On January 1st, a friend of mine went to visit another friend in CT (I am from NJ), and unfortunately hit black ice, and proceeded into a guardrail. The accident, although at the time did not seem too terrible (even though the front end looked completely shot), and I figured I would be up and driving relatively soon. Little did I know this would not be true at all…
The initial call to Geico was great. Melissa, the operator who received my call was gracious, sweet, and understanding. Upon telling her the story of the accident, she said she would wave the “first 50 miles” clause, and allow me to get my car towed to my shop of choice, All Phase Automotive in Nyack, NY. So, after I thought I would have the car towed the next day, I rented a car (on my own dime, damned lack of rental coverage), and drove back.
For the next two days, Geico refused to find a tow operator to get my car towed to my shop of choice, and said they would only pay to have it towed some where in CT (despite my willingness to pay for the extra miles), and ended up referring me to Durable Radiator and Auto-body in Waterbury, CT.
Now with the car still in front of my friend’s house, it took Durable a further two days to pick the car up, and a full three weeks to allow for a Geico adjuster to even get an estimate, which initially came to $6200. Every call placed to either Geico, or Durable yielded no result save for blaming of the other party. It was either a computer problem on Durable’s end with concern to submitting the claim, or Geico not receiving the correct info. Either way, my spidey senses were tingling on this one.
With the estimate finally completed it was merely a waiting game. On Feb 13th, I placed a call to Durable to find out when the car would be ready, and was told it was in painting (the same answer I would then get for the next two weeks of calls). Finally, on March 5th, a day shy of the three month mark, I was told my car was ready and could pick it up. So, come that Friday, I schlepped from my home to the shop, picked up my car, and being happy to have my car back, did not give it the thorough examination I should have, at the time trusting an authorized Geico shop. This is where the fun truly begins.
The following day was the first instance of night driving that occurred after I picked up the car. What happened you ask? No odometer and speedometer lights. Now, I’m starting to panic. I’m asking myself what else could be wrong? So, the following Monday, as soon as they open, I bring the car to the shop I wanted to from the very beginning. Mike, ever the great shop owner puts my car on priority, and proceeds to check it as I head back to work. Not an hour later, he finds GLARING repair issues ranging from aftermarket parts that were not installed properly, to shoddy painting, parts that were billed but never replaced, and the best part, a bent frame. Not being one to stand around and watch a friend and customer be taken advantage of, Mike begins the process of getting a claims adjuster back down to his shop to look things over. Upon doing so the next day (now the 11th) Bryan, the new adjuster totals the car. Upon explanation of my bill, he tells me that although the initial amount was $6200, Durable charged an extra $3000!!! for supplement work they did not even do properly.
So, at this point, although I am livid, I feel a bit of justification seeing as the right thing was being done. The next day, I get a call telling me they cannot total the car. My heart sinks. How could Geico total the car one day, and UNTOTAL it the next? This sort of thing would have been inconceivable to me before this moment. Fortunately, the following day they re-totaled the car, and I was told I should get a check within five business days. Sounds all well and good right?
Well, after three separate phone calls to the total loss representative assigned to my case, I have not yet received word back, and I am still left carless, and with no idea when I am to receive my check. Not only was my car not repaired properly, but because Geico steered me to one of their shops illegally, I’ve been without a car for close to four months, and thus far have no recourse. I just felt that although their commercials appear to allow them to perform small to large miracles, this time around, they failed me as a customer, and as such, the loyal readers of The Consumerist should know to beware.
Sounds like Jonathan needs some TLE (Tender Loving Escalation). Some ideas for shaking the tree: Here are some executive emails that you could blast your story off to:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, BoJordan@GEICO.COm, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
You could also try mailing a complaint letter to Warren Buffet’s office (he owns Berkshire Hathaway, which owns GEICO). Poop runs downhill, as they say.
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC.
1440 Kiewit Plaza
Omaha, NE 68131
And GEICO, if you’re reading this, give this man his money!