Acceptable Treatment?

When did we (Americans as a whole) accept that crappy customer service is acceptable?  I am so tired of businesses who take our money and treat us like they don’t give a flip.  Yep, I know .. they don’t give a flip.  For the most part, we’re probably dealing with employees who are worried about losing their jobs and paying their own bills but the big dudes getting the big salaries are the ones I think are mostly responsible for bad customer service.

My first and most recent complaint is with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.  Probably in mid-December we received two checks from them, one for $466 and one from $288.  The explanation letter said they were paying us directly instead paying of my dermatologist.  I called the doctor’s office and told them that the insurance company had paid us and if they would send us a bill, we would pay them.  They told me that as soon as they got notice that the insurance company was not paying their bill, they would send us a bill.  A week or so later, we got a letter from Blue Cross saying . . oops, we didn’t mean to send you that money.  Would we please be so kind as to send back $466 plus $288.  They had a toll free number.  Please call if you have any questions. I called.  I wanted to know what had happened.  Had they paid the doctor direct?  The checks they sent us had probably not even cleared our bank yet and I wanted to wait til that happened.  When I called, I put in the extension and was told the next available person would wait on me.  After about 15 minutes on hold, a recording came on that said they were busy, leave my number and they would call me back.  I left my number.  They did not call me back.  Over the next week, I called three more times.  Vince called several times from work.  Together, we left 6 messages and no one ever called back.  Vince said “Heck with this . . I’ll just send them the money back.  If they didn’t pay the doctor direct, we’ll work it out later.”  He sent them two checks.  The checks went through our account on January 9.  Since then, we have received three more letters, each getting a little more irate that we have not paid $466 plus $288.  Each time they’ve sent letters, I’ve called and left a message and no one has called me back.  Vince even wrote them two emails.  No response to anything.  But, the letter we received Friday informed us that we would be turned into a collection agency if they don’t receive the money by February 12.  Trying to call the phone and extension in that letter leads to a fax!  At that point, I called and punched ZERO til I finally got a human.  I gave her all the info and she called me back this morning and told me that they have no record of us calling; but they did receive our payment and just haven’t gotten around to posting it yet.

Do you think they may have gotten it posted before February 12 or would they have gone ahead and sent it in to collection and maybe figured it out later?

My second complaint is with Frank Fletcher Toyota in Joplin.  If you’ve bought a new car, you know that those dealerships walk on water (to hear them tell it) before you buy a car.  To hear them tell it, they can’t do enough for customer service and they make sure you know how great they are.  We bit and bought the Highlander from them.  The first and only time we took our Highlander back for an oil change, the guy didn’t put the paper covers on our mats and got huge, greasy foot prints on the floor mats.  Vince went back in and told them and they said they would take care of it.  They were going to order us new floor mats and have them sent to the house.  We waited about a month, called back and told them we never got the mats.  Oh, so sorry!  We’ll get those right out to you.  We’ll even send them overnight.  Not a problem . . don’t waste the money . . just get them to us.  Waited another month and then when we were in Joplin again, we went by there.  Vince talked to the sales manager (who seems to never be the same sales manager they had last time) and . . goodness, he couldn’t believe this had happened.  He would get those floor mats right away for us.  Nope . . never got them.  Friday while I was already aggravated with Blue Cross, I gave Frank Fletcher Toyota a call.  I doubt they care but you can bet I don’t trust those people, think they’re typical car salesmen and will not buy another vehicle from them!

This kind of stuff just makes me so aggravated!  Why can’t these people do what they say they will do and what they’re supposed to do?

I don’t have to deal with Frank Fletcher again but I’m stuck with Blue Cross.


  1. 1

    Donna says

    I know exactly what you are talking about with BCBS. It doesn’t matter that yours is Minnesota and mine is Oklahoma, they always operate the same. I am in a business that requires me to call insurance companies for benefits and payments on a daily basis. BCBS is one of the hardest to deal with. Don’t think they know what customer service means. On a brighter note, If you ever happen to move to Southern Oklahoma, we have a great Toyota dealer in Ardmore. It is called of all things, Toyota of Ardmore. We bought a Tundra from them in 2007 and they have been wonderful in the customer service department. The service manager knows me by name and speaks to me when I happen to see him about town. However, that is the only auto dealer we have ever received good customer service from.

  2. 2


    As a group administrator, I’ve had zero problems with Blue Cross of CA. Of course, that may be because I get to poke the group admin extension instead of the one that you probably had to use. I hope they get that worked out for you. I had a dr’s office turn me in for collection when they had been paid for over two months. It was a mess to straighten out.

  3. 4

    shannon says

    Our insurance called my hubby a couple of weeks ago. They wanted to make sure I didn’t have insurance through my job, i.e. I’m sure they wanted to make sure I wasn’t perpretrating some type of fraud. I haven’t had a claim in over 5 years. (I haven’t been sick, knock on wood, but nor have I gone in for check-ups which is a bad thing. Bad, Shannon!!!

    Got to love the car industry, though. Once the car is off the lot, most could care less.

  4. 5


    Ah… well I think everyone and their brother has heard me rant about bad customer service. It’s one thing I absolutely cannot tolerate! Unless it’s unavoidable (like your insurance) I will never do business with them again, and I make sure I let the world know about it too! I will also report them to the BBB!

    On the flip side, I try and shout it from the tree tops when I get superb customer service as well.

    Sorry you’re going through this. 🙁

  5. 6

    Pam says

    Times like that I ask to speak the supervisor and on up the chain of command, if necessary.
    I agree with CJ about notifying superiors of superb customer service. I am told by a friend in retail that those reports are rare.
    Supervisory personnel need to know the good as well as the bad about their employees. (Been there, done that.)
    Judy, I can understand the frustration, especially with the threats–so uncalled for.
    I detest the phone system that give so many prompts.
    Courtesey is becoming a lost art. People no longer realize that they are rude; example, continuing to talk on cell phone when checking out thru a cashier.

    We were raised better than that. We certainly didn’t sass our parents! Enough said. Hugs to you.

  6. 7


    Namin’ names & kickin’ butt, way to go Judy!! Don’t know why it’s even called customer service, customer frustration is more like it. I’ve been there more than once & all I can say is that some of these companies deserve to go bust. They’ve laid off all the good help & the cheap help they kept should be kept away from customers at all cost.

  7. 8


    Sorry this is happening to you… I think our culture as a whole has gotten worse and we can blame it on the pop culture (music, radio, tv, movies) which seem to always portray people at their worst and making being rude to be “cool”. I think that people in big customer service centers also assume that their actions can’t be traced.

    I try to counteract that attitude with smiling and being nice and thanking everyone as well as giving positive comments to superiors. It is also kinda fun to do random acts of kindness – I let an elderly man with 2 items go in front of me at the grocery store – I liked how shocked he was….hey, at least I felt better leaving the store that day.

    I would suggest that your experience be written down with dates,copies of checks, etc and that your hubby turn it in to Human Resources. Since BCBS threatened sending you to collection, you may want to be up front with HR. I have read that more employers are getting credit reports on employees and prospective employees, which can affect employment and promotion.

    But, I would also make sure that the tone of the letter to HR be friendly, thought you ought to know, geees, if they are treating me like this, how about others in the company, etc… Better to be proactive and safe than get hit later with another shocker.

  8. 9

    Linda (Petey) says

    Boy do I agree! Everytime we deal with BCBS it is a hassle. Right now they are trying to charge us $1000 deductable+ $468 for a ‘hospital’ charge when my husband was NOT even in the hospital for the procedure! In Jan. we had 3 days when there was no school, so I spent them on the phone, waiting, and trying to go between 3 parties trying to get it straightened out. Now I have to make those school days up in June!!! Ar-r-r-r-r-r!
    What can we do to make it better?

  9. 10


    Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult. We have BCBS of MN but haven’t had any problems with them. We’ve had a lot of different medical insurance companies through the years and frankly, had problems with most of them at one time or another.

  10. 11


    Luckily, we have a great health insurance company (YEA AETNA) because my husband has run up $2,000,000 in medical bills over the past 18 months. Our prescription drug plan, however, I cannot rave about. This past week my husband had to be rehospitalized because the prescription plan would not pay for his anti nausea drug. The out of pocket cost is more than we make in a month, so we were stuck. Consequently, he was vomiting for over a week, got dehydrated, and is back in Tampa General. Now which is more costly, a drug or a hospitalization??? The prescription plan company does not care that Aetna now has to pay thousands of dollars instead of them paying the hundreds for the drug.

    I think when they threw out customer service, they also threw out common sense.

  11. 12

    June Piper-Brandon says

    Nothing pisses me off more than poor customer service. I paid extra for bumper to bumper 100000 mi warranty, life time oil changes and life time car washes. Only, I can only get my oil changed every 3 months (I get my oil changed about every 6 weeks) and they only wash cars when it won’t freeze. I took my new kia in for an oil change and the tire pressure light kept coming on. The next morning I was leaving for North Carolina to greet my son, Ryan, coming home from deployment in Iraq. I got my car back, they said the sensors were finicky but they found nothing wrong with my tires. I got up the next morning to a flat tire. I hadn’t gone anywhere except the 6 blocks to my house. I had to wait for them to open the next morning, went back and 3 hours later I was on the road. There was a nail in my tire and I had to pay $50 to get it repaired. No apologies nothing and I didn’t get to North Carolina in time to greet Ryan off the plane. I was so upset and no one at the dealership gave a rats behind. I’ve been getting my oil changed at Jiffy Lube, I get good service there. But, now I’m due for my 30,000 mile check up so I have to go to the dealership. But, rest assured I’m going to b*t*h and moan about the bad service I have gotten there. I hated the sales people at the old dealership where I got my old car from, but their service was great. This time I got great service at the sales end and the service center sucks. Oh well…

  12. 13

    Jill says

    Why couldn’t the Toyota dealership in Jolin give you some brand new mats out of one of their Highlanders on the lot!!!!!!!!!! My sister bought a new Toyota from that same dealership in Joplin.


  13. 14


    How convenient that they “just hadn’t gotten around to posting it yet”, but they could get around to sending you a collection notice.

    I hate insurance companies.

    Whenever I have to deal with them, or Workers’ Comp, or anything important, I document the heck out of it. Anything that gets sent to them is sent registered mail, return receipt requested. It costs a few pennies more, but I have proof they received whatever it was, and that is worth the extra cost.

    Two years ago, when I had to be off work a month with a WC injury, they tried to get out of sending me my paycheck, stating I had taken myself off work. I had kept copies of EVERYTHING, including the original “off until seen by physician” slip, and documented every phone call and who it was with, every piece of mail received, and every mile spent going to the doctor or to get prescriptions. I sent a 6-page document to the WC and our hospital liaison detailing it all.

    It ticked them off, but I got my check.

    I learned most of this the hard way, dealing with hubby’s disability and the Social Security People. Now THOSE people can reduce you to a number and they don’t give a rat’s patootie about how you feel.

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    all insurance companies must be the same. I had gotten a letter to call them–they listed a number answered “24 hours 7 days a week”. I called the number, no answer. Read further in the letter, call another number. “Oh yes, you call the other number during the week 8am-4:30pm” Me–“why does it say you can help me at THIS NUMBER anytime??!! ”
    “Oh, we’re supposed to tell you to call the other number”. Does this shout “job security” or what?!!

  15. 16


    Don’t even get me started about customer service. That is just a maligned phrase….it doesn’t even exist anymore. It went away when the me generation started working and didn’t have the time nor care about being nice to anyone because it wasn’t to their advantage.

  16. 17


    Bad customer service is right up there on my list of pet peeves. I hate it!!! I also hate when I call a customer service number and the person does not speak English. DRIVES ME UP THE WALL!! How can you answer the phone for an American company and not understand the American on the phone??
    Boggles the mind I tell ya.

  17. 18

    Patricia says

    I had an experience virtually identical to yours with BCBS of FL and Mayo Clinic last spring. I wondered why I got the checks when the provider was “preferred” and should have gotten assignment. But, I deposited the checks, took the money and the EOBs to Mayo and paid them.

    Then I got the “letter” from BCBS. They clearly stated that they had processed the claim incorrectly and I would go to collections if I didn’t return the money. But, I didn’t have the money, Mayo did. And, I surely didn’t have $5K just lying around to repay BCBS and wait for reimbursement from Mayo when – and if – BCBS processed the claim correctly. Lots of registered letters, lots of documented calls and supervisor discussions ensued. Then Mayo refunded me the money – two days before BCBS decided that Mayo had been paid the correct amount, just by the wrong person! Now, I had to repay the money to Mayo, convince them to accept the original EOBs again – and convince them to apply the BCBS preferred provider adjustments. It took over 5 months to get a zero balance on that bill and not get stuck for any monies I truly didn’t owe.

    What did I learn? Never take money from an insurance company directly when the provider accepts assignment – just send it back, registered or courier delivery, but send it back. When the provider doesn’t get their EOB/payment, they will make the carrier adhere to their contract and pay them directly.

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    OK, this is what I would do about the car dealer. Grab your sleeping bag, some clothing and PARK your tushy in the showroom floor, until you get your mats. You might carry a sign also, so customers can SEE YOU. Of course, you risk getting arrested, but in the meantime, the newspaper will show up, making the dealer look really, really BAD. You, and I are old enough to have never gotten in trouble, and it’s time we stood up for THE RIGHT THING!!! No wonder U.S. is in such terrible financial trouble!

    Hrumpffff! stick in there, and make a nuisance of yourself. And you can write the Insurance Company one more letter, and on the bottom, indicate CC: Attorneys. That carries a lot of weight. Or instead of “Attorneys”, or added to, Senator what’s his name. Yowsie, irritating!!!

  19. 20

    AnnieO says

    I have worked in the medical field for 20 years–as a transcriptionist and historian, and it wasn’t until last year that I was made office manager that I had to deal with insurance companies and billing…no joy there. Occasionally a really nice helpful person answers the phone, but they are frequently powerless and just pass on the message, request, etc to someone else. I have been on the phone dozens of times over the past seven months with Medicare trying to get them to process paperwork to change our business address so they will release paid claims. It took a request for an advance payment to finally alert someone that they had had our paperwork for over 90 days and incorrectly handled it. My biller said to me “welcome to the world of insurance, where your time means nothing”!!!!