Dogged Tenacity

September 2006


“I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore,” proclaims Peter Finch in the film Network. I have always felt this way. I always fight back. I never take “No” for an answer. This week, I’m fighting a $300 overcharge on my medical insurance. Phone call 1: I was told that the clinic was out-of-network. I quickly went to the website, and printed the clinic information, showing it was in-network. Phone call 2: I was then told that the clinic is in-network, but the doctor is out-of-network. I calmly pointed out to the representative that this cannot possibly be true, but was told, “Yes, that’s the way it works sometimes.” Phone call 3: I was then told that I uncovered a huge scam by the clinic to get unsuspecting clients to use their services and hopefully not notice that they are being cheated when their bill arrives. I haven’t seen my revised bill yet though, so more phone calls may be necessary to get my money.


Now it may seem that if I was worth my salt, I would be able to fight each battle in one phone call quickly and decisively. Not so. We’re working with human beings here. It takes patience, persistence, and strategy.


I just sent off a letter yesterday to a credit card company that promised $75 in gifts cards for using the card and spending lots of money. When the card arrived, no mention of this great deal was included in my paperwork. I called twice to inquire. Neither representative could find this deal listed on my account. Luckily, I still had the original application paperwork, which I promptly photocopied and included it with a friendly letter demanding that I get my $75.


A humorous incident happened in July after all the Charter Internet outages due to storms. I called to get a credit for the week I lost service. Since I called in to report the outage the day it occurred, the credit was given to me. But when I asked to be credited for two days of lost service from an earlier week, I was told that since I didn’t call to report this outage, I couldn’t receive a credit. I reminded the agent that all of Dane county was out for those two days, and when I tried to call, a computer informed me of a 55 minute wait to speak with a person. She said that didn’t matter, I couldn’t get the credit. “OK,” I said and called back two days later to get the credit from a different agent. I couldn’t keep my laughter contained after that prime example of how this world seems to work nowadays.


Here’s one of my best ones. My daughter got a speeding ticket for going 88 in a 55. She was clocked by an airplane (supposedly) and ticketed by a patrol car (of course). Big mistake for the police to leave such a loophole. It took three court appearances before the DA finally broke down and called me one morning, saying, “OK, how about 6 months probation and nothing shows up on your daughter’s record?” I said, “Yes, that’ll work.”