jenny_islander (jenny_islander) wrote in bad_service,

Lie, lie, lie lie lie

This happened years ago, but my blood pressure still goes up whenever it pops into my mind.

I used to work for a full-service financial planner. You sat down with him and explained where you wanted to be financially in 5/10/15 years, he helped you do a reality check, then he sold you the stuff you needed to get to your more realistic goal. He worked with at least a dozen different companies that sold life insurance, mutual funds, etc., most of which you've probably heard of. I was the person who followed up on the paperwork.

So a client, let's call her Sue, decides to drop a large (for the average person) sum of money into her variable universal life insurance policy. She pays it up, in fact. This means that the mighty whack of money she just let go of should ensure that she (a) does not have to make a payment on her life insurance ever again and (b) will, market permitting, be able to take a nice amount out if she lives to retirement age. She met with my boss several times while agonizing over what to do with this lovely five-digit windfall and she is guardedly confident that she made the right decision.

Until the life insurance company responds to my e-mail query by saying that, no, Sue never paid up her policy.

We go through several repetitions of "Yes it was--no it wasn't." This takes several days, during which Sue discovers that her check hasn't cleared and starts biting her nails. Finally my contact at the life insurance company says snippily, "Fine, here is a copy of the e-mail you sent when your boss had you query about Sue's payoff amount and all subsequent e-mails using that subject header. As you can clearly see, you sent a later message letting me know that Sue had changed her mind." "You forgetful twit" is strongly implied.

Except that I never sent any such thing. What I sent was a notice that the check was on the way. I even have the original message in Sue's file because it's office policy to print every single e-mail message before sending. My contact at the insurance company retyped my message in an attempt to hide the fact that the company had lost the check!

The company has since been bought out and the name changed.
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