Home > kidney disease, Life as a Widow, Love never dies, New Journeys > The frustrations of dealing with a bureaucracy that doesn’t give a….

The frustrations of dealing with a bureaucracy that doesn’t give a….

BureaucraticBSWhen someone close to you passes away, you are suddenly forced to make decisions, contact companies, and try to put all sorts of things into perspective and some semblance of order. This is definitely no easy task for someone who is grieving.

I have encountered numerous frustrations from some of the companies that I have had to call to inform them that Mark had passed away. I certainly understand this because Mark was a Teacher for the State of NJ. That translates to “government” so you know that they are going to move at a snail’s pace. I have accepted that, and I realize that I will have to make numerous follow up calls to ensure that they do what they need to do.

The Social Security Administration, who also handles the Medicare system (which Mark had because of his End Stage Renal Disease) was another government entity that screwed things up, and probably will continue to do so. In a nutshell, I called Medicare to inform them that Mark had passed away. They told me to call the Social Security Administration. I did call them, but I had to hold for a long time. They told me that they would cancel his Medicare coverage and stop the payments from being debited. I also inquired about the Social Security Death Benefit which is a whopping $255. They told me that I needed to have a “phone interview” to collect it. They told me that I would receive a date to do this via a letter in the mail. It’s been three weeks since I contacted them. I am still waiting on the letter.

Wouldn’t you know that Social Security/Medicare actually debited the Medicare payment AFTER I reported him as deceased.  When I called again, I was told that a form would need to be mailed to me, and after they received it back, I would get the refund in 4-6 weeks. I was placed on hold for an hour while the moron tried to locate the form. I finally gave up and called back the next day. I spoke with someone else who informed me that there was no form, but he contacted the billing department, and I would receive a check in the mail in 4 weeks.

Ok, so here’s the thing that pissed me off today. Let me back track a little bit. Mark had a car loan for his Buick LaCrosse. The loan was with Chase Auto Finance. I was not on the loan, and I had no responsibility for the loan or the car. After Mark passed away, I called Chase who informed me that the “probate department” would have to call me in 48 hours. They called after nearly 3 1/2 days, and I spoke with someone in that department. I was told that I had three options:

  • Pay off the vehicle
  • Assume the car loan
  • Surrender the vehicle

Well, I obviously chose to surrender the vehicle. I didn’t want it, and I certainly did NOT want that car payment. The Probate Representative were very kind and helpful. I was told that I needed to fax a letter with a copy of the death certificate to them. The letter needed to state that I wanted to surrender the vehicle, and that there were no assets and no probate. She said that once they received the letter and death certificate, they would have a company call me who would pick up the vehicle. I was told that they would sell the car, and if they received more money than was owed, Mark’s estate would receive a check. If they sold the car for less than was owed, they would just “eat the loss”.

It all went as planned. A day after faxing the required documents to Chase, a very nice gentleman called me from a Recovery Service to schedule a pick up. I scheduled it for Saturday, the 2nd of February. The man showed up, and he was kind and polite. He signed my “receipt” and offered his condolences on the loss of my husband. Nice guy and very professional. I figured at this point I was done with them as I was sure I was not getting a check from them!

Today I receive a letter from Chase Auto Finance. This is what it says:

Dear Mark Clark:

We have your 2010 Buick La Crosse because you broke the promise in our agreement.

We will sell the Vehicle at private sale sometime after 2/17/2013.

The money that we get from the sale (after paying our costs) will reduce the amount you owe. If we get less money that you owe, you will still owe us the difference. If we get more money that you owe, you will get the extra money, unless we must pay it to someone else.

You can get the Vehicle back at any time before we sell it by paying us the full amount you owe (not just the past due payments), including our expenses. To learn the exact amount you must pay, call us at the telephone number provided below.

If you want us to explain to you in writing how we have figured the amount that you owe us, you may call us at the telephone number provided below and request a written explanation.

If you need more information about your right to redeem the Vehicle, the mount needed to redeem the Vehicle, or the sale of the Vehicle,call us at the telephone number below.

We are sending this notice to the following other people who have an interest in the Vehicle or who owe money under your agreement.

The purpose of this letter is to assist us in collecting a consumer debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. Your immediate attention to this matter is anticipated.

Sincerely, Redemption Department

This letter was obviously a form letter, however IF the person sending the letter read the notes in my file (or the computer spilled out a correct listing of people who should actually receive this letter), I would not have gotten it. There were so many things in this letter that were so wrong.

First of all, Chase’s record should note that Mark is dead. The file was in the Probate Department, and they received a Death Certificate. So because he is dead, he did not break his promise to pay the loan! He friggin’ died!

Then I was told that because Mark died with no assets, and I was not on the loan, if they sold the vehicle than what was owed, they would “eat the loss”. The letter stated that he will owe the difference.

The letter states that “We are sending this notice to the following other people who have an interest in the Vehicle or who owe money under your agreement.”  There was no list following, and if they looked at their records, they would see that Mark was solely responsible for the loan.

And my personal favorite part of this letter is the last line that states, “Your immediate attention to this matter is anticipated”. Ok, what part of “HE’S DEAD!” do you not get???

I called the number on the letter. The woman transferred me to someone in the Redemption Department. She asked me ALL the information that was required to access the account (the account number, Mark’s social security number, the vehicle type, our home address, and the phone number on file). I gave her everything she asked, and she wanted to know how she could help me. I told her about the letter that I received. She told me that she was not allowed to help me because I am not authorized on the account. I asked her how this could be if I was able to access it to surrender the car back to them. She kept repeating that she couldn’t help me. I asked her who could, and she told me that I needed to contact the Probate Department. I asked her if the file was in the Probate Department, why was Mark being asked to call the redemption department? Obviously if it was in Probate, that would mean he was dead. She told me that she couldn’t help me because I am not on the account.

When I asked who I should contact to get this straightened out, and again the ignorant bimbo said she couldn’t give me any information because I was not on the account. I asked her to transfer me to Probate. She informed me that they close at 5:30 PM. It was 5:32 PM. It figures.

I guess tomorrow I will call the Probate Department because this is wrong on so many levels. It never should have gone to the Redemption Department because Mark was deceased. Obviously he is not going to call them to get his car back. And I should NOT have to deal with the stupidity of it all when my husband has died! And that representative could not have been colder to me. Never did she apologize for not being able to help me. Never did she offer her condolences.

Too bad I didn’t have $1.00 for each time she told me that she couldn’t help me, I’d be able to put gas in my car!!

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  1. Veronica York
    February 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    This is so ridiculous but totally believable. The idiotic bureaucracy never ceases to amaze me. It is such a struggle, one you certainly do not need to deal with. Stay strong!!!

  2. jaren
    February 12, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    you need to shut off your house phone, and return all mail with the words “deceased” on it. I know you are trying to do the right thing, but the companies all know Mark passed away, they are too damn lazy to read the notes. it they are that lazy, then fuck ’em. shut off the phone etc…you have your cell. combined, they have no brain. I’m sorry Bonni. You can always let me at ’em! I love shit like this!!!

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