After 44 years with USAA, this may be the end of it.

USAA has been sliding downhill for a long time. Now it appears it's picking up speed.

1. USAA's investment management services used to be the cheapest around. Then they sold everything off and their management fees increased to where I was paying 3 times more for an S&P 500 index fund than I could get with Vanguard. I moved all my accounts away from USAA.

2. USAA's insurance rates used to be among the best around. Then I changed states, USAA changed one of my policies over, assured me all coverages would stay the same, but they were wrong. A windshield claim resulted in a $500 deductible when it should have been a $50 deductible. USAA's response? Effectively, "Face it, you ****** up, you trusted us." Then USAA botched another claim, to my detriment. Before retirement, I worked for the nation's largest property and casualty insurer so I know how things are supposed to work. That's not what happened with USAA. Then their rates went through the roof and I'm saving thousands of dollars a year having taken my auto and home insurance elsewhere.

3. Customer service has absolutely tanked. Gone are the days when you would have a very brief wait for a representative. Now, it's 3 minutes, 8 minutes, 15 minutes. Twice, my wife was given the option to "save her place in line" and a rep would call her back when available. Both times, she did indeed get a call back - another robot voice telling her "we're unable to connect you with a rep right now, please call back later." I used to do call center technology. USAA can predict a year into the future exactly how long you will wait on hold at any given time of day. The predictions are astonishling accurate. The only variable occurs when there are natural disasters that throw things off. So when you're informed you have an eight minute wait, that's because USAA has made the decision that it's cheaper to force you to wait on hold than to provide enough reps to take the calls as they come in. They have calculated that some percentage of you will give up and drop off, hopefully to try to figure things out on the website where it doesn't cost USAA any money.

4. My last two examples - we had an "adjustment - purchases" amount come through. Neither my wife or I recognized it. I called the next day to ask what it was. The rep had no idea, said she would document it and I would get a call back within 7 days. After not hearing anything, on day 8 I called again and was informed the first rep didn't document anything so nothing had been done. I was told they would investigate, call me back within 7 days. After not hearing anything for another 8 days, I called again. This rep had no idea why no one had called me back but said to wait another 3 days and someone would call me. After waiting another 4 days, I called again. This time I was transferred to someone who actually knew what they were doing. All three of the first reps I spoke with came across as not knowing what they were doing - this was quite clear during our conversations. This escalated rep tracked things down for me, while I waited. My second example - I had a credit card transaction fail to go through, repeatedly. It turned out that the inn trying to run the card had my old address. After talking to USAA and the inn several times, the inn ran the card the next day and the charge went through. I then went to have my car serviced later that morning and my card was declined twice. I used another bank's card. On the way home, I called USAA to find out why my card was declined. The rep I spoke with seemed to have a bit of an attitude and she told me because I'd reported the card lost or stolen. I told her no, I had used the card that morning and neither I or my wife had reported it lost or stolen. She couldn't tell me who had reported it lost. Then she told me she was reactivating the card but she would send me a replacement just in case. She said I could use the card while waiting for the replacement card. I asked if it would cancel automatically when I activated the new card and she said yes. Then she tried to charge me to expedite the replacement card. I said no, this was USAA's mistake, not mine, and that I was asking for that fee to be waived and expedite the card to me. She said nothing. Finally, she said she was mailing the replacement card. I asked "Are you expediting the card to me?" She said yes. Then I had to ask "Are you waiving the fee?" She said yes. And to top it off, she was wrong about the old card still being good. I was embarrassed at another place of business trying to use the card. It was declined. I called USAA to find out how it had been reported lost or stolen and the rep said I'd receive a call back from someone. That never happened. Finally, on my escalated call on the other matter, the rep told me the card hadn't been reported lost or stolen and she had no idea why I was told that. The card was actually canceled because it was "damaged or unusable." That wasn't true either, and USAA cancelled the card without telling me.

 

You can't make this stuff up. What happened to this company? It used to be all about customer service. Now it's just one more company trying to minimize its costs to maximize its profits at the expense of providing reliable, solid customer service for its customers. Very, very sad. It irritates me every time I see USAA commercials. Save that money and spend it to fix your horrific customer service problems while you still have customers to service.

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