Monday, 31 August 2009
Having still not heard from my agent in five days, I called her again to see if she finally decided to show up for work. Her voicemail message from Friday was still up. So, I called her boss. He couldn't be reached either. I was just about to file a complaint with the insurance commissioner after all, but I decided that before that, I should call Progressive and ask for an early payment, and let them know that their agent was worthless. I dialed their 800 number, typed in my claim number, and was connected with a real person really quickly. I explained my story about how my agent was being completely unresponsive and generally making me rather unhappy. She let me finish the story, and responded with "Oh, hi Travis. This is Sandra*."
They had actually connected me with my agent, the very one I had just bad-mouthed on the phone, and she was right there in her office. "Oh, I forgot to take my voicemail down. Thanks for letting me know." She said that she had gotten my fax and email, and hadn't really done anything with my claim yet. Grrrrr. I asked her about that imaginary law she was quoting earlier, and said that "it was their job per the insurance commissioner to find comparable vehicles," which was answering a question I hadn't asked. After more prodding, I gave up; she had clearly made it up and didn't have anything else to tell me, so she was avoiding the question.
She said that she would indeed be able to make an initial payment on the undisputed amount of the claim, and we could continue to argue about it afterward. This was the first good news I'd heard in a while. She was going to leave the office for the day in about an hour, which was going to be a problem given that she was in Lynnwood more than an hour away, and I didn't have a car. But, the office would be open an hour later. She would also call Autosource for me (after only five days of waiting? how kind), and if the total changed, she'd issue a check for a slightly larger amount.
So I looked up a route and hurried out of the office to the nearest transit center, and caught a bus up to Lynnwood. I walked half a mile to the Progressive office, and when I had arrived only a person who seemed to be a security guard was around, and that was only after I rang the doorbell several times and yelled "hello." He seemed very annoyed by my presence, but gave me an envelope in exchange for my keys and the title to the car, which I had cleverly brought with me to work that day. As I put my handle on the door I turned and asked him if I needed to sign anything. His eyes grew really wide and worried—I did need to sign something, but he had no clue what. He asked me to sign one of the lines on the title and that should be "good enough." Classy.
As I left the office I opened up the envelope to find a check as promised. Better than promised, actually—$970 better than promised. The difference between the amount I got and the "realistic expectation" amount that I was hoping for (adjusted for mileage and the transmission) was only $14, or roughly a sales tax miscalculation. She had caved. She was a pain in the ass to deal with, but she caved, and I got my money.
* Sandra is not her real name.