State Farm Isn’t All There

Short Story: State Farm sends a letter telling Rick he was ID’d as fleeing a hit-and-run accident. They claim to have a photograph of Rick.

Problem: Rick wasn’t in town at the time. Problem: They license number they give isn’t his. Problem: They tell Rick to bring his car in for identification or they’ll get a warrant.

State Farm’s Problem: Rick has a cousin who works in British Intelligence.

Long Story: Inside.

Rick: hey
Rick: have a consumer complaint
fakeout: What’s up?
Rick: I got a note over the weekend from State Farm, saying I’d been identified in a “Hit and Run” on “Collingwood Street” in San Francisco on July 29, 2006 with a form asking me for my insurance information. I was not in San Francisco the last week of July and my car was in the parking garage, both copies of the keys were with me. Google Maps shows Collingwood to be on the other side of town.
Rick: so I rang State Farm, talked to a “David” on Team 6, who told me that someone had photographed my plate as “6GCV544”, but that the photograph wasn’t available, they verified the plate with DMV (however, the plates on my car are “6GCU544”) [plate number changed for protection]. The other gentleman has a black Mitsubishi Montero, ,which is evidently an SUV. they then asked me if they could come take a look at my car. I inquired as to why. Their response: “If you don’t cooperate, we’ll get a warrant”
Rick: I responded, “If you would give me consistent, correct information, I would be happy to cooperate with you. Thus far, you have given me an incorrect license plate, and are now resorting to threats to get me to cooperate. Tell you what, I’ll have my mates at Thames House give you a call and you can threaten them. Thank you very much” and I hung up
fakeout: What an aggravation.
Rick: indeed
Rick: but I hope they got the message
fakeout: So you have friends at MI5?
Rick: cousin
Rick: I’m British
fakeout: Wouldn’t that be a darling of a call to listen to.
Rick: AT&T will probably record it
fakeout: Well sounds like State Farm really doesn’t have their facts straight. Pretty ridiculous.
Rick: no, they don’t
Rick: but they still want me to take my car to their office to have them look at it
fakeout: Unfortunate that David will have to die by an exploding umbrella.
Rick: come again?
fakeout: Exploding umbrella… espionage doings…
Rick: Get Smart?
fakeout: In the vein. So wait, they first said they would come to see the car and now they want you to bring it?
Rick: yes
Rick: their story seems to change over the course of a phone conversation
Rick: at the end of the conversation, they said the person photographed me [at the scene]
Rick: I then informed them “if that were indeed the case, it’s unique in natural history as I was out of town that whole month on vacation with my family in Europe. If you have a picture of me at the scene, submit it to the Vatican, I could use a sainthood.”
fakeout: rodger, well we have about all we need for a satisfactory post
fakeout: closing remarks?
Rick: State Farm really ought to do their homework before sending out rubbish letters like this.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Was the plate number (since it was changed) actually one letter off and as close as U to V? If so, I can understand the mistake (Not that I agree they handled it well, but I can understand how the mistake was made).

    or was it like “KE394K” and “FI950I”?

  2. Ben Popken says:

    I changed the plate number to protect Rick, but the originals were also only different by a U and V.

  3. Smoking Pope says:

    Gather evidence of your trip out of the country (passport) to prove you weren’t around. Get someone who knows your car never moved (neighbor).

    Tell State Farm they can come look at the car, but you won’t be going out of your way at all to help them since they’re quite obviously incompetent.

    After it’s all said and done, add up the hours you’ve spent dealing with this nonsense, multiply by your hourly rate (or some reasonable number), and demand to get a credit for that amount for wasting your time.

  4. Plasmafire says:

    Can I smell a lawsuit brewing?

  5. Drinker Nisti says:

    Why is a private company doing the work of the police? I assume a police report was filed if it was a hit-and-run. I don’t see how State Farm could possibly get a warrant if the license is clearly wrong. I’m no lawyer, however…

  6. Elsewhere says:

    What a lovely bit of strangeness, starting with the fact that while the San Francisco Police Department can get a warrant in furtherance of an ongoing investigation (which is what a hit and run accident would be), State Farm Insurance cannot.

    How sure is Rick that the call came from State Farm Insurance? Does he have a callback number to check with reverse directory assistance, or an office location? Does Rick have buddies who would get off on calling him and yanking his chain, and getting him to invoke his “special” relationship with MI5?

    And what, I can’t help wondering, would MI5 do? Infiltrate State Farm and neutralize the claims adjustor? Mind you, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve gotten into a jam in London and the CIA has come to my aid (Thanks, Dad, thanks Uncle Carl!) and disappeared some obnoxious chav who claimed it was me they saw boosting/lifting/coercing or whatever. I’m sure MI5 must have agents just waiting to get involved in U.S.-based insurance claims….

    So far, Rick has two courses of action that I can see. The first would be to contact the SFPD with information regarding the alleged accident to report that he had been threatened with a warrant by the insurance company. I just have the funny feeling that that kind of threat isn’t, how shall I say, legal, and the police might be interested.

    The second would be to contact the office of the California Department of Insurance at their Consumer Hotline 800-927-HELP (4357) and let them in on it as well. That might save MI5 a couple of thousand £’s in airfare and ‘xplodin brollys, too!

  7. Elsewhere says:

    Well, my bad. After re-reading the beginning of the post I see it was a letter that started off the chain of events.

    Mea culpa. Mea, mea. Culpa culpa.

  8. bones says:

    First I would contact an attorney, immediately. The longer you wait, the higher the chance State farm can insist you could have had body work done to “repair” evidence of an accident. I would not allow anyone access to the car, as a matter of fact i would move the car to an enclosed location so no surepitious “photos” of the car, suddenly appearing damage, or other planted paint chips, etc could “accidently” show up. Remember state farm can hire private investigators to track you and your car, these guys get paid for delivering desired results and if they get a bonus if they turn up info that helps their client, it isn’t a stretch to say some of these guys could “plant” a little evidence to get you to cop to a “settlement”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Rick’s wonderfully droll humor really makes this story. You know, if American insurance companies used just a sliver of wit that Rick amply demonstrated, I’d engage in a hit-and-run or two for the simple pleasure of speaking to an amusing adjuster…

  10. Ben Popken says:

    Cory writes:

    “Rick needs to not only document his trip oversees but, also take photos
    (time and date stamped) of his vehicle from all four sides. He may also
    want to take some pictures of his bumpers with a tape measure showing
    the height of the bumpers. I don’t know what Rick drives, but a Montero
    is fairly high off the ground and knowing how high the bumpers are can
    easily prove that he didn’t do it if the damage to this other person’s
    vehicle is too high or low. See if you can get them in writing or with
    photos to tell/show where the damage is, what color the paint transfer
    is, and how severe the damage is.

    An easier way may also be to get his insurance company involved, if he
    has one. They are there to defend you in these cases and they will
    because if they don’t, they are also there to pay for the damage to this
    guys vehicle.

    Also did State Farm have the right make and model for Rick’s car?”

  11. medalian1 says:

    The insurance company getting a warrant to look at your car? Doesn’t make sense. That’s what the police do. This could have just been a prank by a friend or ex or something