CFA helps Madison woman battle 2 corporations

CFA helps Madison woman battle 2 corporations

Dr. Hillarie Higgins has a Ph.D. in counseling and has been published in professional journals worldwide. Yet, when she was struggling after the recent death of her father with two major corporations, she turned to Call For Action for help.

“When your loved one passes, it just should be as smooth as possible,” she said in her northeast Madison home. “You’re dealing with a loss. You shouldn’t have to deal with a bunch of administrative, bureaucratic chaos.”

She first contacted the national nonprofit organization that solves consumer problems from the WISC-TV News 3 newsroom, after trying to remove her father, Gene, from their family cellphone plan.

Higgins said her dad was on the plan with her and her husband and that he had a simple flip phone with no data attached. She went to U.S. Cellular and was told any change to a family plan would come with a $200 fee. After being unable to sway the corporate representative she spoke to, she called Steve at Call For Action.

“He said, ‘Well, that sounds pretty crazy. I’ll call my media contact at U.S. Cellular,'” she said. “Then, the next week, that individual from U.S. Cellular called and said, ‘Oh, my goodness, we’ll waive that fee. That’s ridiculous. I’m so sorry this happened to you.'”

Higgins and her dad were joint caretakers for her mother, Beverly, who resides in hospice care. After her father’s death, Higgins wanted to convert a life insurance policy into a burial trust at a Baraboo funeral home, so her mother would still be able to qualify for Medicaid and remain at the facility. Her legal pad reflects the daily phone calls she made over the course of a month-and-a-half to the New York Life Insurance Company before getting nowhere and turning, once again to Call For Action.

“I thought they were going to think I was insane because I was like, ‘Here’s another thing that’s ridiculous and I can’t seem to solve it on my own,'” she said.

It took the CFA volunteer, Rita, a little longer to fix Higgins’ second problem than her first one, but the policy was changed and Higgins received an apology from a corporate vice president at the company.

“We didn’t get Hillarie any money back, but it was very gratifying,” Rita said. “Hooray! I felt terrific that Call For Action was able to get the matter resolved so quickly.”

Higgins said she was impressed with the diligence shown by both of the volunteers working on her behalf and that she recommends the mediation service to anyone facing a consumer problem.

“The fact they followed up, I can’t emphasize that enough, they really took it from the beginning to the end,” she said. “It’s just a fantastic, free resource for people who are dealing with the administrative, bureaucratic issues that arise in everyday life.”

If you have a consumer problem you need help solving, you can reach the volunteers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11-1 p.m. at 608-270-2833 or you can Call For Action any time online.

The volunteers will hold a special hotline session from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday.