Sunday, 23 August 2009

Big businesses need to get a grip.

Recently my mother in law lost her husband after 53 years of marriage.
She is 74 and not in the best of health, especially mentally. Suffering from OCD (extremely annoying) she also needs things explaining to her a few times before she fully takes it in. This has obviously worsened during this tragedy. She is currently staying with us and we have been helping arrange all the funeral and paperwork needed.

Why do big businesses lack common sense and compassion during times like these ?

Let's take the insurance company, the insurance was not a huge amount. It was set up to cover funeral expenses. They were informed of the death through the correct claim forms. Why on earth did they send a letter two weeks later to a person who has died wishing them a happy birthday, and would you like to increase your premiums ?
Laughable aren't they ?
No internal communication whatsoever.

Next comes the bank.
A simple matter of changing a joint account into a single account. No it's not simple over half an hour and countless forms to fill in, oh well it's done now isn't it ?
3 days later 5 new cheque books arrived at her house, 4 of these had simply changed her husbands name to her name. She now holds a joint account with herself. The 5th cheque book was in her name alone, she now has to go back to the bank and cancel 4 cheque books.
What a waste of time and money.

And of course we have council tax, housing office etc.
My father in law recieved disability living allowance, this entitled them to reductions on housing, council tax etc. He also had a couple of personal small pensions, with all these in place they managed to live comfortably. Not rich but able to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
With his death all these stopped and my mother in law was faced with the standard government pension. It was not long before the letters began rolling in saying that she needed to pay this that and the other. She sat down and worked it all out and basically could not afford to live. An income of £75 a week and outgoings of over £100 a week before food or any thing else.

She managed to get in touch with a very nice lady from the local housing office who helped her fill in all the forms she needed and explained fully what she could expect to recieve. This put her mind at rest except there was an 8 week backlog in their claims office so she would have to wait.

2 days later another letter arrived stating she must pay this that and the other. She phoned the number on the letter and explained what she had done and how she was waiting for a response from the form she filled in. Not good enough for the guy on the phone he wanted a whole load of different stuff. The conversation ended in stalemate with my mother in law saying she would go back to her local office and speak to the woman who helped her originally. Yet another waste of time and money.

The utility companies had no problem changing the name over. Then again they don't really care who's name it's in as long as they are getting paid.

Big companies seem to lack any communication skills between different departments. Seems to me they need a good shake up it would definately save time and a whole load of money. They could then pass all these savings back to us and make everybody happy.

Tons of useless forms and letters all cost and are completely unnecesary. Especially to a 74 year old woman who is grieving and has little ability to think clearly.
It is a good job she had the support of family to help her through, many don't get this help and struggle silently till at last they worry themselves to "DEATH".


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