Friday, June 10, 2011

Seeing through a claim

So Nancie and I were horrified when a certain company's product that we applied to our pets actually ruined our less than four month old couches.  What is worst is that the documentation that came with the product made no mention of this possible side effect.  Nancie had the good sense of calling them to let them know what had happened, ask why there isn't mention of this potential problem in their documentation, and to see if they could do anything to help us out.  The representative at the company told Nancie that we could file a claim.  What follows is the email exchange I had with the representative afterwards.  I am only posting my side of the correspondence and have made some slight modifications to the text respect confidentiality clauses.

Initial email to confirm my understanding of the procedure we were asked to follow.   This is after having the specialist from the repair shop over to do his initial assessment.

Sent: 05/30/2011 07:17 PM
Dear Ms. Smith,

I am contacting you with an update regarding our upcoming claim for damages to our new leather sofa and love seat caused by coming into contact with our two dogs after having been treated with your company's product. I beleive that you have had phone conversation with my partner, copied here, on May 17 regarding how we should be proceeding with our claim submission.

As instructed we have contacted a repair service to request an estimate and have had a preliminary visit by one of their specialists to asses the damages. The specialist has assured us that he will be able to provide us with a final estimate at some point in the coming week after having verified the availability and cost of parts. Please note that we have already disbursed $142.41 in fees for this visit. These fees will be applicable towards the cost of the repair should we proceed with it.

We hope that you will find the steps we have taken to date to be satisfactory and in line with your expectations of how we should be handling the claim. Please let us know if we are missing anything needed for a quick resolution to this unfortunate incident.

kind regards,
Paul Fournier

Ms. Smith responded that I should also include some pictures of the couch damages with my claim and reminded me that it would take 3-4 weeks to process the cheque once the claim had been approved. 

Sent: 06/07/2011 05:34 PM
Dear Ms. Smith,

I have just received the estimate from Atelier Johnson regarding the repair. Unfortunately it seems that it is not possible to order the necessary parts and Mr. Johnson advises that a complete replacement is the only possible way of restoring our new sofa and love seat to their former state. I have attached his insurance claim form to this email for you to review and I invite you to contact him directly should you have any questions about his findings. You will be able to find the estimate on the second worksheet of the excel document which also acknowledges that we paid $142.41 for the inspection and report.

As requested I have also attached a zipped archive of the pictures we took of the damages that were caused by our pets after being treated with your company's product. Also included in the archive is a scanned copy of the receipt for the sofa and love seat at the time of purchase, totaling $2,751.22 (incl. delivery).

Please let us know if you require any additional information or if you would like us to take additional steps. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Paul Fournier

Ms. Smith then informed me that the company imposed a limit of $2,500 for a repair claim and asked for confirmation of whether or not we wanted to accept their offer.  I debated seriously whether or not I should try to pursue the matter or if I should just accept.  I opted to at least try to politely point out some of the flaws in their thinking.

Sent: 06/09/2011 06:04 AM
Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you for getting back to us so promptly.

While we appreciate the fact that the final figure of $2,893.63 (including the cost of the estimate) may be unusually high we are not sure we understand the logic of limiting the reimbursement to $2,500.00. In the end we still find ourselves, should we accept your offer, in a position where we are "out of pocket" for $393.63 as a direct result of the lack of warning in the documentation that comes with your company's product.

I should also point out that we are not discussing a repair but rather a replacement due to the fact that we are unable to obtain the necessary parts as reported in Mr. Johnson's estimate. This, despite the fact that the couch is only 4 months old.

Again, we are not necessarily trying to negotiate a higher reimbursement. We would simply like to understand the logic that is being applied in making the decision of limiting the maximum claim amount as you propose. If the explanation is sound we will gladly accept.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Paul Fournier

Finally, a happy ending to the exchange with Ms. Smith letting us know that they have agreed to pay the full amount.

Sent: 06/10/2011 05:46 PM
Dear Ms. Smith,

That is good news. We thank you for the consideration you have shown our request regarding this matter. Please extend our appreciation to your Marketing manager as well.

We have no objections to your proposed method of payment.

Kind regards,
Paul Fournier

Overall I was very pleased with the company's response.  Nancie and I are considering what to do with the old damaged couches before putting in teh order for some new ones.  Maybe a charity would like to accept them as a donation.

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