Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hosed by State Farm

In the last couple of weeks, I watched a lot of great basketball and saw a lot of stupid State Farm commercials. To me, any State Farm commercial is an affront. Every time I see one I think about how State Farm won’t pay $7,000 to repair my roof, but can dish out the big bucks to be the marquee sponsor of the NCAA tournament.

I’d like State Farm better if they promoted less and paid more. To put it another way, these ads could fix a whole lot of hurricane damage.

Insurance is about trust. You can’t buy trust during a college basketball tournament. You earn it by living up to your word.

Nevertheless, there is State Farm at every TV timeout, telling us how their insurance is more complete than their competitors. In one spot, a guy gets his car washed. He’s horrified to learn it hasn’t been rinsed. A goofball attendant reminds him that he paid for a wash … not a rinse.

This is a heavy-headed metaphor for State Farm. The message is that State Farm covers everything … the wash and the rinse.

Indeed. If my experience with State Farm is any indication, they are bound to give you a good hosing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

State Farm: You're No Panasonic

I was recently pleasantly surprised to find that some companies (not named State Farm) are actually still interested in satisfying their customers.

The experience didn’t exactly start out as an ode to customer service. My big-ticket, flat screen television was being invaded by red and blue blobs. The TV is new enough to be new, but old enough to be outside of warranty.

I reached for the Pepto-Bismol and the telephone. Someone in India answered. I was transferred a couple of times. More heartburn. I was already drafting a complaint letter to Panasonic in my head when something unexpected happened.

I found someone who actually seemed knowledgeable about my problem. He led me through a couple of diagnostic tests. When nothing improved, he promised to send out a technician at no cost. Within a week, my television was fixed.

Remember, this television was outside of warranty. Was this a recall? Was it a known problem? I don’t know and frankly don’t care. All I know is ESPN never looked so good.

Next time I’m in the market for a new TV, Panasonic will definitely be in my “consideration set,” as the marketing people are prone to say.

State Farm could learn from these guys.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

State Farm Should Get a Clue

Not surprisingly, State Farm’s engineer has delivered a report in which he finds the company has no culpability for damage to my roof.

Here’s what he does blame:
  • Poor adhesion of shingles
  • Overlapping shingles
  • Old shingles
  • Weathered shingles
  • High nailing
  • Short nailing
  • Finger-nailing (just kidding about that one)
  • Poor ventilation
Here’s my theory: Mr. White did it on the roof with a candlestick.

In all seriousness, the report includes so many different explanations that it reminds me of a guilty man in an interrogation room searching for an alibi.

The engineer blames anything and everything except the most obvious – 80 mph winds from Hurricane Ike that damaged the roofs of every home around me. Their claims have been paid. Meanwhile, I’ve lost shingles, just like the roofers said I would.

Take heed, people, having State Farm insurance is like having no insurance at all.