Friday, January 3, 2014

Press 3 to be connected directly to . . . the bowels of hell. A customer service representative will be right with you.

So, I got home from work today, ready for a semi-relaxing weekend. I say "semi" because I had to go to the grocery store tonight, which is its own special kind of hell. I grabbed the mail off the kitchen counter and saw that we had a new bill from our friends at Time Warner. Time Warner provides us with internet, cable, home phone, and a couple other services. Our normal monthly invoice is just under $200.00. I opened the envelope and saw that they were expecting to receive just over $400.00. What the????  I scanned the bill and quickly realized that they had not received last month's payment. I logged on to our Chase bank account and confirmed that I had sent a payment on December 19th. Grrrrr.

I called Time Warner. I jumped through the various security hoops and was connected with a young man whose native tongue clearly was not English. That's okay. I'm not one of those, "This is 'murica. Ya'll gotta talk 'murican" people. For all I know, I was calling Singapore anyway.  I quickly explained that I had made a payment and that it seemed as though Time Warner had not received it.  Oh, and they were kind enough to add on a $7.50 late fee. So, I had a wee bit of an issue with that as well.

The young man pulled up my account. "It does not show that we received a payment," he said.

"Yes, I understand that, but I made the payment on December 19th and it's long gone from my bank account."

"Okay, Claudia," he said. "Is it okay if I call you Claudia?"

What I said: "Yes, you can call me Claudia."

What I wanted to say: "Only if I can call you 'Mr Doesn't-Give-a-Shit.'"

He kept saying, "Okay, what I'm going to do is to create a ticket. Would you please hold?"

Then he would put me on hold, then come back on and ask me if I would mind holding some more, and then finally came back on the line and announced that he had created the ticket.

"Um, did you call your bank?" he asked.

I had not. My bank sent the money so it seemed to me like it was Time Warner's issue.  He asked me to call my bank and then call back. In short, he did nothing to help me. There were lots of "ums" and "let me make a ticket" and "can I put you on hold" and that's about it.  We just went around in a circle, over and over.

Before ending the call he added: "In a few minutes you may get a customer survey call asking how I did."

What I said: "Okay, thanks."

What I wanted to say, "You'd better hope I don't get that call, mothertrucker." 

After hanging up, I then called good ol' Chase. You know, my helpful small-town bank. I jumped through some more security hoops and then spoke with a young woman who was slightly harder to understand than the Time Warner guy.  She kept calling me "Miss Claudia." She logged into my account.

"I see here that you made a payment to Time Warner on December 19th."

"Yes, I know all of this. I can log into my own account. How do I convince Time Warner that I made this payment?"

"I'll need to connect you with a claims representative," she informed me. She put me on hold and then came back on the line. "There is a 15-minute wait for a specialist. Do you want to hold that long?"

What I said: "Yes, I'll hold."

What I wanted to say: "Kill me now."

Eventually she came back on the line and told me that the wait was even longer than expected.  While she had me on hold, I dug around in my account online and figured out how to print a proof of payment document containing a trace number. "Never mind, I've got it," I told her.

"Okay, is there anything else I can do for you today, Miss Claudia?"

What I said: "No, thank you."

What I wanted to say: "Anything ELSE? C'mon!" 

I hung up and called Time Warner again. By now, I was getting pretty angry. I made the bleeping payment - it's right there in black and white! I navigated the security maze once again and was connected with a different customer service representative. She pulled up my account. "There should be a ticket," I said. "I was on the phone with another representative for a very long time. He said he made a ticket."

She checked my account. "No, there's no ticket." SON OF A BISCUIT!

"Listen, I have proof of my payment to Time Warner. How do I submit it?  This is really frustrating."

"I see that your last payment was on November 19th," she helpfully informed me.

I could feel my jaw tightening. I went a couple more rounds with her and then eventually she gave me a fax number to which I was supposed to send my proof of payment.

"Faxing is the only way to submit it? I can't send the PDF via email?"

"No, we can only accept a fax."

What I said: "Okay, thanks."

What I wanted to say, "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! IT'S 2014!"

I was surprised I wasn't asked to send a telegraph or perhaps a missive via carrier pigeon. 

"You should hear back from banking services in 24 hours," she said.

"Okay, just to confirm, I send the fax and then I'll get a response within 24 hours?"

"Yes, 24 to 72 hours."

Now, I am not good with math but I'm pretty sure that 72 hours is three fucking days.

On to the next step  . . .

The rescue actually has a virtual fax service that we use for vet records. However, we never use it to send faxes, only to receive them. So, I never have to log into the account. To send one, I needed to log in. Naturally, I couldn't remember the login credentials for this account I had set up years ago. I had to use the insta-chat service to ask a fellow named Antonio who I'd have to sleep with in order to log in and send a fax.  He let me in to the account and I sent the fax.

So now I guess I just wait. I think the most irritating part was that I'm guilty until proven innocent. I know the people who answered the phone were just doing their job, but it just didn't feel like anyone was being . . . I don't know . . . helpful. Someone reading a script and telling me what I already know . . . is the opposite of helpful.

Time Warner better find that money or I might seriously lose my shit. When I was visiting my dad back in November, he dug out my baby book for me to read.  The book was filled with my mom's handwriting, as she noted my first this and my first that. She also observed that little Claudia was very sensitive and had quite the temper. Now, I've never liked to think of myself as someone with a temper but yeah, I can get a little feisty. And I'm hyper-sensitive. So at any given time I'm either nursing a shattered heart over something I've read/seen/heard or I'm mad as a hornet about something I've read/seen/heard. Props to my mom for having my number right from the start. Dad, did you want credit for my temper?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to pour a drink and listen to some angry music. HEAD LIKE A HOLE! BLACK AS YOUR SOUL!


Sam said...

I definitely need follow-up on this.

I got into a major fight with Pottery Barn a couple of years ago. Any time you're fighting a bureaucracy you have to go through about a million steps, and at each step you have to talk to someone who is overworked, underpaid, and just doesn't give a shit. It's horrible, but if you are persistent, you will eventually be successful. Pottery Barn ended up giving me nearly $2000 in credit, which I was owed. You can definitely win this one, because you are smart and you are right. Please keep us posted!

Tiffany said...

I've run into similar situations. Instead of having a service rep create a ticket, he just put me on hold until I had no choice but to hand up:| Luckily, I have two things working on my side. First, I spent the first part of my career working in and managing telephone customer service departments. I am immensely familiar with their processes. Second, I now work in the legal field. It is amazing what a well crafted letter spewing legal jargon and a good dose of statutory text will get you! Throw in a dash of threat to contact the company's regulators- Voila! Results!