I’ve mentioned my debt struggles numerous times on this blog. As part of our journey towards becoming debt free, my wife worked with debt consolidation company, CareOne Debt Relief Services, to consolidate all of her outstanding medical debts into one payment.
Of course that didn’t last long when we discovered that our local hospital does not accept any payment plans other than a loan from the bank that has a loan officer in their billing department. So now my wife has two payments for her jaunt to the emergency room instead of one. At least they are both scheduled to be paid off within three years.
New Debt Problems
But then two weeks ago, my wife came into work to an unpleasant surprise. There was a summons to appear in court, served to her boss. A collections agency is suing her for the balance remaining on her bill.
All creditors had to sign on to the payment plan to be accepted. That’s what happened with the hospital, they rejected the plan. But everyone else accepted it. One, however, seems to have sold the account to another bill collector. And this one isn’t accepting the payment plan. We are going to have to come to other arrangements with them… by Thursday when we have to appear in court.
So far, this isn’t CareOne’s fault. They did everything as they should. It was a creditor that changed their mind. And they did their best to resolve their issue. If a creditor would rather ruin somebody’s life than take regular payments, there isn’t much they can do about it.
CareOne Poor Customer Service
Where the problems with CareOne started was with their customer service team. I’ve found them to be poorly informed, about my case and their own operations. In twenty-four hours, I got three completely different answers as to the status of the dispute. And one person even told me that the department I had been speaking to previously doesn’t exist!
Here is a short timeline:
Friday March 15: Receive summons to appear in small claims court from Account Brokers of Larimer County.
Saturday March 16: contact CareOne about issue. I was informed that their legal department would contact me on Monday to help get this problem resolved.
Monday March 18: CareOne legal department calls. I explained the situation and they asked me to fax them a copy of the summons. I faxed it in and they confirmed receipt and said that they would send out a new payment plan to the creditor. So far, so good. Right?
Things fall apart
Tuesday March 26: We were starting to get antsy. That court date is only 9 days away at this point, and we need to know if my wife needs to take the day off. So we contacted customer service. They told us that the issue had been resolved and that someone from the legal department would call us in the morning to confirm with us that we no longer had to worry about court.
Wednesday March 27: We waited most of the day for this phone call, but it never came. Finally, I called.
Call #1: In my first phone call of the day, I was told that the issue had NOT been resolved and the case was still open and they were still working to resolve it.
Call #2: 10 minutes later, I called back and asked to speak with the legal department to get the answer straight from them as to whether or not the issue had been resolved. This representative told me that CareOne didn’t HAVE a legal department! I calmly explained to her that I had spoken to said department just last week. She continued to insist that no department existed. I asked to speak to a manager.
After waiting on hold for 5 minutes, she informed me that none were currently available and one would call me back… within 24 hours. She took my number (which I had previously given as the best number to reach us).
Call #3: Someone from CareOne (presumably a manager, or possibly the non-existent legal department) calls… my wife. Unfortunately, she was unable to take the call (one reason I asked them to call my number). She informed me and I called back.
Call #4: Two hours after I the first phone call of the day, and just under 24 hours since the conversation stating that the issue was resolved, I called again. This time, I was informed that the creditor had responded to the payment plan and rejected it. This had apparently happened earlier in the week.
- The customer service representative that said that the issue had been resolved LIED.
- The customer service representative that said the issue was still open LIED.
- And the customer service representative that said that no legal department existed LIED.
In all this, I also came to find out that they are charging us $600 a year in fees. For that amount, I would expect representatives that can actually read a case file and give a straight answer. And also know the layout of their own organization.
Do you have any customer service horror stories? Share below!