Thursday, April 08, 2010

Grumble Day

First -- the excerpt survey is still open and active. Hope if you haven't already done so, you'll read the excerpts in Monday's post and then take the survey.

Inspection report. The inspector filed his 52 page report with our Realtor, and she's going through it, point by point, to present our requests to the sellers. So, things are still in limbo until they respond. And for those of you expecting another writing analogy today—sorry. I've been reading contest entries and will get back to writing next week. This is simply a personal rant.

I've spent too much time lately dealing with customer service. There are good ways and not so good ways to deal with customers. When we left Florida, we called our phone company and (so we thought) canceled our land lines but retained our cellular service. Seemed straightforward enough.

The downhill slide began then, although we were unaware of it. A little back story here: We had what the phone company called a "bundled" system, where our land lines (we had two—one for phone and one for fax) and our cell phones (again, two—hubster's and mine) were all connected to a single account, and we paid one bill a month for everything.

The timing created yet another few challenges, as the base payment for the land lines is done ahead of time, so technically, we'd pre-paid part of the bill. The phone company told us to wait and they'd send a revised bill. So we did.

The first glitch we discovered. For reasons that will probably remain unknown, the company cancelled only our voice mail line. Additionally, we switched to on-line billing, but that created another problem, as the mailing department was still mailing our statements. They mailed them to our house, and then had to be forwarded to our daughter's house in Colorado. We got closing bills for the land line and our wireless line. As I have been doing for years, I paid them via our bill pay system with our bank.

What nobody told us: The phone company had unbundled our accounts, creating three separate accounts. So the money I sent via the bank went to the "old" voice mail account and the rest languished in limbo somewhere in the bowels of the phone company.

I tried the on-line customer support system when I was told I hadn't paid my wireless bill. I then had to show payment, so I emailed a copy of the receipt from the bank. They came back and told me my money had been sent to my land line account, and there was no way they could transfer it. What? It's one phone company, but their left hands and right hands can't communicate.

I had to deal with three separate departments and it's been a nightmare. One insisted that there was no way to email, I'd have to fax despite the fact that the other department had no problem with email attachments. Eventually, I reached a supervisor who came up with a way to get the funds where they belonged, but meanwhile, we were technically overdue with our payments, and I don't like that. There's still one more step, and I can only hope that we don't get into the late fee situation. They've assured me they've extended my deadline … we'll see.

On the flip side: Not long ago, I lost a screw back to my one pair of "big name jewelry store" diamond studs. I was lucky to see the earring on the floor of the shower before it went down the drain, but I needed to replace the back.

I went to the chain's website and asked what could be done. They came back immediately with the phone number for customer service. When I called, the agent was able to find my purchase in the computer even though it's been over 5 years since I bought the earrings, and that's the only purchase I've ever made from the company. She said she'd be happy to replace the back. Of course, what I was clueless about was that the backs were platinum (who looks behind someone's earlobe?) and the charge for the replacement was $25. But shipping was free.

I decided that it was worth it to know the back would definitely fit the post. The entire transaction took minutes. If I could afford to shop there, I'd definitely buy more.

As for the phone company—can't wait for my contract to be up so I can change carriers. Of course the decision will be based on what kind of reception we'll get wherever we live, but I sure hope there will be a choice.

Tomorrow, I'm welcoming a newcomer to my Friday Field Trips. Another member of the family, who's a darn good photographer herself. So come back and see what Mom has to offer. You'll enjoy it, I'm sure.


Mason Canyon said...

I hate dealing with companies that don't seem to know their left from their right and what hand is doing what. And usually at the end of all the hassle you get a message wanting to know how "well" they performed. Yeah, like they really want to know how I feel after that last conversation. Good luck with the phone company, I have a feeling you may need all the patience in the world before it's over.

Terry Odell said...

Mason, I agree. And then they have to end with, "is there anything else I can help you with?" when they haven't been any help to begin with. Part of the required script...oh, that's another rant. Won't get started here!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That's sooo frustrating. That's the point where, the next time I call, I'll say to whatever hapless rep answers, "I'm sorry and this has nothing to do with you personally, but I need to talk to your manager." Then I continue saying it until I get as far up the chain as possible.

SOOOO maddening...

I did take your survey. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth, I often say that I'm not directing my ire at the individual when I say "you" but to the company which at that moment they represent. And I try to remember to get the name of the person I'm speaking with.

Thanks for participating in the survey!

Debra St. John said...

Oh, all of that phone stuff is frustrating. At least you got to talk to actual people. I hate it when I have to spend eons of time pushing numbers just to get to the right department...although I'm sure you did that, too.

Awesome about the earing back!

Terry Odell said...

Debra - I didn't go into how many times I had to go through the telephone tree - every time I'd reach the, "I will connect you to a representative" point, I was cut off and had to start again. I really disliked that "man" asking me all those questions so he could "help" me. And it was all voice recognition, so you couldn't just memorize the numbers and zip through the steps.

Terry Stonecrop said...

Oh yes. I feel for you.

I had, AT&T formerly Bellsouth, dealings this week. They dug up some lines near-by and we lost our land phones lines and DSL early Tuesday morning. My husband called this time, couldn't get a real person, got a recording that confirmed we have a problem. No kidding? They sent a guy next afternoon, who couldn't fix it because it was a cable screw-up when they dug up the lines. No kidding, again? So today,they finally fixed it.

Hope you have better luck with your new company. That earring story gives us all hope!

Jemi Fraser said...

I hate dealing with stuff on the phone. You just never know if you're going to deal with a bored, untrained person, or, if you're lucky, a competent pleasant worker. Sadly the 2nd type is more rare.

Terry Odell said...

Terry - I didn't want to name names, but ... :-)

Jemi - I seem to get the former all too often.

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