Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just The Fax, Ma'am

You may recall that at the end of May we had a bit of a hailstorm at the ol' homestead. Nothing serious, although we did have some cosmetic damage to the back of the house and the garage doors.

We had an insurance adjuster come out in late July, provide an estimate of the repair costs, and cut us a check. Unfortunately, the amount he allotted to repaint the back of the house and replace the garage doors fell short of what it actually will cost to have the work done here. He said he was using a formula based on national costs, but it seemed to based more on what said work would cost in Brownsville, Texas. In 1958.

Anyway, in order to get the insurance company to cough up some extra green, we had to get three bids from local contractors to show what the true market price was. One would expect that in our current calamitous economic conditions, there would no problem finding someone looking for an honest day's work.

More than a month, and at least fifteen different contractors contacted later, we finally were able to get a third painter to show up and give us a bid. Times may be tough, but apparently painters are still plenty busy.

Finally, with all my ducks now in a row, I called in the insurance company this morning to see how to proceed next. I explained the situation and was told that I would need to speak with an "expert" adjuster. Since they were all busy at the time, they took my number and said one of these "experts" would call at the soonest opportunity.

At 5:30pm, while out on a walk with the kids, I received a call back. Again I explained my circumstances and was told that it could be resolved relatively easily. All I had to do was fax the bids in to their office.

Fax? Who faxes anymore? I asked if I could e-mail the docs instead. No, we don't accept e-mails. Why? Because when we get a fax we scan the documents and they become part of the "file."

I smiled. Having previously scanned the bids in preparation for the call, I now saw an easy solution in the offing. "What kind of file format do you use when you scan the documents?", I asked confidently.

"I don't know, I'm not much of technical person," was the reply. Glad I'm talking to any expert. I explained that I already had the docs scanned and could easily send them in via e-mail.

Sorry, we don't accept e-mails. If you want, you can go to your agent's office and use their fax machine.

Go the my agent's office? Yeah, that's not much of a hassle. Why don't I just get on a plane and fly them down to Florida personally? Sigh. Who faxes anymore?

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