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USAA, MasterCard, Avis, the Bill Collector, and Moi

In the end, I don’t think I “lost” or “won.” USAA was very nice to me, and I even got a nice letter and phone call from MasterCard. Avis pretended to be in the cloakroom the whole time.

Probably the best moment (if a year of wandering in the bureaucratic gulag has best moments) was at the end of all of a long phone call when the USAA person thanked me for my military service. I was a Cold War Warrior during a period of relative prosperity, which means that there wasn’t anyone greeting us at airports when we came home from our peacetime tours. We were just the folks who went into the military and spent years humping 12-hour shifts under harsh working conditions while everyone back home was busy being disco-cool. So I got a little lump in my throat when he thanked me for my service.

I have no complaints, and believe the Air Force made me who I am today, but only those of us who have served–even in peacetime–really understand what it means to serve, maybe even more so when nobody is paying attention. I didn’t serve so that someone would thank me for it, but I appreciate it all the same.

USAA also credited me the difference ($141) between my deductible and the total insurance amount, which was a very nice gesture. They did this after I advised them I wouldn’t be filing a claim, and again, it was unexpected and really rather touching.  It did make me realize that if the damage to the rental car had been much greater, this whole situation would have been much messier, because by exercising my right to use Mastercard coverage, the credit card company, not USAA, was my insurance company for the incident. Though perhaps if I had totaled the car I might have been advised much earlier that because I used a coupon for some of the cost of renting the car, the Mastercard coverage wasn’t in effect.

(Good to know that, though a year is a long time to find that out.)

USAA also advised me that the ominous collection notice was just a bill, which I promptly paid. If this shows up on my credit report, I will begin saber-rattling all over again (given that celebrity librarians can command at least 15 minutes of mindshare), but I think I’m OK.

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