• “Don’t lose this postcard! You may already be an INSTANT WINNER of a $500 jcpenney gift card!” Did you get a card like this in the mail? I did. All I have to do is to call (800) 304-4590 to see if I’m an “instant winner.” I immediately started looking for a catch, and found one in the fine print: “Plus, learn about a valuable insurance opportunity from Stonebridge Life Insurance Company.” Translation: Somebody wants to sell me insurance.
• I calculated my odds. The card says that 10 $500 gift cards will be awarded. But I don’t know how many postcards have been sent out – probably thousands in order for the company to make money and not just eat $5,000 worth of gift cards. I could use $500, sure. But to me, it’s not worth the hassle of listening to an insurance pitch for a product I already know I don’t want on the slim chance of winning a prize. I never go to those time-share seminars either – you know the ones – you can get a free coffee maker or a TV but you have to sit through a lengthy presentation. I’d rather do something else with my time.
• But that’s me. If you are interested, Stonebridge Life out of Exton, Pa., as it’s listed on the postcard, is not on file with the BBB. There are four Stonebridge franchises on file at www.bbb.org: the branch in Yakima is BBB Accredited. I did put in a request with the Pennsylvania BBB to create a record on this company. You can always do that if you don’t find what you’re looking for on our Web page. (The creation of a BBB file on a company is usually instigated by consumer inquiries, the company asking to become an Accredited Business, or government action.) To further research insurance companies, check with the Insurance Commissioner’s office in the company’s home state to see if they’ve had complaints or government actions.
• The state of Pennsylvania’s insurance commission number is (877) 881-6388.
Holly Doering, BBB editor