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A Hurricane Of Extra Charges

, , , , , | Working | January 13, 2019

(I go online to make my cell phone payment. When I go to submit the payment, it takes way too long to process, but it shows the payment made. The next day I check my bank statement to reconcile my checkbook and see that the cell phone company processed my payment SIX TIMES. Thankfully, none other of my automatic payments have gone through yet, or it would have sent my account into the negative by several hundreds of dollars. I immediately call the cell phone customer service line, and after forty-five minutes on hold, I finally get someone and explain the situation.)

Rep: “Okay, yes, I do see where that happened. There must have been a glitch in the system. I will submit this to the department that handles this and they will refund the money.”

Me: “Great. How long will that take? I have bills that will be coming through.”

Rep: “It will take about six to nine weeks. Then they—“

Me: “WHAT?! No, I can’t wait that long. I have to have that money back now.”

Rep: “Well, I am sorry, sir. It will take six to nine weeks.”

Me: “No, that is not acceptable. Get me a supervisor, now. Please.”

Rep: “They will just tell you the same thing. You will be on hold for a while. You will get your money back; it will just take some time. You need to be patient.”

Me: “Listen. I am glad you have over $500 extra lying around. I don’t. I have to have that to pay bills. I can’t wait over a month for it.”

Rep: “Could you borrow it from a friend?”

Me: *stunned* “Get me a supervisor, now.”

(I wait another hour. Finally, I get one and explain to them that their online payment messed up.)

Supervisor: “It takes the department that handles this six to nine weeks to do all the research and make sure that your complaint is valid. But I am looking at this, and I don’t see it as a problem. I know it’s terribly inconvenient, sir, but please be patient.”

Me: “No, it is more than inconvenient. The bill was for $100. You took out $600. Now, my bank account will bounce and my bills will go unpaid because, unlike you, apparently, I don’t have that kind of money lying around so I don’t have to worry and be patient. I will come after your company for all of the bounced check fees, plus I will come after you for all the fees I will have to pay to reconnect my electric and water because I do not have the money to pay the bills now. Or, I can just call my bank and report the charges as fraudulent. Your choice.”

(I think the severity of my situation finally dawns on him.)

Supervisor: “Oh, I didn’t understand that. I thought it was just a double payment. I didn’t see where it was six times. Crap. Okay, I have to put you on hold for a minute.”

(After another thirty minutes.)

Supervisor: “Okay, sir, I am sorry for the hold. I took a chance and called our main office; surprisingly, someone was there. We are working on fixing this now.”

Me: “Forgive me for asking, but why would it be surprising? It’s 10:00 am.”

Supervisor: “Oh, our main calling center is in Florida.” *there is a major hurricane roaring through the state* “And all of the service rep calls have been forwarded to this office. The truth of the matter is…”

Me: “None of you are trained or have the authority to fix any problems.”

Supervisor: “You got it.”

Me: “I bet you are getting some mad customers.”

Supervisor: “You don’t know the half of it. But honestly, yours is the only problem that has come through that really could not have waited until next week when they think the call center will be back up and running.”

(He gave me his direct line and told me to call him back if the money wasn’t back by the next morning and if anything bounced. I checked that evening and everything was returned. I understand a company having issues due to a natural disaster, but what good does it do sending your customers to reps that aren’t trained to fix problems?)