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
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Attorneys and Lawyers