How do I stop a company from billing me for services I didn't ask for?
September 16, 2012 4:28 PM   Subscribe

How do I stop a company from billing me for services I didn't ask for?

Earlier this year (February) I searched for the best deal on car insurance by asking for quotes from various companies. One company, Countrywide, decided to bill me without any signed agreement (i.e., I received the quote, opted for a better offer, and they decided to bill me regardless).

After a collection agency contacted me, I spoke directly with the sales agent (after an on-going struggle, they decided to reverse the bill - how awesome that a company would agree not to bill you for something you didn't agree to, am I right?). Directly following, THEY BILLED ME FOR ANOTHER 6 MONTH POLICY starting directly after they cancelled the aforementioned policy.

Why is this happening? How do I make this stop? Is this a situation the calls for legal recourse? I don't want my credit to be destroyed because an agent decides to perpetually bill me for something I didn't ask (or sign) for.
posted by platosadvocate to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Report them to your state's insurance regulatory body.
posted by lathrop at 4:56 PM on September 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

Also report them to the BBB and email your story to Consumerist.

I know, the BBB has no teeth. But I've found that companies keep track anyway and are way faster at resolving issues once the BBB is notified.
posted by vegartanipla at 5:40 PM on September 16, 2012

Are you paying via credit card? If you make a good faith effort to get Countrywide to reverse this charge and they refuse, you can initiate a chargeback with your credit card company. The chargeback process is usually very favorable to the customer.
posted by phoenixy at 5:42 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do everything in writing from now on. If they contact you by phone, tell them you will communicate in writing only. Send a letter with a calm, dispassionate recitation of the events up to now. Cc your state's insurance regulatory body, as lathrop suggests. State also that if they make or have made a false report to a credit agency you will seek damages as provided by law.
posted by palliser at 5:46 PM on September 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, I just realized that when you say billed you probably meant you hadn't paid yet, they just sent you a bill. My suggestion is unhelpful in that case.

Another, hopefully more helpful, suggestion: deal with it sooner rather than later. Auto insurance is generally pro-rated based on how long you had insurance--the six month contract term is to protect you, not the insurer; you can leave at any time and get the money for the unused part of your insurance term back. It will probably be easier to deal with them before you've had six months of unwanted services rendered and while the amount of money at stake is small.
posted by phoenixy at 6:09 PM on September 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

palliser has it right. I had a similar issue (repeatedly messing up a billing after straightening things out over the phone), and things settled down very quickly once I started putting things in writing.
posted by Doohickie at 7:30 PM on September 16, 2012

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