Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect
 

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content

 

Bristol West insurance charges what seem illegal $25 fees for not processing a credit card

| Share

by callitawrap

callitawrap's picture
member
Happened: 
In My Life

Bristol West / Farmers Insurance charged me a late fee for car insurance after the company claimed "insufficient funds" on a credit card that has no limit. The company is treating or charging a card request like a returned check or bank debit even though it's not being charged, and there's no way to dispute the wrong fees.

I spent 30 minutes on the phone with a Bristol West representative and supervisor who both claimed there was nothing the company could do to waive the fee for what employees continued to refer to as "insufficient funds". When I clearly explained that this does not have to do with a financial institution or bank returning a request for payment and that the category Bristol West reps are using as a basis for the fee that never should have been charged, it fell on deaf ears. I told the employee that a company should not be charging for a processing error to the credit card over which a customer has no control, the representative told me "it happens all the time" with credit cards and that the company charges those customers the same twenty-five dollar fee. I mentioned that they must be making a fortune in fees that shouldn't be charged then, if they're really billing customers for their own company's lack of processing or follow-through on credit card transactions. I told the Bristol West reps that I believe the fee they charged me is illegal and never should have been charged. The company's response continued to be some reference to 'insufficient funds' even though a credit card has nothing to do with insufficient funds and in fact had unlimited charge/funds availability. While the credit card has no record of the charge ever being submitted, I pointed out to Bristol West that it's outlandish to charge a fee because a card can also simply place a security hold which would mean verification is needed but that, again, it's not a charge being declined. The auto insurance company refuses to fix its own error of $25 I had to pay in order for the policy to remain current.

One of the craziest parts is that the company charging a fee should be responsible for having some type of proof as to how or why that fee is being charged. Bristol West couldn't even give an entirely straight answer other than the above but also tried to tell me that I, as the customer, was responsible for providing proof to the opposite. The insurance rep told me that I must provide proof from the credit card that the charge wasn't declined or insufficient and that's the only way the company would possibly consider looking at it. Having already spoken to the card, I knew it was a game because the credit card had no record of a submission. If there's no record of a request/submission from the company, there's nothing to provide to Bristol West. I told the employee that if they are charging me, then they should be providing the customer proof of what they're claiming as a basis for the fee - not the other way around. No company operates like that. If that was the case then any company could charge any fee at any time, without any basis, which is apparently what Bristol West seems to be doing.

Basically Bristol West (now part of Farmers Insurance as of a few years ago) is treating a credit card request for payment in the same category of bank withdrawal, which is not the same. A credit card can choose to place a security hold and need verification from its customer or the company, etc, and UNLIKE A BANK does NOT CHARGE THE MERCHANT for a transaction not being completed. Bristol West seems to think it's found a loophole in scraping fees from customers by calling an incomplete credit card transaction "insufficient funds". As I explained to the employees, insufficient funds are an absolute impossibility for a credit card that has no charge limit. In addition, the insurance company never tried contacting the credit card or trying for a second authorization in order to complete the transaction that had been authorized.

The Bristol West supervisor I talked to basically laughed. The view seems to be that customers can't do anything, the company refuses to provide any method for customers to be able to email the company in order to dispute false charges (it seems they want nothing in writing back and forth), and the insurance company basically FORCES customers to pay the fee that shouldn't be charged or lose the policy. The only way to make the policy active was to pay what's right on par with a blackmailed fee. A customer cannot pay everything but the fee, even for an inquiry by management. Bristol West simply charges whatever fee it wants and provides no method for review. This is very wrong. Someone also needs to investigate the fees that Bristol West is accruing from customers and which of those fees has been related to simple credit card requests that the company didn't follow through with. The company is charging the same amount, for a process that costs them zero, as it charges for a returned check or bank debit. This feels like a complete scam and customer service is totally absent, a joke. The Bristol West insurance site doesn't even have a contact us link or any way to email customer service representatives at all. Farmers Insurance should be absolutely ashamed to own this company and needs to drastically improve how things are run. Billing fees that shouldn't be billed and not allowing customers to contact the company or dispute those fees in any way, not only doesn't seem ethical but doesn't seem legal either.

Locations

Bristol West Insurance Group
5701 Stirling Road
Davie, FL 33314
United States
Phone: (954) 316-5200
26° 2' 50.1972" N, 80° 13' 14.6712" W
Farmers Insurance Group Corporate Office
4750 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States
Phone: (323)932-3200
34° 3' 43.4916" N, 118° 19' 59.4552" W
| Share
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Comments

Really i am impressed from

January 5, 2013 by john-curtter, 6 years 15 weeks ago

john-curtter's picture
member

Really i am impressed from this post. The person who created this post is a genius and knows how to keep the readers connected.Thanks for sharing this with us. I found it informative and interesting. Looking forward for more updates.http://carinsurance-innj.com

Private finance refers to

November 5, 2013 by bernardbert, 5 years 24 weeks ago

bernardbert's picture
member

Private finance refers to your fiscal management of which anyone or maybe a family model is required to create to obtain, spending budget, spend less, in addition to invest personal means as time passes, looking at several fiscal pitfalls in addition to foreseeable future living activities. getauto loans credit

I have had the exact same

September 10, 2014 by loserexists (not verified), 4 years 32 weeks ago

loserexists's picture

I have had the exact same issue with Bristol West. The NSF fee sounds like a total scam. I've been trying to setup EFT since April (it's September now) after my card information changed and every time they come back with this error. And every single time the NSF fee was charged illegally. The credit card company does not see any record of a declined transaction - no surprise because there shouldn't have been any declined transactions. They can't even confirm the credit card information they have on file. Am I supposed to take them on their word? I've had the fee waived now. But was told that if it happens again they won't be able to waive the fee - as if they are doing me a favor by waiving a fee which was charged illegally to begin with. Guess who'll be shopping for insurance. This company needs to be sued.

So kann man nicht nur seine

July 1, 2016 by kalkigela, 2 years 42 weeks ago

kalkigela's picture

So kann man nicht nur seine persönlichen Bedürfnisse zu erfüllen, sondern auch die finanzielle Freiheit zu gewinnen. kredit ohne schufa

Sobald Sie sich in diesem

July 20, 2016 by JuliaSydney2, 2 years 39 weeks ago

JuliaSydney2's picture

Sobald Sie sich in diesem Haushaltsloch gegraben haben, ist es schwer zu holen sie sich aus ihm heraus. Ob Sie versuchen, Autokredite zu bekommen, Cash-Darlehen, Kredit-Darlehen, oder jede andere Art von persönlichen Darlehen, können sie nur schwer zu sichern.
kredit ohne schufa

Of course, this does not mean

July 23, 2016 by ArianaRebecca7, 2 years 38 weeks ago

ArianaRebecca7's picture

Of course, this does not mean that you should not ask questions. Asking about the special offers of the day is a good idea, because you might save money or even get more for their money. chris salamone

Denken Sie daran, Barkredit

July 27, 2016 by adriddinishan, 2 years 38 weeks ago

adriddinishan's picture

Denken Sie daran, Barkredit Darlehen wurden als eine Möglichkeit, etablierte Geld zu bekommen, um Menschen schnell so mit einer Reaktionszeit in weniger als 24 Stunden die Einreichung nur einer Anwendung zu einem Zeitpunkt möglich wäre. kredit ohne schufa