Well, the house has been beset by problems which required customer service calls. I haaaaaate customer service calls, because usually, no actual service is provided. The people are sweet and wonderful but it's a big old bunch of nonsense. I usually get provoked, and I try very hard to keep my voice patient and kind because I know it is not their faults.
Case number one.
I had a health care savings account provided by my employer. I've been retired for a year now, and I decided to simply cash that account out. It's not a fortune, but $1481 is nothing to sneeze at either. so I made the call to OptumFinancial to begin the process. A very sweet young lady answered, I told her what I needed. She said that I would have to fill out a form and send it in. Okay. I can do that. She said she'd e-mail me the form.
No form showed up, so I called back and spoke with another sweet person. She explained that my account was not active. I explained that I'd been retired for a year. She explained that my account had been closed and that the money reverted back to Optum Financial.
"They KEEP it? How is that even legal? I was not notified that this could even happen!" I was flabbergasted. To just take someone's account without even telling them?
Sweetly, she told me that she would reactivate my account. I answered a bunch of questions. My account is reactivated. She then promised to e-mail me the form I needed.
I checked my e-mail and lo, it was there. I noticed that it can take 6-10 weeks for the account to be closed and that there would be service charges but they gave no indication of what those charges would be.
In a grumpy mood I began filling out the paperwork. I had the statement from the company, and it kerflumoxes me that they send out monthly paperwork telling me how much money I have only to learn that my account is inactive and that they are claiming THEY own the money. Something doesn't make sense here.
You know what else doesn't make sense? The fact that the paperwork requires a 12 digit account number, yet on the statement, you are given only the last four digits of that number.
I resolutely picked up the phone again, waded through all the preamble for the third time, pressing one for yes, and picking options, etc.
Another sweet voice answered the phone. I explained, trying to modulate my own voice into something that sounded kind (IT IS NOT HER FAULT! IT IS NOT HER FAULT!) and I finished with "and so I need that full account number."
And very sweetly she said, "I'm sorry but I cannot provide that number to you. I will mail it to you and you should receive it within 10 business days."
I choked back the words that came immediately to my lips and said, "That really doesn't seem fair to me," as sweetly as I could manage, because really, I was feeling not all that sweet.
She said, "You received that account number in your welcome packet." I said, "But that was YEARS ago. I don't have that."
She was so very sorry, and even heaved a sympathetic sigh. She would send it to me. "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" she asked.
Case number 2:
And then there is Breezeline. That bill covers our internet, our television, and the stupid landline that receives mostly scam calls, so we don't answer it. However, if you try to drop the stupid landline, that messes up the bundle and it will actually cost you more for your television and your internet.
This weekend, we lost our television, our internet and our landline (we probably would not have noticed the phone for days, actually). The simultaneous loss meant one thing. We had a past due amount. This happened once before. They do not send out paper statements. Tim made our regular monthly payment of $250+, but there had been a rate adjustment. We were past due by $10, so they shut it all off.
This happened last year. Probably about the same time. The young man was very apologetic and assured us that we never should have been shut down over such a small amount. He was very nice, got it all taken care of, and we assumed it was a system fluke.
Alas. It was not. The same thing happened THIS year over $11.43.
We talked about it and decided to scrap the television service. We get 9 channels. That's it. Of those 9 channels, 3 are the same station. Two are PBS (which as sustaining members, we have PBS passport for free). That's a lot of money every month for such a paltry offering. We already knew that we didn't want the landline.
I called Breezeline customer service.
A sweet voice answered. She sounded suspiciously like the sweet voices that answered over at Optum Financial. I explained that I was calling to settle up the past due $11.43 and to cancel the television service and landline, that we were only keeping the internet. She was glad to take the payment but she could not cancel our services. That required a Retention Specialist (the way she said it, I'm sure the name is capitalized). These important people do not work on the weekends, but she would be glad to have one call me on Monday.
(IT'S NOT HER FAULT! IT'S NOT HER FAULT!) Sweetly, I said, "Thank you."
She brightly told me she was ready to take my payment. I told her that I did not want to make that payment until I was certain that the cancellations were done.
"I understand," she said, "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"
The Retention Specialist did not call, and so I called this morning.
I explained what I needed done. She said that she couldn't do anything until the past due amount was taken care of. I paid the $11.43.
She wanted to tell me about some promotions.
"No," I said firmly. "We are not happy with this service. This happened last year and we were assured that it was a mistake. Now it has happened again. It seems like to me, when someone has a record of regular monthly payments of $250+, a rate hike for something as small as $11.43 should be seen as a mistake, a reminder sent out that the rates have gone up." They mail past dues, but the regular bills need to be accessed by going to their website and logging in to your account.
I was trying awfully hard to be sweet. Truly.
She said, "Well, I can't shut off your phone without the passcode."
Me: "What passcode?"
"You have a four digit passcode."
"I never set that up. We've had this landline for like 12 years."
"Legally, I cannot make changes to your phone without that code."
It was getting harder to be sweet. "Well," I said, "You're going to have to tell me how I'm going to find out what that code is."
"Top right hand corner of your past due bill."
Okay. Little bit of passive aggressive there. I gave her that number. She took off the landline. She took off the television. Our new monthly bill would be $65.88.
"Can I help you with anything else, today?"
Grit teeth. "No thank you."
So Tim and I went out and got a ROKU, and I did all manner of technical things that always make me nervous. I even scanned my first QR code. I got everything set up, and by the time that Tim got home, I had found a very old favorite that he loved: The Red Green Show. (The immortal words of wisdom: 'If women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy' or the Man's Prayer: 'I am a man. I can change. If I have to. I guess.' The Possum Lodge Motto: 'Quando omni flunkus, moritati' ~translation: When all else fails, play dead. ) All was well.
Later that night, I was sitting at home watching Antique Roadshow, and feeling pretty happy with my day's accomplishments. Out of the blue, the landline rang. The landline that had been canceled that morning.
Resolutely, I picked up my cell phone and called Breezeline once again. I sat through all the prompts and finally I was speaking to a live person. She was just as sweet as she could be. I explained that I canceled my television and landline that very morning, but that my landline had just rung. I explained that I wanted to make sure that it was shut off because I did not want to be charged for it.
She explained that my account had been reactivated when I paid the past due $11.43.
I explained that I didn't want it reactivated. We went through it all again.
When she was done, I said, "I was quoted a price of $65.88 this morning. Is that where we are at?"
And she said, "Well. Yes. Until the promotion expires. August's bill will be $133. plus tax."
I swear to you. There was not one bit of sweetness left in me. I said, "I was not told that this was a promotion. I was not told the bill would double after three months. Not one word."
She apologized just as sweetly as could be.