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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Should Be Illegal

Several years back I read a book called Simplify Your Life. My life is like a multi-faceted gem, with bits and pieces of me aimed and reflected in many different directions at any given time. A full plate, if you will. It has been that way as long as I can remember. Well, that's not entirely so. It has been that way since becoming a single parent in 1992 with a first-grader. In order to live on my own (as opposed to living with my mom and dad, or living in a refrigerator box under the bridge), it was, and is necessary for me to work a full-time job, and at least one part-time job. Once Whitney reached middle-school age, life became even more hectic in that she was involved in band and other extra-curricular activities that kept both of us pretty busy. I believe it was during this time that I discovered the above-mentioned book, and decided that if anyone's life needed simplifying, it was surely mine. There were lots of great tips in the book, and I recall putting many of them into practice. The main one that has stayed with me through all of these years is the one regarding junk mail. When I first read the book, I had a post-office box in town. "Go through your mail and throw out the junk mail before leaving the post office." I loved that one. Now I know why there was always such a giant trash receptacle in the post office lobby! I would go through and throw away the junk mail in THEIR trash can, and never even take it home. How wonderful that was! For many years now, I haven't had a P.O. box, rather my mail is delivered to a mailbox at the end of my driveway. I still try to utilize this tool, though, and immediately sort through the mail, and separate it into Junk Mail, My Mail, and Whitney/Dustin's Mail. I'm fairly good at making it to the trash can with the junk mail in a timely fashion, but sometimes I'm a slacker, and leave it lying around on my desk, my nightstand, my floor.. you get the picture. I'm not really a tree hugger, per se, but I do like to do my part in saving the planet, and don't really enjoy seeing a lot of wasted paper. Therefore, I have opted to receive a good many of my bills and correspondence electronically. Saves a few trees, and saves me from having to sort, file, and keep up with all that paper. Yet and still, some of those same companies continue to send me mail. 98% of it is junk mail and goes straight into the trash. Which brings me to the main point of my post.

Yesterday I noticed a "letter" from Wells Fargo, who holds the note on my car. I pay my bill online, and don't have any other accounts with them, so I assumed this was another "invitation" to loan me some money. Something looked a tad different, though, so I decided to take a look. Inside I found a letter stating that I must verify the collateral securing my account is properly insured. bla bla bla. Bottom line is, if I don't prove that I have insurance within 15 days, they will "buy" insurance for me, and add $799.00 to the unpaid balance of my account, and will charge interest on the amount. OR they might divide up the premium and add it to my car payment each month. Bear in mind, this $799.00 policy would only be insurance to cover loss or damage to the vehicle, not liability or personal injury.

Are you kidding me? Is this even legal? How many people will toss their letter into the trash, like I almost did, and subsequently incur this ridiculous expense? I dunno... maybe this is a routine, or normal thing to happen, but I don't recall ever having to do this before. I'm just so thankful I didn't toss it away. Especially after the fiasco I've been through with my mortgage company being shut down by the feds, and all of the time, trouble, and expense resulting from that. Sheesh.

So let me just add that to my List Of Things To Do. I suppose I need to pay more attention to my "junk" mail. No telling what I might inadvertently order or sign up for by default if I fail to return the enclosed refusal, or fail to call or e-mail. Good grief. I think I need to read that book again. I'm feeling the need for some serious simplifying. Or perhaps a book on cloning myself might be more useful.


  1. As you know, lenders routinely require insurance for a vehicle, home or business they finance and consequently, are allowed to check to make sure you still have coverage. Have you changed auto insurance providers since you got the loan? If so, the lender received a cancellation notice from your former insurance company but has not been notified of the new coverage. Even if you do all of your business with the lender online, they're still going to notify you by mail for something that important (though it would seem reasonable to expect an e-mail as well if they're sending statements to your e-mail account). If that's the case, all you need to do is provide them with proof of insurance.

    If you haven't changed insurance companies you might want to call the state Insurance Commissioner's office to file a complaint. Unless you did something to trigger the letter, if it's not illegal it should be!

  2. COM, that's a great idea! I will certainly make that phone call. Nothing about my insurance coverage has changed. I've had coverage with the State Farm office in Winder since I started driving many years ago! The premiums are paid monthly via bank draft. My daddy raised me to be insurance-conscious (translated 'insurance poor'), and my insurance payment is very high on the list of Who Gets Paid First each month! Frankly, I wouldn't even mind if they asked me to provide proof of coverage... that is a reasonable request... but to tell me if it is not done within 15 days they will charge me $799.00? That's what really ticked me off. I can't even give them the benefit if the doubt that they've tried contacting me about it earlier, (and maybe it got tossed in the trash... haha...) because nowhere on this letter does it state anything like "Second Request", or "In our previous letter to you..." nada, zip. Maybe I'll just give Mr. Oxendine's office a call. Or maybe the BBB. Wish me luck!

  3. Then I'd definitely give Oxendine a call. The part that should be illegal is the negative option--that it will happen unless they hear from you. I look forward to reading more about this!