Saturday, June 23, 2007

Lowering the Bar

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I visited our local wireless phone dealer so that we could have her account switched from my name to hers. The semi-friendly lady who helped us spent a few minutes preparing paperwork, slid it across for us to sign, then called a number somewhere out in the universe. She talked for a couple of minutes and then handed the phone to my daughter. Jess sat there for twenty minutes, every once in awhile saying something like "O.K.," "Yes," etc. I got bored and started wondering what our helpful phone service representative found so compelling on her computer. I had my suspicions. So I got up and wandered around pretending to look at accessories so that I could sneak a peak at her computer screen on my way back to my chair. Sure enough, she was online shopping for blouses.

A few days later, Jess got two large "welcome to our company" envelopes, even though she's had her phone for three years. The information was identical (waste of paper) and confusing. She had to call the customer service people to straighten it out. A couple of days after that, I got a 61 page statement in the mail, even though I had been doing all the business for the phone online (to save paper). Two days after that, I got the exact same 61 page bill. So much for saving paper. The statement indicated that I owed $1.25. I hauled my little self back to the store to pay it, where I was told to call customer service, so I went home and did that. Never talked to a real person, but was told that I owed no money on my account. I tried paying online, but, of course, the account isn't in my name anymore, so that was right out. I ended up writing a check for $1.25 and mailing it to the company. Because you know what will happen if I don't?

My non-existent, zero balance account will go unpaid and I will get a late fee. Which I won't know about because they won't tell me because my account is non-existent. The next month, another late fee will be assessed, and so on and so on until such time as we decide to move and buy another house. Our credit will be checked and we will be told that we are $6,923,438.71 in debt to the wireless phone company.

The other thing that could happen is the exact opposite. Somewhere in their messed up system, they see the $1.25, mistake it for a customer credit, and I end up with a check in my mailbox for $125,000.00. I'm just saying.


Blogger Mooselet said...

I would've asked her if she'd found anything she'd liked for blouses, but I'm snarky like that. :-)

1:01 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Why is it that nothing is simple these days? You have to jump through hoops to get the smallest thing done and still it doesn't get done correctly. Are people getting dumber?

7:26 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

mooselet - I thought about it, but by that point I didn't want to start anything that would keep us there any longer. My patience had left the building.

heather - Yeah, I'm curious to see what's going to happen with my dollar and a quarter. I'm not sure people are getting dumber, but they seem to think computers are getting smarter.

We're off to OSU for daughter's college orientation and then a couple of days at Wisconsin Dells to celebrate our son's birthday, so I will see you all next weekend!

4:31 AM  
Blogger onetallmomma said...

Hi MT,
If you leave me your e-mail address at I would be happy to send you a copy of my sermon. Be well.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Di said...

Linda, Don't get me started..... I have been trying for years to figure out where all the competent people work, because they don't work in Dr.'s offices, insurance companies, phone, tv, or internet customer service offices, etc......I get soooo tired of trying to explain a problem to a MORON!!!!! And as a former cell phone agent, I can definately sympathize with you. I also would like to apologize to everyone we sold Cingular to (formerly ATT, then Cingular, and now the NEW ATT...UGH) That is another rant I could get started on...... Di

8:50 AM  
Blogger Harmonica Man said...

Oh no, you're billing error is "in the system"! You may never be cleared of your 1.25.

NPR did a great story on This American Life about a woman who spent over a year battling the phone company. I'll see if I can find the link and I'll send it to you.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Harmonica Man said...

That didn't take long. Click here to listen to her story. It's really amazing.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

You forgot the loud, lousy music, the list of options, the India connection, and the wait in between the recorded message that tells you how much they value your call. Tell me why the phone company thinks they should have two languages. They could be fair and repeat their messages in every tongue, if they believe in a fairness policy.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

onetallmomma - Thanks, I will do that!

di - I'd forgotten you had sold those. You must still have nightmares!

jeff - Wow, I guess my "ordeal" hasn't been that bad after all. Yet.

bill - Please, no more languages - those recorded things take long enough as it is.

9:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home