Posted by: patenttranslator | June 5, 2010

Quod Licet Iovi Non Licet Bovi

Imagine that you could bill a penalty payment to a customer who does not want you to translate for him anymore because he prefers another translation service. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

It would certainly be crazy if this mad patent translator tried to do that. But you can get away with something like that easily if you are a major insurance company.

Let me explain. About two months after I switched my car and house insurance from TRAVELERS to STATE FARM, I received a bill from TRAVELERS for $66.36. It must be a mistake, I thought. I paid up the policy to the old insurance company up until the last day while the policy was still valid and I stopped paying them only when my new policy with my new insurance company was already in force. There was no explanation in the bill. It just had the policy number, the amount due and in the field Policy Period it said “Cancelled”. So I decided not to pay it.

About a month later, I received a call from a collection agency. The call was being recorded. The guy working for the collection agency identified himself and said that he was collecting an unpaid debt. I had no idea what he was talking about because by that time I had forgotten all about the mysterious incident of a bill for insurance coverage for a period of zero days. I explained the situation to the collection agent and asked for his opinion. Why should I pay an insurance company for nothing? Well, he said, when insurance is not continued, the company adjusts the terms so that the customer still owes them something. This would not be legal for us, translators, or any other “little people” like us, of course. But it is perfectly legal for big corporations. I gave the guy my credit card number because I need to have a good credit record. So now I owed $76.36 because ten dollars and probably a percentage of the rest of the payment went to the collection company.

I decided to Google TRAVELERS to see if there were other people complaining on the Internet about their business practices. There sure were quite a few complaints there, for instance here, here, here and here.

How does the Latin Saying Go … Quod Licet Iovi Non Licet Bovi (what is permitted to Jupiter is not permitted to the ox). They are the GODS and we are the cattle. At no point was I told by TRAVELERS why did I owe this money and how was this amount calculated. Based on the complaints I read about TRAVELERS on the Internet, the company has a policy of not dealing directly with their customers. Whenever a customer wants to ask them something, he or she has to go through another insurance agent. That is how openly contemptuous the GODS (greedy corporations) are these days of the cattle (people like me) in the United States of America.

Oh, and thank you Mr. Obama for giving us “Health Insurance Reform” with the mandate but without the public option. Not even a teensy weensy one. I remember how you said that we absolutely needed an affordable “public option” to keep the insurance companies honest when you were candidate Obama. You told us over and over the story about your grandmother who was dying of cancer and fighting greedy private insurance companies at the same time. That was some slick marketing. You even got my son to stand in line with me for 2 hours and vote for you. I could not believe my eyes when I saw him there. Change was definitely in the air. And then you changed your mind and killed the public option, just like that. There is no need to keep those vultures honest anymore now that you are in the White House. Unfortunately, almost nothing that we were told by candidate Obama was in fact realized by president Obama. After the election, the people who lined up for hours to vote for you are being told, repeatedly, pretty much the same thing that Lily Allen keeps repeating in her song.

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