I have a "rant." It's a little "sneaky trick" that Progressive Insurance did.

I'll use "made up" numbers and dates, but it represents my recent bill.

I get the bill from Progressive.

It shows:

Premium: $504

Installments: $126 due on Feb 1

$126 due on Mar 1

$126 due on Apr 1

$126 due on May 1

Then, it says that the "installment" payments includes a $5 installment fee. Ok, so far....

Then, on the page where it breaks the premium down, it shows, "Medical $x, Comprehensive $X, Liability $X, etc...." and it all adds up to $504. I assume this is the "pay in full" price. Boy was I wrong! My premium was only $489. I was "tricked" into overpaying. I will outline below what happened.

Ok, so I want to pay it in full. I pay the $504, as it shows that is what my premium is.

One month later, I get a check for $15 from Progressive, with absolutely NO explanation, other than "draft check."

Most people would have let this go, but not me. I HAVE to find out why I got the refund.

I call them.

Here is what I get told, "The check is because you overpaid the premium, your premium is only $489."

HUH? I check my bill again. NOWHERE does it show that my premium is $489. I explain that to the agent. The agent says, "yes it does." I ask, "Where?"

The agent carefully explains that if you multiply the $126 installment payments by 4, it adds up to $504 (duh! It does, but who bothers to check this????), and that installments 2, 3, and 4 contain the $5 installment fee. So, basically, if I wanted to pay it in full, I would have needed to do a complex algebra calculation (which I can do, but who bothers to do it???) as follows:

$126

$121 (subtract the $5 from second installment)

$121 (subtract the $5 from third installment)

$121 (subtract the $5 from fourth installment)

-------------------------------------------------------

$489 VOILA, that is what my premium was!

(The algebra calculation would be X + ((X-5)*3) for you math wizards...)

I explained to the agent that I should not have to do a fancy math calculation to figure out what the "pay in full" amount is, it should have been shown on the bill. The agent said, "Well, the system selects the payment method that is most convenient to the customer and automatically sets it up that way." (Side note: This is marketing babble! It's NEVER about "what is convenient to the customer." The company makes money on "installment fees.") I explained that "the system" should not be "choosing for me" how I should pay. The "system" should show both the "pay in full" amount and the total if you pay in installments and let me pick the one I want. The agent again said that "of course, I always do have the option to pay in full" and that the "pay in full" amount was "clearly" shown. NO IT WASN'T! NOWHERE on the bill was the $489 shown. And, customers should not have to do a fancy calculation to figure it out, and customers should not have to go through the effort of a phone call to figure out what the "pay in full" amount is.

Ok, even though Progressive refunded the $15 installment fees I didn't need to pay (without my asking, and I wouldn't have known the difference if they hadn't...), it's still the PRINCIPLE! I feel as though I was "tricked" into over paying it, and they got the use of my "overpayment" until it was refunded. The agents continue to claim I wasn't "tricked." Ok, it's only $15, but if you multiply that by how many other people that pay in full are "Tricked" into this..........

I wrote them a nasty letter and I said that NEXT TIME they had better clearly show the "pay in full" amount and not force me to have to do calculus (ok, so it's simple algrebra, I'm exagerating....) to figure out the "pay in full" amount, and further, don't "Select for me" how I'm going to pay! I bet they very carefully file it in the ZERO file.......

Ok, rant off. I just wanted to let people know about this.

JJ