MetLife / poor service
The situation: My mom died in 2008 and we didn't find out until 2012 that she had a life insurance policy with Metlife and some stock with them as well. Thanks to the State of California for informing us about our "lost property". It's funny, but all the other companies seemed to be able to find us just fine, as well as the State of California tax people, Medical, even the sewer company, all found us because we owed them money. But Metlife owed us money and couldn't find us.
1) When calling Metlife the first time to explain about the letter we received from the State of California saying there was lost property, and simply asking what forms did we need to fill out and documents did they need, the customer service rep. continually insisted the only thing she could do was send a letter to my mom at her address of record. I mentioned that we'd sold the house four years ago and that my mom had passed away, but this did not deter her from insisting that's all she could do.
One thing that concerned me, and still does, about their insistence on using my mom's old address in another state is that's a great way for someone to get a load of information to start an identity theft scheme.
2) I nicely hung up and called back, and got a customer service rep. who wasn't mentally defective. They understood, my mom had died. I was trying to file a death claim. I was told they'd send us a death claim form which we did not receive. Repeated calls and repeated promises they'd send us the form all resulted in nothing coming in the mail. We get the rest of our mail just fine. I finally had to print one out from their website (we don't have a printer so it was a problem).
3) So after a great deal of paperwork, certified copies of documents and notarized signatures I sent off all the forms, both to the Life Insurance side and for the stock that they gave her, two separate packets. Fair enough. But then they said "we never got it". I confirmed the address, and explained about the signature confirmation I had with them, and that didn't phase them at all. "You must resubmit" was the answer I got so I did it all over again.
4) Then I get the life insurance, $335. It was a child policy taken out in 1933. At least we finally found out what that part of the unclaimed property was, they wouldn't tell us what it was until I submitted all the paperwork, and even then they never explained. Just a check shows up. Other letters did come, a condolences letter, all kinds of stuff, like about 20 letters in all, but not one of them ever explained what kind of policy my mom had or anything about it at all, and this even after I documented to them I was the sole heir, the executor of the will, etc.
5) But then two checks come for $35, both issued two weeks apart. It took me 3 hours on the phone with them to figure out what they were for. The first operator said to me "well all we can do is send a letter to the address of record". Turns out, they still had my mom's address as an active account. They had created a 2nd and new account for me which of course had nothing in it. To identify my mom's account I still had to use the address that she had not had in four years even though I'd sent in all that paper work showing we didn't live there, the house had been sold and she'd passed away.
6) Finally, after hanging up with the first operator, and calling back to get a better person, I found that the two checks were for all the combined dividends that she'd failed to get. $8.88 a year for four years. But the operator said, "did you cash both checks?" and I said, "no". And he said that's really good because we issued you the 2nd check in error and it would have bounced. My bank has a hefty fee for that. I asked why didn't they explain what the checks were for when they sent them? He had no idea. On the letters with them was nothing explaining what they were. I said why on earth would you send me a bogus check? The explanation was mind blowing to me. They said "you submitted two requests". I said, "you told me I had to resubmit, you never got the first one" and "why would two requests cause you to send two checks for the same payment?" It was like they were trying to blame me for causing their error. And when I asked if they'd been sending any mails to my mom's address, they couldn't answer me.
Throughout all this, some of the Metlife people were nice and tried hard to help us. Some of them were not, and acted like we were criminals trying to steal something. Some of them were just plain rude to us.
I explained that this process brought back all the bad feelings I had when my mom died, and that it made me a bit upset. The operator I said that to had no response.
I got thinking about it, and I remembered all the cute ad's with Snoopy on the TV so I went to Metlife's website. It says, "At MetLife, taking care of beneficiaries—Delivering the Promise—is probably the single most important thing we do."
Metlife's website also says,
"A Delivering the Promise Specialist is ready to help.
If you feel overwhelmed during this difficult time, ask to speak to or see a Delivering the Promise Specialist. He or she can offer extra assistance in filing your claim — and much more. Just ask, and we can also help you:
Identify important issues to be addressed, such as retitling assets and changing records
Determine if you're entitled to government benefits
Locate quality grief counselors and resources in your area"
After dealing with Metlife I did feel upset and had trouble sleeping.
The next time I called, after calmly mentioning some of the problems I'd had with Metlife, I asked the operator for a "Delivering the Promise Specialist" as mentioned above. She said she'd have to place me on hold to check. After a while she came back and said there weren't any available. I said could you have someone call me please? She said she'd have to put me on hold again, and she did, and I got a dial tone.
Metlife is a giant corporate company with a cold heart of stone. If the Snoopy ad's on TV lead you to believe they care about you, their customer or the beneficiaries, you are sadly mistaken. Dealing with them, I got the small sums of money owed my mom, and nothing too terrible happened, but I just feel like it was an awful ordeal. It took dozens of phone calls and lots of paper work and several letters to get this mess all straightened out. My mom was 86 when she passed away after a stroke, and I'm sure she would have told us about this or keep better records if she could have. But Metlife was no help at all. In fact I had to fight them and struggle even to find out what forms to send in, etc. I got the feeling they were trying to wear me down and hope I'd give up. I never once got the feeling they wanted to give us my mom's assets that they were holding onto with both fists, and all in all it only came to less than $500.
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