ON HAND: Pre-Paid Legal

This originally appeared in The Tactile Mind Weekly in Trudy’s ON HAND column.

It sounded pretty good. For less than $20 a month, I’d get legal advice. I thought Pre-Paid Legal was a great idea, especially since I work mostly on a contractual basis. Plus the PPL representative, a person who works within the captioning industry, emphasized that PPL was deaf-friendly. They even had a toll-free TTY number. So I signed up, and was assigned a law firm in Chicago.

Every time I called the firm for a matter, it was a major hassle. The receptionist would say, usually after the relay operator explained what relay was, that an attorney would respond via e-mail. That never happened. I called the customer service TTY number – and got an answering machine. My representative assured me PPL was looking into this.

I had several contractual situations that I didn’t bother seeking advice for because every time I called the firm, I’d deal with hang-ups and non-responses. In one instance, I received a postcard, a month after I called, saying the firm had tried to call me several times (not true, according to the answering machine and caller ID). When I called to follow up, the person said, “Oh, I see you do have a request here for relay or e-mail. What’s relay? No, we didn’t call you because you asked for an e-mail response.”

I asked my representative to cancel my membership. After a flurry of e-mails full of tactics trying to prevent my cancellation, I threw a hissy fit. He finally revealed, after a couple of days, that I had to cancel by calling the voice number. As of now, it’s “being processed.” We’ll see.

Maybe I was just an isolated case. The firm did help with one contract at the beginning, and I’ve heard good things about PPL. I don’t care. When a company isn’t deaf-friendly as it claims to be and doesn’t ensure that its law firms are accessible, I’m done wasting my money.

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