When I was growing up, "Sue"
was a girl's name - but in Southern California it's an action verb. I
never wanted to sue anyone because I figured that the
circumstances being what they were, I would not have any problems getting what I
deserved. Boy, was I ever WRONG!!!
There were two people mishandling the
case for Allsnake:
Ray Gauthier mishandled the property damage, and Gaylan Sweet mishandled the
personal injury side of the claim. I had spent seven
years rebuilding this car, and when Ray asked what I felt was fair I told him I
wanted $3100 for it. He laughed and told me that I was never going to get
it, and he offered me $1400 which I promptly refused. At the same time, Gaylan was
brow-beating me to sign a medical release of liability, and refused to pay
the medical bill. The release of liability would make me pay for any follow up visits
for my neck and back injuries. He insisted it was just "routine"
but I knew better and his threats were against the law.
Once I realized I was getting
the finger from Allsnake, I tried to hire
an attorney. But no one would take the case because I wasn't seeking at least
$60k! I didn't want money, I just felt what
was "fair" was to have my bills paid and a reasonable amount for my
car. $60K was not going to change my
problem. WRONG AGAIN!!
After the disputes went on for over
three months, Enterprise Rent-A-Scam
called me and threatened to have the car
reported stolen if I didn't return it. I found out that Gaylan had cancelled my rental
over two months earlier
without telling me, and he did it because I wouldn't sign a release. So I
returned the car to avoid being arrested, as ironic as it sounds. Apparently
Rent-A-Scam couldn't charge the entire $2400
on my credit card, so they made 12 separate $200 charges to my card, which
didn't require authorization.
They let me keep the car for three months and never once called me, despite
their "policy" that every customer trades in their car at 30 days for
After another month, Ray finally hired an independent appraiser who valued my car at
$6300! They offered to repair my car
after the appraisal was done and I was handed a check for $4800. But I was
still faced with the dilemma of the $2400 rental and the $800 medical bills, which, by
California State Insurance Law, the "at fault" insurance party is
responsible for. By this time both
my credit card overcharge and the emergency room visit had been turned into
I was eventually fired from my
job because this accident consumed me and my emotions beyond reproach. Being unemployed with the
hospital hounding me for payment, and the bank hounding me for the
two thousand dollars over drawn on my gold card, I was left with no other choice
but to file for personal bankruptcy. Still, no attorneys would handle the case
because it went on for too long without representation.
whole experience had left me so destroyed that I was at the lowest point in my
entire life. I had always been very responsible and this was a major blow to my self confidence.
It was hard to smile, and it was even more difficult to understand how such a
big insurance company could take advantage of a person who had done no wrong,
all over such an insignificant amount of money.
After a couple of months of living on
poverty levels I finally found work with a great
company and slowly rebuilt my life back to my comfort level. It took
a full year to get my $2000 for the rental they were supposed to pay
for. Gaylan Sweet told me that Allsnake's
policy is to hold out on paying the bills until the claimant signs the release
form. He told me that most people don't know it is illegal to do that, so
they wait until they hear from an attorney or the State Insurance Commissioner
before they pay the claim. After I heard that I immediately called back
and asked the receptionist who Gaylan's boss was, and I told her what Gaylan had
told me. My check arrived in two days, and as you would guess it was
roughly $200 short. I was drained, so I took the check and cashed it.
My final thought is that I have learned
two things from Allsnake:
1. Nice guys finish last. So do
what is best for you, not what is "right".
2. If you are ever in an accident...SUE
the hell out of the insurance company for all you can get.
Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the troubled waters...Skank
of America came calling...
I had thought that Gaylan Sweet was a crook, now I know he's a