• Report: #114713

Complaint Review: ARAG Group

  • Submitted: Tue, October 26, 2004
  • Updated: Tue, January 15, 2013

  • Reported By:Port Orchard Washington
ARAG Group
400 Locust St. Des Moines, Iowa U.S.A.
  • Phone: 800-247-4184
  • Web:
  • Category: Lawyers

ARAG Group Lousy service followed by insult to injury Des Moines Iowa

*Consumer Comment: Environment of Lies

*Consumer Suggestion: Apples to Lemons...

*General Comment: Generally happy ARAG member

*Consumer Comment: Tried to Resolve with Customer Service but treated worse

*UPDATE Employee: ARAG's Customer Care

*Consumer Comment: I agree about the poor service and ill treatment by customer service

*Consumer Comment: Legal Insurance Pros/Cons

*Consumer Comment: in Arizona the State Bar is an agency of the Judicial Branch of state government

*Author of original report: My sentiments exactly

*Consumer Comment: Pre-paid legal sucks - lawyer attorney ripoff

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ARAG is a firm that provides group legal coverage for employees that deals with minor issues such as wills, misdemeanors, etc. that appears to be a good deal at first for a small monthly fee paid via payroll deduction, but when it's actually used, reveals its ineptness. Here's my story:

My wife had a verbal argument with her 13 year old daughter this spring that resulted in the daughter filing a misdemeanor assault charge after her mother slapped her knee after calling her mother names that I won't repeat. After initially meeting with the atty and filling out the ARAG forms, we had some reservations about him; his failure to return our calls, his insistence that we go to the courthouse and make copies of relevant materials that we felt he should be doing since we (ARAG) were paying him, his condescending attitude in general, etc. I sent an email to the customer service address regarding this concern.

The response I received via email instructed me to call customer service, which I did, and was told that we can't tell the attorney how to practice law which really wasn't my point, but the message I took away was either live with what I have or have no representation, so I persevered and decided to stay out of the situation since there appeared to be nothing that could be done.

Ultimately, instead of taking the case to trial which I fully expected given the lameness of the case against my wife, the next thing I hear is that the atty had agreed to a deferred prosecution with several attachments, one of which being a no-contact order for her daughter. (BTW, neither my wife nor I condone any type of child abuse; the girl in question is a disciplinary handful since reaching the teen years and we are seeing a family counselor to try to deal with the issues). We accepted this albeit reluctantly, with the false assumption it was the best way to go.

This past Monday, the atty called us in the morning telling us we had to be in court in a half hour or my wife might be found in contempt. This was at once alarming and mysterious since we thought the case was long over. We now come to find out that the conditions attached to the deferred prosecution, including the no-contact order, can be altered at any time, and worse, that we all of a sudden are now responsible for the attorney's ongoing charges personally rather than ARAG even though this latest development is a direct result of the attorney's handling of the case. I may add that after the hearing, my wife was subject to the attorney's accusations of being a poor mother and that he felt sorry for her whatever that is supposed to mean.

I sincerely feel that this case was bungled, and worse cost my wife and myself dearly, and I now have engaged a different attorney at my own expense since I have no faith in ARAG nor the original attorney's ability to practice law. I feel I was forced into accepting his representation by the firm as well or face this legal matter without coverage because of their representative's handling of my concerns. All of which I am willing to accept as a hard lesson learned, but I am not willing to accept a 4-500 dollar charge for this latest chapter in lousy service that I was never, ever informed I would have to pay as I assumed ARAG would step up to the plate given the fact that this latest turn of events was a direct result of an ARAG attorney's poor choices and leaving legal holes open that a truck could drive through.

My expectation was that ARAG would pay the attorney the remaining aforementioned sum, and for my part, I wouldn't be expecting ARAG to do anything further relating to this case knowing what I know now. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be. Upon contacting a representative about the problem, I was told politely that I was sh*t out of luck. Worse, I was told that upon further examination (keep in mind this is about 6 months into this now) that the original situation wasn't even covered under their plan! Add "asleep at the switch" to the list of services rendered by this firm.

If your company offers this "benefit", think not once, not twice, but three times before wasting your money. The old adage "if it seems too good to be true, it usually is" applies here in spades. Save your money, do your own research, and find your own competent attorney who will not charge you for an initial consultation. The minute you suspect you're not getting the service you are paying for, run like hell.

Gypped (but legally of course)
Kerryville, District of Columbia

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/26/2004 01:56 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/ARAG-Group/Des-Moines-Iowa-50309/ARAG-Group-Lousy-service-followed-by-insult-to-injury-Des-Moines-Iowa-114713. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Environment of Lies

AUTHOR: Lied To - ()

Anyone involved with this company should be aware that it operates in an environment of lies.  If you work there, beware.  If you are a client, beware.  If you need their services beware.  You have been warned.  I write this as a person who was flat out lied to by the organization. 

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Apples to Lemons...

AUTHOR: AYSBenefits - (United States of America)

Again I was just researching some different companies to see if ANYTHING compares to Legal Shield and still the answer is NO!  SOOO much of this would have been covered by LS!  Thats why our tag line is NO LIMITS. NO SURPRISES. and they are the best attorneys in the country.  15 years as a member and I am very satisfied with the not only the attorney services but the custormer services.  I have used the attorneys countless times for advice, letters, reviewing my contracts, I have had my will revised 3 times and all at NO COST other than my monthly fee of $27!  I have retained a couple different attorneys for bankruptcy and audits, both of which saved me THOUSANDS.  I actually did the math, the money that I saved just using the services on 4 different occasions pays for my membership for about 500 years! LOL I will NEVER be without it! greatlegalbenefit.com/ays
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#3 General Comment

Generally happy ARAG member

AUTHOR: Classaction - (U.S.A.)

I have been a member of ARAG since 2008, and can highly recommend the coverage I've had to date. I have had a few incidents that required coverage, and in all cases found ARAG to be supportive and the billing process very smooth. Phone representatives are very professional and helpful. Attorneys have been generally able and results as good as could be expected.

In one case, I was able to get the answers needed in a free initial consultation, in which the attorney took a keen interest and stayed in touch without billing. Totally extra mile.

For the other issues, I had to contact several listed attorneys before reaching the right one. Some on the in-network list claimed they did not belong there. Others didn't seem capable, or were fishing for higher fees. But the choice was ultimately mine and I was happy with the representation received. 

One small annoyance is that coverage terms have changed, with a few less services offered while the premium remained constant. That said, premiums seem reasonable, and the plan definitely offers peace of mind for many of the surprises that could cost a lot more. 

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#4 Consumer Comment

Tried to Resolve with Customer Service but treated worse

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

I actually did try to contact customer service for help and to report how rudely I was treated by the first person to help me. Turns out that several of the customer service people were already talking about me to eachother and in turn the others were all rude to me too and actually argued with me even more.  Bottom line is that I did try and got more frustration in the process. I don't  feel like I could ever call there again.  I just chalk it up to bad experience, waste of money and won't renew ever and would certainly never recommend ARAG to a friend or colleague.
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#5 UPDATE Employee

ARAG's Customer Care

AUTHOR: Angie - (United States of America)

As ARAGs Director of Customer, Im sorry to hear that your experience with ARAG did not live up to your expectations. Id be happy to talk to you to see if we can rectify the situation- just call our Customer Care Center at 800-247-4184 and ask for Angie Ballantine.

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#6 Consumer Comment

I agree about the poor service and ill treatment by customer service

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

I too experienced a very similar situation with ARAG, especially the part about the customer service.  I was treated very rudely and was given a very uncomfortable challenge when trying to get access to the attorney resources.  I have seen a difinite decline in service and after my last encounter, I was treated so badly and was left so upset that I will not renew again.  I agree with the sentiment "if it seems to good to be true, it usually is" as I feel it applies with regard to what I have experienced with ARAG.  My company offers this benefit so I am going to issue a complaint with HR.  My biggest issue was the way I was treated and denied access to a plan I paid a lot of money for.  I was left with the feeling that the company tries to minimize the service to members to save themselves money and in turn make it extremely difficult to use the plan. 
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#7 Consumer Comment

Legal Insurance Pros/Cons

AUTHOR: Jen - (U.S.A.)

I was with ARAG with years through my employer and you really have to shop around for an attorney. You can choose in-network attorney's for "covered expenses" or go to an outside attorney and submit for reimbursement.

In a recent issue I was forced to move due to landlord failure to maintain the property. I needed a lawyer to provide guidance in how to write a letter for personal property damages the landlord caused. I clearly stated I didn't mind paying the contractual reduced fee for any added or incurred expense.

The second fold was that when I moved, the movers did some damage to the stairwell and the landlord was all "up in the air" about it. I needed to address this issue and wasn't sure if I should get quotes for repair from the landlord and submit to the movers insurance carrier or how that would work.

So, far n the past 2 weeks I have called 4 out of the 12 attorney's and for some reason they are not interested in returning calls.

An out of network attorney is going to charge $750 for the initial consult. Of that I will get back $240 (out of network benefit) and if we go to court they will reimburse $1,800.

Like I said, the insurance is just a policy and they can't force the attorney's to honor the agreement. But if there are enough complaints, and you do involve the Bar association they will drop the attorney from their referral base.

ARAG by far is the best because you have the options.

When I left my company, I joined Pre Paid Legal and it was a real scam. I was essentially stuck with one attorney who was a complete incompetant - no out of network benefits. I had a credit card company calling alleging I owed money on an account I never opened. The company refused their mailing address for a formal dispute letter to be sent. I had to go on line and find a physical mailing address and the FedEx overnight including the formal dispute letter requesting information about the bill I allegedly owed was marked refused/return to sender.

The attorney was lazy, they had a "call center" take calls and not answer questions. They refused to leave messages stating what they needed and refused to communicate via email. I would tell them my meeting schedules at work, and requested calls before or after that time to discuss the issue and they refused this request as well.

When I canceled the plan, they refused to cancel and I got some wierd letter saying they would review my application to cancel and see if I was "approved" to cancel. They also refused to honor their 30 day money back guarantee.

With all legal service plans, you have to be careful and ultimately it is a reflection on the attorney, not necessarily the plan.

If you get a snotty customer service rep, ask for a supervisor. Keep going up the corporate ladder.

A legal services plan is the only way I could ever afford to uphold my civil rights. I could never afford the thousands in legal fees without it.
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#8 Consumer Comment

in Arizona the State Bar is an agency of the Judicial Branch of state government

AUTHOR: Larry - (U.S.A.)

The term "bar association" probably means something different in each state.

While the term sounds like a social club for lawyers, in Arizona the State Bar is an agency of the Judicial Branch of state government. It is the body that licenses and disciplines lawyers. And yes, they actually do disbar attorneys.

When I suggested contacting your local bar association I was thinking of whatever body regulates lawyers in your state. Since my language was rather imprecise, I can understand how you would interpret that the way you did. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Since you have a new attorney to deal with the first one, he can advise you as to whether to pursue any sort of bar complaint.
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#9 Author of original report

My sentiments exactly

AUTHOR: Gypped - (U.S.A.)

Thanks Larry. I hired a new attorney at my own expense who is outraged at the entire debacle and advised me not to pay a dime to the old atty, he's contacting him personally as we speak and I expect some relief soon. As far as contacting the bar association, I appreciate your input, but my view is that it would probably work as well as contacting the AMA about a lousy doctor, which is to say it would be be about as effective as a Jew going to Gestapo headquarters to complain about a n**i..
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#10 Consumer Comment

Pre-paid legal sucks - lawyer attorney ripoff

AUTHOR: Larry - (U.S.A.)

I once belonged to a different pre-paid legal plan. I needed a lawyer and they referred me to an old geezer who had "wino" written all over him.

Why would a good attorney get involved with one of these plans? Answer: A good attorney won't. The ones who participate in these plans are the halt, the lame, and the desperate. Steer clear of these plans as almost no one ever is satisfied with their attorney.

Lawyer regulation seems to vary considerably from one state to another, so I have no idea what recourse you may have. I would strongly suggest that you file a complaint with your local Bar association regarding the first lawyer's handling of your case.
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