency Nurses Association, right here. There's also a video here where the guy who started the complaining describes his experience.

I hope this isn't considered off topic (if you want some serious bad service, you should read more about some of the incidents they mention in that article, it'll scare the crap out of you) but since it's a very common problem a lot of people here have had I thought that you guys might like to hear some of the tips on how to get help faster in an emergency room. I'm also glad to see some high-profile complaints about emergency rooms because sometimes the doctors and nurses are trying very hard, and sometimes they honestly don't give a crap, and often that puts people's health in danger.

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I want to clarify right now that this guy waiting for pain meds is not really the biggest deal in the world. Most of what I was interested in was the advice on how to make sure you don't get passed over when you shouldn't (like calling your doctor) and examples of people being neglected in the ER and getting more damage/dying because of it.

An emergency room is a very busy place and if you don't need immediate help, you probably won't get it, and that's just how it's going to be. That sucks, but there's not much to be done about it. The real problems come when people don't get taken care of well or at all when they really do need it, which is much more common than it should be, and often times it's not due to a rush but to doctors and nurses just not caring what happens.