Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dealing with Bureaucracy while On The Road

We are back in Loomis, in the Valley, and it is going to be HOT today, oh darn.  But what gets me even hotter is when you have to deal with an un-named cell phone carrier (V) who has received payment, but has not credited payment, and cannot begin to credit it until Monday, and may ask us to pay again immediately while they take 4-6 weeks to cut a check to pay us back.  (Hey, how did that “V” get in there….ok, so it is not AT&T, it is not Sprint, it is not T-Mobile….so I think you can figure out what the “V” stands for.)

When we moved into the condo, we decided to drop the land line, which was the master billing address for our “V” phone bills.  We made payment through our online banking method, where they cut the check and send it out, which included the final amount for the land line, all was well.  Then the next month we go into the online banking and send the amount…but it never shows up on our Verizon account.  So ten days ago I called and talked to a representative and we quickly spotted the problem, I changed the account number in our banking so that future bills will have the right account on it, and she said that if the credit for payment does not show up by the 20th, to give them a call back.  Ok, problem solved!
Today is, yes, the 20th.  Is the problem solved….well, uh, NO!  Now someone has to clean up this Skata, and that person is…well…me.

So I call the dreaded “V” company again….hardest thing is finding the correct answer to the many automated questions where I can indeed talk to a human being.  Eventually I am put on hold, just find out that I need to answer another question, our password, which is apparently different than our computer logon password, and after answering it wrong twice, put back on hold awaiting a customer representative to come on.  That finally happens about ten minutes later…who then asks another series of questions to be sure we are who we are.  So I am now back to where I was ten days ago….talking to a '”V” wireless agent who cannot find our payment even though the bank says the cashed the check.  “I am going to have to have you talk to the landline division, can you hold for that?”  Do I have a choice????  Another five minutes, and she comes back saying that she has Andrew on the line.  “Is he up to speed on our problem I ask?”  “Yes sir, he is….”  “Hello Andrew….”  Good, now perhaps I am getting somewhere….I hope it isn’t just around and around and around.

“Ok sir, now I am going to have to ask you a few questions to verify that you are who you are….”  (Where is that dog that’s cleaning up the poop at….might be a good time to insert another picture of that here, again.)   “Now sir, how much was your last payment?”   “Well Andrew, are you talking about the payment that no one can find, or the payment before that?”  “Your last payment sir.”  (Have you ever just felt like screaming the words, “Do you all know what the @^&$!@ you are doing here?”)  “Ok Andrew, let’s start with the payment that you can’t find, how about $###.##?”   “Yes sir, I have that right here, so now I am sure that I have the right account….what can I help you with?”   (You have to be kidding me….am I on Candid Camera or something?”

Why yes Andrew, you see that payment there needs to be sent over to your Wireless division so that they know that I have paid my bill, and they can give me the correct credit for payment which they are seeking ASAP, and of course, I want credit for the $5 late charge that I was not late with since you have been sitting on our money for 15 days now.   “Well sir, I see that we have scheduled to repay this back to you, it will be taking 4-6 weeks for that to happen.”  “Andrew, send it over to the wireless division please.”  “No sir, I cannot do that…but Financial Services might be able to do that, and they will be open on Monday.”  “Do you have a direct line I can call to get through to them?”  “No sir, you just call the same number you just called.”  “So am I going to have to tell them all this stuff again???”  “I have made note on your account.”  “Could you give me the land line account number so this can go a little faster?”  “No sir, we cannot give account numbers out over the phone…we can receive them, but we can’t give them out.”  Oh, I see….the feds are only listening in on their end of the conversation, and can’t hear our end of the conversation because I think the feds are tired of hearing the tone of PISSED OFF customers.  Thank you Andrew, I will call back on Monday, and I hope they can get this all straightened out….

Ok Marcia, I think we are getting no where here…..and then the phone rings.   It is an automated survey from “V” company.  First question after the explanation that I had just been helped by a customer service representative.  “Did the last person you talk to understand and resolve the problem you were having?”   I look a Marcia, she looks at me.  Well, he understood, but…. “Perhaps you did not hear that, did the last person you talk to understand and resolve the problem you were having?”   What do you think hun, he did understand, but….  “Perhaps you did not hear that, did the last person you talk to understand and resolve the problem you were having?”   ok, I push ONE.  “Ok, you answered one, if that is correct, push one, if not….”  I have had enough… is time to hang up on “V”…..until Monday when I have to try again…..


Now, in case you wonder why this is so difficult, it is very simply complicated. (yes, I said that correctly).  Remember back when there was just one phone company?  Ma Bell?

Then the federal antitrust lawsuit, and the break up.

And how Cell Phones went from not being used much because they looked like this….

….to being used a lot because they looked like this.

And when all the various phone companies wanted to merge their services into what we have today, well, the feds said ok, BUT, you have to have separate companies, one for landline, one for cell, and now, one for TV services.   And you have to be sure that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.  That is what we are up against, just so that we don’t have another Ma Bell situation in the future.   Instead, we get stuck with this…..

It just makes you want to run away from it all……and that, folks, is how we deal with Bureaucracy while on the road.

Important Update:  Called Verizon Monday (7/22/2013) and after being on hold for another 15 minutes or so after working through the automated phone system, we are told that we have to make payment to the cellular division, and await a check from the land line division.  Nearly lost it when she said, "Well sir, you are the one who made payment to a closed account..."  and then a bit later says, "Well sir, you are not the first one to do this, it happens a lot....".  So I tell her, "Perhaps Verizon should change their policy so that they can better serve their customers...after all, Verizon is not the only phone company out there."  Just to hear, "Well, I am not the President of Verizon, I cannot make those changes...."  "Well, perhaps you can make the suggestion to your boss and see if it goes anywhere...."   good luck on that one....   To top it off....our online banking is going through an upgrade, and we cannot cut a check until tonight.  This upgrade should have been finished Sunday, I guess they must be having problems with it.  Of course, I could write a check and put it in the mail....but with our luck...well, I won't even go there.


  1. I'm sorry for laughing but this was great. You did an outstanding job recreating the situation. The graphics are wonderful. I'm pulling for you, Dave! I hope Monday is a much more successful day:)

    1. Oh, I am glad you did laugh. Humor makes things better, and this is so crazy that it is funny, but at the same time it is a pain in the you know what to have to deal with it all. Like how come the person I talked to ten days ago did not connect me to the land line division, who then would have connected me to financial services, and this thing would be done with already? And why does it take them 4-6 weeks to pay me back, but they expect me to pay them within two weeks (unless Financial Services is able to transfer the payment over to the cellular bill)? And what is with this survey? You choose 1 or 2, and once you choose it, they make you hit 1 again to agree that you made the right choice? So if that is needed, why don't they make you verify that when you verify your choice that you verified it correctly??? As you can see, this can go on and on and on....and that is Bureaucracy in action! lol

  2. This had me laughing too! We've had AT&T for years. Their customer service was atrocious but in the last five years or so they have improved so much that it's like dealing with a totally different company. No guarantee that it'll stay like that but it's so nice to get help in just a few minutes rather than the hours and days that it use to take for anything to be resolved. Good luck-hope it all works out!

    Colorado is a wonderful place to spend the summer - cool temperatures, beautiful scenery, lots to do and not many people if you stay on the western side of the divide. But it looks like you're really enjoying your California visit too!

  3. Yes, it is great to be with family, and it is great to be near so many fantastic areas within 150 miles of where my parents live. Still lots to see and do, and sometimes mom and dad get to come too! Enjoy your summer. Glad to have put a smile on your face. --Dave


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