It was announced this week that the Federal Government was filing suit against banks for their part in the mortgage meltdown because they misrepresented the mortgages they bundled and sold for securities.
Well, I wish those of us that have had to rely information given to us by the banks were in the position to file suit against them. I’m not talking about the magnitude of their suits, but the misrepresentation they provide their customers.
I have Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and up until October 13, 2008, worked hard everyday and contributed to the economy by taking out loans and using my credit cards. I was a self-contractor which meant if I was not able to work, I had no benefits to fall back on. No sick leave, no insurance, nothing. Thankfully, when I had originally applied for the credit cards, I had signed up to purchase their disability insurance.
I continued to make payments on my loan and credit cards for several months after becoming ill, until my finances became bleak. It became obvious I wasn’t going to be going back to work soon, so I applied to receive the disability benefits. Now remind you, all the years I had held the card, I had paid the insurance premium to the credit card company. This was an amount set by them, to the insurance company of their choosing.
I have to give kudos where due, and American Health Insurance Company who services CitiFinancial has been wonderful. They picked up the payments immediately upon documentation of my disability, and continue to make the payments every month. I don’t understand why they don’t have a total disability clause that would just pay off the loan to cut down on the amount of finances charges, but nonetheless, they have taken responsibility and made the payments. Travelocity and Household Bank also have great insurance companies that lived up to my expectations.
Now, there is Applied Bank. They make the payments monthly, but it took them two months to start the benefits, and they didn’t make it retroactive. So I get calls from their office on a regular basis telling me my account is two months past due. I have had dozens of conversations with both their customer service and the insurance company. Each telling me I need to talk to the other to resolve the problem. I continue to suggest they talk to each other.
Another bank that is a problem child is Legacy. They originally didn’t want to pay out any claims because I made the payments for more than six months from my date of disability. Really? You don’t want to pay the claims because I made payments? I saved the insurance company six months of benefits! Well, eventually I got through to someone with half a brain and they applied the benefits correctly.
The grand champion of rip-off banks is Capital One. I have had an account with them for more years than I care to remember. Charged thousands of dollars and don’t even want to think how much they have received in interest. As with the others, when I made the payments, I paid the disability premium. I have spent the last two years trying to figure out how they determine benefits, but no matter how many times I have spoken to them, it makes no sense to me. I know I’m not stupid because I can comprehend the city’s $47 million dollar budget.
Well, I guess they have decided for some unknown reason, that I owe them a balance. Not a large balance, around $1,400. I decided a few months ago I was done trying to convince them if they have a problem getting payments from an insurance company that they had chosen to provide service to them, it was not my fault. I didn’t get a choice in which company they choose. I didn’t get to choose the amount of premium I paid. I didn’t get to choose anything, except to make the premiums every month.
Well, I understand that they have now filed a court action to recover this debt from me. I haven’t been served with the papers yet, but I am receiving letters from attorneys who proclaim to be able to settle my court action with Capital One for pennies on the dollar. I’m not sure what they are hoping to accomplish. Is this just another way for the big banks to take advantage of the disabled? I think so. Offer them disability insurance, get them to pay the premium then don’t cover a terminal illness as a disability. Makes you wonder if the attorneys that are now soliciting for my business are associated with the bank that is trying to screw you. Do they qualify as credit card chasers instead of ambulance chasers?
I think someone needs to monitor these credit card companies closer. I can’t imagine how difficult it could be for someone with no business sense trying to get benefits they rightly deserve. Or for those that don’t realize that you don’t have to take their initial decision as a final one. That it is ok to try to take care of the debt by yourself before applying for insurance benefits you paid for.
Capital One, how is this going to look on your next MasterCard commercial? Credit card rates 4%. Disability Premiums 5% of balance. Refusing to pay disability payments…