What DO They Know, Then?

, , , , , | Working | April 1, 2020

(After bringing my phone in to have the SIM card from an old phone installed, it won’t connect to the network, so as advised, I have come back the next day to see if it can be fixed.)

Assistant: “Sorry, this phone is too old; it won’t work with our SIM card.”

Me: “But I had one of your SIM cards in a phone older than this just yesterday.”

Assistant: “Yes, but we transferred your number to a newer SIM card which isn’t compatible with your phone.”

Me: “Okay. So, change it back.”

Assistant: “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do.”

Me: “What about the old phone?”

Assistant: “That won’t work anymore, either, because we gave you a new SIM card.”

Me: “So, what do I do?”

Assistant: “You have to buy a new phone.”

Me: “Hang on: I came in here with a working phone and another that could work. Then, after I gave them to you, I have two completely unusable phones?”

Assistant: “Yes, you need to buy a new phone.”

Me: “No, I need to speak to your manager.”

(The assistant gets a manager.)

Manager: “So, my employee explained the situation, and yes, you’ll have to buy a new phone.”

Me: “No, that’s unacceptable. You changed my SIM card without telling me or explaining that it might not work in an older model phone. I had a working phone until I gave it to you, and now I have none. You need to fix this.”

Manager: “There’s nothing we can do.”

Me: “I don’t believe you.”

Manager: “I can escalate this to the store manager, if you like.”

Me: “Please.”

(The store manager comes out and I explain the problem to him.)

Store Manager: “Ah, I’ve seen this before; we just need to do a full factory reset.”

(He resets the phone and it works perfectly.)

Store Manager: “Yeah, sorry, a lot of the employees out in the front don’t really know how this stuff works.”

Me: *after a pause* “Thanks.”

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This Contract Is More Painful Than Contractions

, , , , | Working | March 16, 2020

Ever since I was able to provide myself with cell phone service, I have opted for rental plans to be able to get some perks and phones. I have had some smaller issues over the years that were always solved — minor charges and the like — that got cleared with a simple call to customer support. That is, until the reason I left the service happened.

My contract was due to be renewed two months from the date they called me to offer a better plan with a better cost and a heavily discounted phone I was looking forward to, so I took the offer right away. They told me that they only needed the all-clear from the finance department and would contact me soon.

The next day, they called again to offer the same thing. I asked for the status of the last renewal — yesterday, right? — and they said someone had made a mistake and they’d have to do the process all over. I told them to go ahead, and once more they told me everything was fine and they needed the all-clear from the finance guys.

Next day? Same thing, yes, a third time, and a fourth. A fifth? Why the h*** not? Finally, I told them to stop calling and that I would let the offer pass.

Fast forward two months of sporadically getting offers to do an early renewal — already sick of it, by the way — I went to do my last payment and tried to renew at an office of my carrier. Easy, right? Well, apparently not.

Remember the small charges I said got cleared by calling customer service? Well, they all came back at once and amounted to almost another month worth of service. I told them that those charges were clear, with all the authorization numbers I had — I’ve learned through the years to get everything documented — and they told me, “We have to get the all-clear from the finance department.” I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I went to the competitor next door and signed a contract with “betrayal benefits” — get your number from a competitor with us on a yearly contract and get three free months each year.

I got my service running with a new cellphone in a couple of hours, paying the same I had been paying with even more services included and some free months down the path.

End of story? Nope.

Not even a week later, I got a call from a number I didn’t know and, lo and behold, it was from the renewal department of the former carrier. “You know? Yeah, go ahead and try to renew my number, please,” I said, bemused, but this time I didn’t get the usual “waiting for the finance department to clear my account.” This time they said that I owed them some amount. How much? The charges I fought and documented as having them cleared from me. Nope, you aren’t getting my money, former carrier! I hung up, and just because I have one of their offices near me, I went there and asked, “How do I pay what I owe?” Surprise, surprise, I was no longer in their system, and they had no idea how to charge me for anything.

All right, then. What next? Collections called. Yup, not even one week after the last failed renewal, I started receiving calls from the former carrier saying, “Pay us what you owe us.” I laughed at them and hung up. It happened for a couple of weeks, and I got all manner of answers.

“It’s from the last rent.” Nope, it isn’t.

“It’s a residual charge from an old invoice.” Nope, not having that.

“You know what? I can’t even come up with the information. Sorry to bother you.” This one made my day.

Fast forward to today. I receive one last invoice from the former carrier in my mail. I wonder how much they say I owe, and see in the summary, “Charges [Amount],” and then, “Customer Clarifications -[Amount],” and lastly, “Round up from last month payment -$0.35.” The grand total is, “Carrier owes user 35 cents.” We are talking pesos here, so it’s like 1.75 US cents.

I wonder what’s coming up next week.

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This Representative Is Really Phoning It In

, , , , | Working | March 15, 2020

(I have been saving up for a brand new phone. On the day of release, I go to the store to purchase my fresh-off-the-line phone. Unfortunately, I am told it is a no go: they’re all sold out. Stock is incredibly limited locally. I give up for the day. I decide to go in two days later, with a relative who needs a new phone, as well. My relative picks up their new phone and the representative charges me for a phone that will be delivered to the store within three days. I walk out happy, thinking I will have my new phone soon. Four days go by and I am still without a phone. I am somewhat bothered by this but figure they may just not have gotten it yet. Day five comes around and I decide to go into the store. I end up talking to the same representative as the first day.)

Me: “What’s the situation with my phone?”

Representative: “Oh, we now have the phones in stock. Since we got them before your order showed up, they just cancelled the order.”

(I am a little annoyed that I wasn’t called to be informed of this, but I decide…)

Me: “Okay, well, I guess you can hand me my new phone right now.”

Representative: “Well, no. We can’t do that right now. You can’t get your phone today, or any day, until the cancelled order is cleared. Or, I suppose you can pay for the phone.”

(I have to take a few seconds to process this. So, if I am understanding her correctly, they charged me for the new phone and took money out of my account immediately. Then, they turned around and canceled my order without my say-so, leaving my money somewhere in Narnia, where it is playing the role of Schrodinger’s Cash Pile. It both is and isn’t mine, both spent and refunded. I am obviously furious about that and end up getting into an argument with her, flat-out telling her that her line of reasoning makes no sense.)

Me: “You have my money.”

Representative: “It is being refunded.”

Me: “I ordered the phone. I paid for the phone. You cancelled my order without even contacting me. It makes no sense for you to do that.”

Representative: “There was no point in continuing with the order. We got a shipment of phones. They’re here. Your special order was no longer necessary.”

Me: “And you never contacted me. If you hadn’t cancelled it, my special order would be here, today, having arrived after the three days it was supposed to have taken.”

Representative: “We had no way of knowing that you would come in today.”

Me: “You would have called me when the order arrived, I would hope! That is the promise you people made me when I made my order: that I would be called! You didn’t call me, and you cancelled my order without my permission. But you know what? Fine. Just give me a phone.”

Representative: “We cannot do that. You’re being refunded the money, which means you have no longer paid for the phone. If you want the phone, pay for it.”

Me: *eye twitching* “I already paid for it! Look, I just want my phone. When will my money be back in my account?”

Representative: “It will be processed in a month. You can always pay for it now and the refund will be processed in time.”

Me: “I don’t have that kind of money to just throw away a second time! And I absolutely will not give you more money while you’re holding my first payment hostage!”

Representative: “If you’re going to be unreasonable, please leave. I will not be helping you anymore.”

(I stormed out, furious. I called customer service and got told the same thing on the phone. Basically, “tough luck.” I got even angrier. I decided that it was time to give them a right hook straight to the social media kidneys. I went online and made a public post on one of their sites. I laid everything on the line, detailing what they had done to me and how they were holding my money hostage for a month, all the while refusing to give me the product I had paid for. I detailed everything as clearly as I could. Not even five minutes after posting about all this online, the company left me a comment on my post. They asked for the exact store number, the names of the representatives I’d spoken with, and so on and so forth. I told them everything in detail. Their next reply arrived within minutes, telling me to go into the store the next morning — since it was about 10:00 pm at this point — and that there would be a phone with my name on the box waiting for me. They said that they were sincerely sorry about the entire situation and that everything the representatives — both in the store and over the phone — had told me was not even remotely in line with policy. They told me that processing refunds took mere seconds to process, and that the “wait a month to get your money back” spiel was something that they were absolutely going to look into. I was reassured that the cancelled order was being handled by someone who would personally oversee the proper transfer of money through proper channels: the cancelled order was cancelled and the money was being redirected to a purchase. They promised that I was paid up and that the phone was mine. “We’re so sorry this happened. Please enjoy your new phone.” My mind was blown, but I was wary. I wasn’t sure what had happened on their end, but I wondered if I had uncovered something bigger than I had suspected, and that some people were about to be jobless. The next day, I went in and there was my brand-new phone waiting for me. A note had been taped to it apologizing for the inconvenience. I didn’t see the representative I’d dealt with that day, and I — finally — walked out a happy customer.)

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Rudeness Doesn’t Know When To Quit

, , , | Right | January 15, 2020

(I’m talking to a nice customer. A woman approaches, stopping right at the register, next to — and quite close to — the man I’ve been helping, so I assume she’s with him, maybe his wife or something. A few minutes later, while I keep talking to the man, the woman starts pacing around us and eventually stops between us and looks at me.)

Woman Customer: *interrupting us* “I need your help.”

Me: *realizing she doesn’t know the man* “Well, sure, but I need to finish helping this man first.”

Woman Customer: “Well, you helped me yesterday, so you need to help me.”

(My assistant shop manager is the same build as me, and also male, so sometimes unperceptive customers mistake one of us for the other.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t here yesterday.”

Woman Customer: “Well, he looked like you.”

Man Customer: *jokingly* “So, they’re both good-looking men?”

Woman Customer: “Nah, more normal-looking.”

Me: “…”

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Even Mother Nature Is Face-Palming  

, , , , , | Right | December 31, 2019

(In the early ’00s, I work in a corporate-owned cell phone store for a now-defunct provider. We often get yelled at for drops in service and billing issues, in addition to our actual merchandise and return policies.)

Me: “Welcome to [Store]. How can I help you today?”

Customer: “I’ve been trying to make calls all day on my phone and it keeps dropping calls or saying there’s no cell service.”

Me: “Let me do some quick troubleshooting.” *takes a couple of minutes* “Okay, nothing’s wrong with your phone. But earlier this morning, a tornado damaged a major reception tower in Georgia. We’ve been experiencing drops in service throughout the Southeast region because of it. Not much we can do from here, but corporate said they should have the tower repaired by tomorrow morning.”

Customer: “Well, this is unacceptable! I depend on this phone for my business. How are you going to compensate me for being without service all day?”

Me: “You want us to compensate you for a tornado hitting a cell phone tower two states away?”

Customer: “Yes! I’m not getting the service I’m paying for. I should get some of that money back.”

(I sigh internally because all the employees in the store have been having this same conversation all day.)

Me: “There’s nothing we can do here in the store.” *hands her a card with the customer service number* “But you can contact customer service at your convenience and see what they can do for you.”

(The customer leaves but comes back a few days later. She sees me and flags me down.)

Customer: “Hey, [My Name]. I called that number you gave me and they did give me a refund.”

Me: *groaning internally because she’s going to ask for refunds every time her phone hiccups* “Great. Glad it worked out.”

Customer: “But they only credited me a dollar!”

Me: “Oh, sorry to hear that.”

Customer: “You know, I have a friend that’s a lawyer. I should sue.”

Me: “To be honest, I think your friend will tell you that you can’t litigate against Mother Nature.”

(She left shortly after that. Enjoy your hard-won dollar, lady.)

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