Now Playing: ALONE IN THE DARK commentary
After 13 days, I finally made some progress with USAA General. Thanks for all the good luck wishes and advice I've received from you. Today showed me that being proactive can both work in your favor and kick you in the ass. The latter story will get short shrift today so I can tell you a more optimistic tale.
I attempted to contact Heather again this morning, since my new strategy was to keep calling her until I got some satisfaction. After getting her voice mail several times, I decided before leaving for lunch that I was going to speak to an actual human. I bounced around the USAA phone menu options until I got a real live person. I explained my situation and she transferred me to Heather's department and one of her co-workers. In a polite but firm and calm manner, I explained to her that I was not getting any satisfaction, that I felt the investigation was moving too slowly, that I had certain financial, medical and practical inconveniences I was suffering, and that I needed something to be done today. Turns out Heather, despite what her voice mail message said, was not in the office yet, but this co-worker offered to pass along the news that I had called and needed to speak with her.
That wasn't enough, so I asked to talk to the manager. She offered to tell the manager that I called, but I wanted to make sure the manager knew my frustration. Again, I explained to the manager what my situation was and that I felt I was a victim and just wanted them to do something for me immediately. I suggested that, if they were having trouble getting in touch with Jackie by phone, by golly they could just send somebody right to her house, and, hey, I have her address right here. I said I realized they needed to complete their investigation, but I needed them to do it in a more timely fashion. What if they never completed it? What if they never spoke to Jackie, what if she moved away and never answered her phone and no one could ever find her? An exaggeration, sure, but a valid point to make. Eventually, the manager assured me that somebody would call me later in the day.
Not 20 minutes later, I'm home for lunch and the phone rings. Hey, it's Heather, and she has finally spoken to Jackie (who allegedly couldn't be reached before 5pm, even though she has a cell phone) and USAA has agreed to accept 100% liability. She immediately offered me a substantial settlement for my medical expenses (a trip to the ER and a prescription for muscle relaxants) and one day of missing work. She jumped on the computer and transferred my rental car expenses from my credit card to their account (I want to confirm this with Enterprise tomorrow). And she informed me that somebody from their Total Loss department would call me the next day and offer to settle the claim for my destroyed vehicle. She even told me the name and extension of who would be calling me, and said that if I didn't hear from anyone tomorrow to give either of them a call.
Maybe this all would have happened anyway if I hadn't been a squeaky wheel today, but it sure is a heck of a coincidence. One of my co-workers overheard the first conversation this morning, where I asked to speak to the manager, and complimented me on my effective communication skills. The irony is that I was denied a promotion at work a few hours later, principally because of my perceived ineffective communication skills. And that's all I'll say on that subject.