Tuesday, May 21, 2013

you're in good hands...

Said my husband never...at least when it comes to our current insurance company.

We changed insurance back in December 2011.  We had them drafting directly from our on-line savings account.  I was a little leery about that since they can potentially withdraw money at any time.  Typically they don't and I have no basis on being worried about it.

But as life went on, a few months after we paid our premium, in fact they did draw an additional $8 from our account.  This truly upset me not only because of what I stated earlier, but also because with on-line banks you are only allowed 6 withdraws per statement period without penalty, and I didn't want to acquire a penalty in which I would have to hold the insurance company responsible and expect the charges refunded.

Life went on and nothing further went wrong, they did refund me the $8 that they erroneously withdrew, so NBD, right?

December comes upon us again and thinking of what happened earlier in the year, I wanted to do a preemptive strike and see if instead of my bank account, could the insurance company draft the money from our credit card.

I called and asked this question to the woman who answered; we will call her Linda.  And Linda replied that yes, we can change your payment to be drafted from your credit card instead of your bank account.  I asked if there would be any additional charge and she told me that there would not be an additional charge, however since we were starting this change so late in the month and so close to our due date, she would have to make it that the draft would take place the following month on the 19th.  I said that was fine.

This was when things got very complicated.

As with any change to our insurance, we receive a tree of a policy a couple of weeks later in the mail, even if we only made a change to the payment type.  This time, the tree came with a charge.  A little over $200!  We immediately called and asked why we were charged and were told that it was because we changed our payment type from automatic draft from our checking account to automatic payment from our credit card.

We explained that we were told by Linda that there wouldn't be a charge.  We were told that Linda was new and didn't know what she was talking about.  We told them that we wanted to change the payment back to the checking account.

A couple of weeks later we received another tree.  The amount due was again a totally different number.  It wasn't what we were originally charged when we first received our bill, it was now $65 more.  We called immediately and were told that they would look into it and call us back.  They never did.  Jerome called and wrote them many emails.  We were quoted yet another amount over the phone that was $28 less than our original amount.  But before that went into effect, the insurance company withdrew the larger amount, the amount that was $65 more than what we were originally quoted.

This completely pissed off Jerome and as we were calling, emailing and getting ready to have our heads pop off in frustration because our agent was never in the office and when he was, he would blame it on his employees, we received another amount deducted from our checking account in the amount of $90!  We called again asking WTH is going on???!!!  And were told that Allstate took out that amount because we were on the yearly payment plan and because we were LATE with our yearly payment, we were charged the late fee!  We were only "late" because you had to change the date because your computer system didn't recognize that I made a change, and you had to update the system with the following month's date - YOU made us late.

Now we were getting absolutely NO WHERE, so Jerome decided to pay a visit to the office.  He became the crazy Frenchman and told the agent that he wasn't going to leave his office until he received the $65 erroneous charge + the $90 late fee.  He stayed while the agent called Corporate and had things explained to him.  He told Jerome that he would have his $90 late fee returned within 10 days and he gave Jerome the $65 in a check.

10 days came and went with NO CHECK arriving at our house.  NO reversal of the fee whatsoever.  Now Jerome called again and inquired and was told that corporate didn't approve of the reversal of the late fee.


Very rude and no customer service!  I'm sure Jerome could add MUCH more to this post as I only can keep straight these details.

What else can you do?  So, I called a local Allstate Insurance Agent and told him a little of our story.  We meet with him today to see if we can change him to our agent and if by chance we could get our $90 back.

This has been the most ridiculous thing to go through.  This is MURICA!  These things SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.

We'll see what happens tonight.

may week 2 & 3 ~ anything new and exciting?...

...condo, kitchen & kitties; respectively.


Mid-week, first thing in the morning we got a call from our condo tenants.  We had to attend to a leaky bathtub faucet...actually it was pretty much pouring out.  We took a half day and it was a simple enough fix.

We attended our first condo association meeting and expressed our concerns but mostly listened to others.  As they say, it was a lively meeting - I was smiling the whole time.

Then at the end of the third week of May, we were getting a new AC compressor installed.  With anything that we ever do to improve something, it comes with it's own set of problems.  By the end of the day though, they had working AC and I hope they are very happy about that during these very hot months.


Jerome has been working on the electrical configuration for the kitchen, which then leads to certain switches and fixtures that are just outside of the kitchen.  He wanted to make sure that the kitchen no longer had any old wiring.  He made sure that all the outlets are ground and that there are GFCIs where they need to be.  We will have several lights; recessed lighting and pendant lighting.

We had called a million companies to come and give us estimates for the drywall work.  They ranged from $950 to $1600.  We went with the $950, not only because he was the cheapest, but because he could start right away.  He really only needs to be good on the ceiling, as the walls will mostly be covered by cabinets and tile.

We hung the insulation and have been amassing many items for the kitchen, such as floor tile, backsplash tile, microwave and lighting.  We'll be buying the appliances soon.  We were going to try to get the new GE Slate appliances, but as it turns out, they don't make the stove-type that we need, so we needed to change our direction to stainless steel.


Mid-week of the third week of May, we received a phone call from our old neighbor Ruth.  She's the one that is caring for the feral cats next to our other rental property.  Apparently, someone turned her in to the police.  The police showed up, took some pictures of the feeding area and told her to stop feeding the cats.  They seemed to be most concerned with the kittens.

I spent the rest of that week trying to find anyone willing to take in these kittens.  I didn't care if it was a barn or a large piece of property.  Finally a friend of mine that I used to work with introduced me to his cousin who lives in Pontiac and has plenty of experience socializing and re-homing kittens.  My mother got me in touch with the lady that TNRs in her condo complex.  And together we spent nearly the entire Sunday trying to trap 5 kittens.  We got three in the morning and then came back and got the other two in the late evening.  Jerome and I after each trapping success, then took the kittens to the woman in Pontiac.  A total of 228 miles driven that day! Now when the police come back, Ruth can tell them that the kittens have been taken care of.  PHEW!  We still have a couple of adult cats to get fixed, but the colony is shrinking.

The tenants in that property are new and Ruth and I agreed that they are the ones that turned her in.  They are not big cat fans.  Their daughter is allergic.  The cats were making themselves nuisances in the flower box and sleeping under their cars and on our deck.

We explained what we've been trying to do and also explained that the adults will be staying there.

We will try to address the other concerns that they might have, but the cats have been there longer than the tenants have, so they need to be a little more tolerant, in my opinion.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

may week 1 ~ anything new and exciting?...


 Went to my niece Sam & her husband Mike's for their housewarming party in Pinckney.  While we were there, we also sold a lady a microwave turntable.  Had it on CL and she happened to be inquiring and we happened to be in the neighborhood, so that was a quick $10.


 Jerome had hoped that we'd be completely done with demo by the end of today.  We were not.  Sunday was remove the layers of flooring day.  Took Jerome ALL DAY!  What was under the tiles was cement board that was screwed down, then there was linoleum flooring which was glued down, then there was a thin piece of board that was nailed down, then we are finally at the original wood flooring.

Can you believe we let the water in the bucket from the hose for the fridge OVERFLOW?! and it went into the basement again, but this time it mostly landed...on the carpet.  UGH!  We've hopefully stopped the leak now.

 I finished up pulling out the nails and unscrewing the screws in the floor so that Jerome could come and finish up the last of the layer of sub-flooring.  We should be done with the demo on Tuesday night.


Spent the evening vacuuming up the walls and floors in the kitchen, the renovation is now ready to begin!

Stopped by The Tile Shop to take a look at what we might use.  And we ended up buying our flooring tile.  $1000!  Headed to Lowe's to see if we could find any backsplash tile that would go with the flooring tile, but cheaper than what you can get at The Tile Shop.  Found one we liked that was a mix of glass and stone.

Drywall guy in the morning, mom in the afternoon to the dentist and out with friends in the evening for dinner and a show.  A lot of fun and a much needed break.