Clark Howard, “The Consumer Warrior” of radio and TV fame, counsels callers to avoid “monster megabanks” and their infamous “customer no-service” operations. The following story is just one Turkey’s experience with one of these. This Turkey doesn’t listen too well.
Responding to a glitzy ad sent to my business several months ago, I applied for and received a “Chase Ink” Master Card, which promised great cash back rewards for my spending pleasure. I already had an American Express card for my business, but apparently, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. So, I’ve had the Chase card for a couple of months now.
I set up my accounting package to send electronic payments through my bank to the credit card processor. Using the nice, glitzy web based control panel, I also set up the Chase Master Card account to inform me via email when payments are due, when they are received, and when they haven’t been received by the due date.
Today, I received an email stating that my payment hadn’t arrived prior to the due date.
Terrific! I really hate dealing with large credit card organizations.
A sense of foreboding pervaded me as I checked on-line to ensure that the bank had sent the payment I had scheduled. They had. However, upon looking further into the transaction, I found that when I set up the vendor in QuickBooks, I added an extra “2” to the account number, which resulted in an incorrect account number being coded on the electronic payment. Mah bad! This meant that it was between me and Chase, just what I didn’t want.
First, I thought, “Aha! That glitzy web based control panel has a “contact us via secure email” option that might save me the trouble of dealing with the customer no-service folks in real time. So, I emailed a detailed description of the problem, proposing that they review unallocated payments so they could properly credit the payment I sent, which was probably sitting in a problem queue waiting until someone got around to researching it. I proposed a solution — find it and credit my account! — and asked them to contact me if I needed to do anything more. I received a prompt response from a customer service representative. It said, “Your payment for $130.00 dated June 1, 2010 has not yet been received.” Very damn helpful! It was signed with a person’s name and a phone number — the damn customer service phone number from the back of the credit card.
So, I resigned myself to dealing with Customer No-Service on the phone. Perhaps they would be better than Clark said. Uh-huh.
First, I got a recorded voice that asked me for the last four digits of my account number and my ZIP code. I entered these as asked, and then got the first-level audible menu, which conspicuously lacked a “talk to a representative” option. I have learned to enter a “0” and pray that they haven’t disabled it. Fortunately (sort of), they hadn’t. I got some on-hold music and after about 20 seconds, heard some ringing. After the standard message about this call possibly being recorded by the NSA to feed information directly to Dick Cheney, I got a real person.
The real person asked for my name. I still remembered it at that point. I related my tale to the real person, who said he would remove the late charge from my account, but that he couldn’t do anything about the payment. That was another department, payment processing, but he could transfer me. He did. So far, so good.
After a couple minutes of listening to on-hold music, I got a person. She asked me for my name and account number — again — then asked me what she could do to help me. I related my sad tale. She told me that I had the wrong department. I said that I had been transferred internally and I had been assured that she was the correct person to speak to. She said, “No, you have a business card. You need to call that department.” I asked if that wasn’t who I was just speaking to previously, as I had called the number on the back of the card. She gave me a different number, but said that she would transfer me. Sigh!
More on-hold music, and then a live voice asking me for my name and my account number. She also asked me for my mother’s maiden name, which was one of my “security questions.” Unlike the first two drones, this person actually sounded intelligent, so I had a little more faith in her getting the job done. After listening to my story, which at that point was snowballing down the mountain, she said, “You need to talk with payment processing.”
Wait a minute! That’s who I was supposedly just talking with and they said they couldn’t help me.
My intelligent business card rep said, “I don’t know how that could be. The original rep only had to click on his screen to get to payment processing. It should have been foolproof.” Apparently, there were too many fools to ensure that anything there could be impervious to their idiocy.
The intelligent business card rep actually believed me, because she said, “I don’t want to just click on that link to get you to payment processing, because after what you’ve told me, I don’t trust it. So, what I’ll do is transfer you to a department that is all supervisory level people who will absolutely be able to help you with anything, and you won’t have to be transferred all over the place.”
Great! Do it! Thanks for cutting through the nonsense and saving my day!
On-hold music. Fine! We’re getting close to resolving this mess. So what if I have to wait a couple of minutes.
Cool! I didn’t even have to wait that long!
“We’re sorry. The extension you have dialed is no longer in service or has been changed. Please hang up and call back at xxx-xxx-xxxx [the original number]. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
I’ll send them a letter tomorrow. I’m tired.