The following is a letter I sent to Sunlife.
No I have not heard back from them in case you're wondering.
Mr. Kevin Dougherty
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON Canada
I am writing to you about the extremely frustrating and atrocious customer service experiences I recently had with members of your staff.
After suffering diverticulitis I submitted a claim with Sun Life for short-term disability. I received a cheque for $485 for my claim. The amount of the cheque was lower than expected, so I decided to contact Sun Life to ask why it was as low as it was and how the claim was processed and the benefit calculated.
My first call to Sun Life regarding this matter was on Monday, May 7, 2012. I called the number (1-800-663-5655) indicated at the top of the letter I received with the cheque for my claim. I first spoke to one person who then transferred me to another person. This second person also transferred me, but this time to voice mail. The voice mail notice assured me that my call would be returned one business day, and I left a message with my name and claim information.
I did not hear back on Tuesday, May 8, so I called the number a second time. Again I was transferred, this time to the voice mail of a person named Pam Snee (I’m not totally sure of the spelling of the last name). Her voice mail also assured me that I would receive a response the next business day, and I again left a message.
On Wednesday, May 9, at 8:45 I called Sun Life a third time. I spoke with a person named Tina who transferred me to Pam Snee. Pam questioned me why I was phoning the Sun Life Waterloo office since my case was apparently being handled out of Vancouver and Pam would not able to obtain the details on my case. I found out from Pam that the number I was advised to call in case of questions (as indicated on the letter I received with my cheque) gets transferred to Waterloo if the Vancouver office is busy. Pam also advised me to phone the same number again in the morning and try to speak with someone in Vancouver.
I phoned a fourth time at 8:45 in the morning on May 10. I received no answer, but was able to leave a detailed voice message. Having received no reply, I phoned again at 11:45 that morning and again I left a detailed voicemail message.
Let me emphasise that at this point, 4 days after my initial call and having left 4 voice mail messages, not one of my calls had been returned – in spite of voice mail notices assuring me that my calls would be returned the next business day.
On the morning of Friday, May 11th, I phoned again but was unable to get through at all. A couple of hours later, I tried again and left message number 5. At this point you can understand that I was getting more than a little frustrated, and I called our HR department at work with my grievances. I was told by my HR rep that a person named Joanna Gonzales (1-855-223-8778) usually looks after claims from our company.
Later that same day, I left another detailed message – this time on Joanna’s voicemail –including my work number and my working hours. I received no response at work, but Joanna had left me a message on my home answering machine saying she would call me back again.
On Monday the 14th, I called Joanna’s number at 8:30 in the morning and left message number 8. Again, my message included my work number and my work hours. I called her number again at 3:20 in the afternoon and left yet another message wit the same information.
At 3:40 I phoned 1-800-663-5655 and I spoke with someone with a name that sounded like Kabongo, who transferred me to someone named Sandy, but the phone line connection was so poor that I was unable to converse with her.
Very displeased with Sun Life service, I phoned our HR department again. This time I was given the name of Charlene King (1-416-408-6524), who is Joanna’s Supervisor.
At 9:10 AM on the 15th I phoned Charlene King and left a message with her. At 3:45 in the afternoon I left another message with Ms King.
Charlene phoned me back the following day, the 16th. I tried to explain my frustration at getting through to live people and just trying to get an answer to my questions. Charlene did not appear terribly interested in my plight, but apologized and asked me what my phone call was about. I explained to her that I had questions regarding the payout of my claim. She informed me she would look after it.
I did not hear back from Charlene on the 17th of May or the 18th of May, nor the 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd, or 23rd, so on May 23, I phoned Charlene’s number again and found out that she had gone on holidays. Nevertheless, I left yet another message.
Finally, on May 24, I received a call at work, this time from Charlene Gaynor. She was looking after Charlene King’s case load while Ms King was on holidays. I once again explained my situation and she tried to explain how my claim was processed. She was unable to do so because she didn’t understand it herself, and put me on hold for 5 or 6 minutes while – I assume – she went to get some help to find out how my claim was calculated. When she came back on the phone, she said that she was unable to provide me with the information on how my claim was calculated. She said that she would call me back the following day with the information.
On May 25, I received a call from Joanna Gonzales who was able to explain how the claim was calculated. She determined that the amount I had received was in error because someone had entered the incorrect start date for my claim. Joanna assured me that this would be corrected and another cheque sent out.
I am at an absolute loss of why these things take so long and why it was necessary to leave so many (unreturned) messages. By my count, it took 19 days and it was necessary for me to call 14 times and leaving 11 messages to finally get this matter resolved. I can’t imagine that you would consider this good service or that it is an efficient use of your staff.
I feel that I have been treated scandalously and that if I were to treat my customers that way I would be fired immediately. It is unacceptable that I should have to have gone through this. and the only reason I deal with Sun Life is because it is through my employer’s health care plan.
Just to update, I did receive another payment later on for $65.00