Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Animas (aka Johnson & Johnson) Plays Hardball

Last night-- the first time I had a chance to check email since coming back from a weekend away (another post coming on that), I found this in my mailbox:

Dear Mrs. Miller:

Our records indicate that Animas shipped you a pump on 09/08/2005. As per our correspondence, you were to return the pump, serial # 14-23604-10. As of today, 10/16/06, we have not received this pump.

As outlined in the return instructions sheet sent with the pump, you are responsible for returning the pump. If we do not receive the pump within the next 10 days, you will be billed for the cost of the pump.

If you have any questions regarding the return of the pump or need assistance, please call Pump Support at 877-767-7373, extension ____. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Thank you,


RGA Coordinator

Animas Corporation

a Johnson & Johnson Company

1 877 767 7373 Ext. ___


First, I have never received any correspondence regarding our loaner pump. This note makes it sound as if they've been hounding me for months.

Second, the reason we have a loaner pump at all is because one of their pump support people left us high and dry going into a Labor Day weekend last year-- refusing to replace Joseph's pump, but promising us a loaner that Friday because we'd been having problems.

But then never sending us one.

By the end of that weekend, Joseph's pump was no longer functioning.

(This would be our second pump failure since Joseph began pumping the previous January.)

Soon after, we received two pumps-- Joseph's third in seven months, and then a loaner pump for backup.

And finally (can you hear my voice rising?), I've not heard from Animas on this since last December when a pump support rep called to see if we were ready to return the loaner, but then (given our past problems) agreed to let us keep it for two more months. By February, we were glad to have the backup pump-- Joseph wore the thing for two days while we awaited delivery of his fourth insulin pump.

His fourth pump in eleven months.

Right now, while waiting for this woman to return my call, I'm so angry I could spit.

A phone call, letter, or email, simply requesting return of the pump -- acknowledging why we had the loaner in the first place, and that things seem to be going well with Joseph's current pump (which is true-- we haven't had a problem in almost eight months) -- would have been entirely appropriate.

But this?


Anonymous said...

I have to say, Sandra, that that letter would freak me right out. I would have a hard time not calling and yelling at anyone who just so happened to be the unfortunate person to take my call. I sure am glad pumps have warranties, I am on (I think, I don’t really keep track) pump number four or five in two years, and it isn’t an Animas, I have a Minimed.

Kelsey said...

Utterly ridiculous! What terrible customer service. It doesn't sound like you've had a good experience with Animas. Have you considered another pump? (though I suppose if you have a warranty on an Animas, it doesn't help much.)

I've been really pleased with the Deltec Cozmo, especially their customer service.

Good luck Sandra- let us know how things work out!

nicolep said...

Ooooo... Give 'em hell, Sandra!

Anonymous said...

I would launch into nasty mode over this....

Kerri. said...

What a pain in the arse. I'm with Nicole - give 'em hell!!!

Tekakwitha said...

Gah! That makes me angry and I'm not even in the situation!


julia said...

I can't wait to hear how the phone call goes. What a pain in the ass. Honestly, you wonder how these companies manage to keep customers, if that's the way they treat people.

Felix Kasza said...

It seems I am to play the Devil's advocate once more.

The verbal loaner agreement -- and I wonder whether the Animas rep even noted that in the records? -- expired in February. If you kept the loaner pump, one might have expected Animas to receive a short, written notice, something like "As we are now on pump #4, and as I distrust the product, I am informing you that I will keep the loaner until I am satisfied with the performance and durability of pump #4."

I mean, if you borrowed a lawnmower for a day but needed it for the whole weekend, wouldn't you let your neighbour know? And ask whether he has plans requiring the lawnmower?


Anonymous said...

That is total BS!

You should use this line,
"I'm hear to hand out lollipops and ass whoopings and I'm all out of lollipops!"

I am sure that doesn't help but my job is to try and bring a smile to your face. Hope that worked!!

Give em hell!

Anonymous said...

Daniel is beginning to want to pump. Now I really need to think about if we would want to use Animas, it sounds like you have had more trouble than it is worth. Hope this all gets resolved without bloodshed. :o)

Jamie said...

Very frustrating Sandra. I would be irked myself if that happened to us.

Add me to the "give em' hell!" list.

LZ Blogger said...

I truly hope you get some satisfaction over this issue. That has really got to be upsetting! ~ jb///

Scott said...

Actually, I think this is standard practice for Animas. My pump had to be replaced (before Johnson & Johnson acquired Animas), and I got a letter on the same day as my replacement pump!!

Anonymous said...

My son had a Minimed pump and it was terrible. I got him an Animas pump and I have had nothing but great services. you probably received a standard form letter that almost every company- animas, cosmo and minimed use. Pumps breakdown they are being used 24/7 and they are computers basically. As someone else said they had 5 minimed pumps. Next time call the company. I bet you will be suprised that they are very nice and helpful.You are doing a disservice to other people that are looking for a high quality pump by bad mouthing a good company.

Sandra Miller said...


Before I wrote this entry, I did call the company.

And after receiving a call back that night, I wrote about it here.

An excerpt from that post:

"... the people at Animas reminded me yet again why I was so very glad Joseph had chosen their pump in the first place."

Honestly, I don't believe I am "bad-mouthing" Animas by sharing our experiences (both good and bad) with that company here.

As you point out, people can have problems with any pump they buy.

Are you wanting me to keep quiet about our problems simply because Animas is a good company?

I've never recommended that anyone not purchase an Animas pump-- in fact, I have often lauded the performance of this pump.

But when something unsettling happens surrounding Joseph's diabetes, this blog is where I've come -- and will continue to come -- to talk about it.

Anonymous said...

Animas customer service is excellent. They are friendly, helpful, and always go the extra mile. Maybe you should have returned the pump like you were supposed to and could have avoided them having to ask for THEIR property back. Unbelievable how you can be upset that after a month goes by with no word from you and make a company to have to chase you down to get a 6000.00 pump back that they were kind enough to lend you in the first place. UNGRATEFUL!!!

Carol said...

Sandra, my husband and I have been reading your blog for over a year now, since our 5-year old daughter's diagnosis. We are now looking at putting her on the pump, thus I have returned to your insulin pump blogs to review your experience with the Animas pump.
While doing so, I came across the previous comment, and feel I must say something to this commenter.

Anonymous, Sandra has been incredibly generous in her willingness to share her struggles on this blog. And if you had taken the time to READ all of her posts regarding her experiences with Animas, you would have seen that she has said glowing things about the company and its service (so many good things that this pump is the front runner for us).

She has done this, despite having had more than a few pumps malfunction and a horrible experience with Animas customer service during her son's first pump malfunction.
I cannot help but think that you must not have a child with diabetes, otherwise you would never call this woman "ungrateful" for feeling angry and upset about receiving a form letter like this regarding a product so vital to the health of her child. I would have been FURIOUS!!!

Sandra, please keep writing, never hold back. Your honesty is very much appreciated by those of us who deal with this disease every single day.

-Carol Rayner
mom to 5-yr old Rebecca, dx'd 7/16/07

Anonymous said...

What is no one allowed to disagree???? You know what opinions are like. I not only have a child with diabetes, but I have it as well. If you BORROW something the fail to return it or talk to the RIGHTFUL owners about an extension on the loan then it's stealing. Then to turn around and be mad that they want what belongs to them returned in a timely fashion so that another patient may benefit is rude and ungrateful. Animas has the best customer service that I have ever dealt with in my 35yrs with diabetes. They have always been kind, understanding, and fast to solve ANY problem down to the smallest detail with compassion. I agree that she should blog about the issues with diabetes but don’t expect everyone to agree with you and we will continue to do so when warranted. A pump is a small computer, a machine and will have break downs and glitches that’s why the customer service team there is top notch. Any time we have had ANY issue with a pump down to a scratched screen it was replaced the next day. You can be "FURIOUS" all you want but don’t expect everyone else to "hold back" because you don’t agree! It was a FORM LETTER not a personal attack on her child!

Sandra Miller said...


Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm afraid I've been so busy of late – volunteering in my daughter's kindergarten class and for the Obama campaign (Holy Cripes, we did it!!!), that I haven't been keeping up with the blog.

I'm sure that will change soon as we've begun to (re-)evaluate insulin pump choices ourselves (the warranty on Joseph's pump expires at the end of December). I'm hoping to share that process here.

"Anonymous" -

I have never discouraged anyone from expressing disagreement here. However, I do take issue when someone uses an ugly tone in their comments or – worse – misrepresents themselves on my site.

Were you not aware that I (like most bloggers) have tracking software that tells me exactly where people who comment on this blog are coming from– their city, state and corporate address?

I cannot begin to tell you how angry and disappointed I am that someone from my child’s pump company would deliberately try to mislead me and my readers in order to make their company look better– and at the same time, call me "ungrateful," actually accuse me of “stealing.”

Given who you are (and your history of reading my blog) you know that we experienced two additional pump malfunctions since this post was written. And we were grateful to have the loaner pump when those problems occurred. Happily, we've found our sixth insulin pump to be far more reliable than its predecessors.

In our last contact on this issue, Animas left our possession of the loaner pump “open ended.” If at any time Animas felt this was no longer acceptable, I would have gladly sent it back immediately. Animas/J&J has never been made to – or has even attempted to – "chase [me] down" in order to get their pump back.

Your company has provided stellar customer service– and I’ve blogged about that. But you chose to ignore those posts, instead trying to bolster your company’s image by lying about your true identity and attacking me.

This is simply unbelievable.

I've taken screen shots of your visit logs and plan to share this incident with others at Animas/J&J in the hope of getting some kind of explanation.

Anonymous said...

According to UPS, Animas's agent, Animas got my loaner pump straightaway in a timely fashion. Notwithstanding that, I continue to get phone notices about being delinquent. Then with each call, an agent will confirm that my UPS tracking number shows that, first, the pump was timely dispatched, and second, it is now in Animas's possession. So today? I receive a letter from Animas demanding the pump. As I observed to one agent last week, computers do what you instruct them to do. In my opinion, Animas's behavior constitutes harassment. I will notice Johnson & Johnson's CEO accordingly. I am a poster child for pump therapy and tight control -- I started way-back-when with a Eugly. Animas's pump is good, but Johnson & Johnson is clueless about customer relations.