On 1/3/07 I took out an auto insurance policy online with esurance.com. I paid for the initial down payment of $266.94 via electronic check. Less than four hours later I decided to cancel the policy upon reading unfavorable reviews online about esurance.com's repeated errors with incorrectly debiting customer accounts and credit cards. I called customer service to cancel the policy as directed via online instructions.
I was told by the customer service representative that my account would IMMEDIATELY be credited for the full amount I was charged. However, on 1/5/07, two days later, the $266.94 was withdrawn from my checking account anyway.
I called customer service on 1/5/07 and was told that because I paid by electronic check it would take a few days to process my refund. I asked customer service for a specific time frame of when I would see the credit in my account. I was told that it would take 3-5 business days from the day I cancelled the policy to see a credit to my account.
Meanwhile, based on the word of someone I assumed was a competent customer service representative at esurance, I paid my other bills, signed up for another insurance policy and paid via electronic check for the new policy. After the 1/5/07 debit from esurance.com, my bank, Bank of America, charged me a total of $420 in overdraft fees and non-sufficient funds because my account was short by the $266.94 that esurance.com debited from my account.
By 1/11/07, 6 business days from the date of cancellation, I still did not see a credit in my bank account for the cancelled esurance.com auto policy. Additionally, my online account records at esurance.com still indicated that the cancellation of the policy was still pending and made no reference to my refund being processed.
I called customer service again on 1/11/07 and inquired about my refund. This time I was told that it would take 7-10 business days for esurance.com to process my refund and for me to see the credit to my checking account. Upon asking to speak to billing to find out SPECIFIC information about when and how my refund would be processed, I was told that my only course of action was to continue speaking to customer service whom apparently is unaware of the specifics of esurance.com's billing policies and did not appear to have any more information than I did.
I was told that esurance.com's billing department did not handle customer calls and that there was no way for me to find out exactly when my refund was processed. I was also chastised by customer service for writing checks when I didn't have the funds available regardless of the fact that I was told by esurance.com that I would have the funds available because my account would IMMEDIATELY be credited.
I was told by 3 different customer service representatives conflicting information about my policy and the processing of my refund. My checking account balance has been overdrawn since 1/9/07. My account will probably be closed as a result because I don't currently have the funds to cover the negative balance that has been incurred as a result of essentially being given false information by insurance.
Finally, on 1/12/07 I received an email from esurance.com's billing department stating that my bank account refund was initiated on 1/12/07. A full 7 business days after I cancelled the policy and 7 business days after I was told that I would be refunded my down payment, a $263.04 refund was processed. I should have been refunded $266.94.
Upon my 5th conversation with customer service at esurance.com I was told that I was charged $3.00 for esurance.com to notify my financing company of my new insurance and $.90 for another miscellaneous fee. Of course none of these additional fees were explained to me in the cancellation letter or refund letter I was sent. I cancelled my insurance policy with esurance.com the SAME DAY I initiated it. Why was I charged fees for an auto insurance policy that for all intents and purposes, I never had.
The $266.94 SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WITHDRAWN FROM MY ACCOUNT. I cancelled my auto insurance policy with esurance.com less than four hours after I initiated it. The transaction should have immediately been cancelled. Esurance.com was quick to withdraw the money from my account and slow to refund it.
This entire ordeal has had one positive result and that is validating my decision to cancel my policy with esurance.com. I have also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau detailing my experience with Esurance.
Los Angeles, California