Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When a Firm Hand and a Hierarchy Are Required

I don't ask for a lot. And I don't ask for two reasons: 1. People will look at me like I'm stupid because I never ask for anything so who the hell do I think I am to not only ask for something but ask for the whole god damned world. and 2. I'm not likely to get it.

When I do manage to allow myself to ask for something, it's only because I can't do it myself. Like replace a non-working cellular phone. Well, I guess I could do it myself but then I'd pay for it and if I was intending to pay for it I wouldn't have put insurance on it. Ya know?

So, I called one of the nation's largest cell providers and they tell me that I have to call the insurance company. I think, "Hallelujah! I knew getting insurance was a good idea!"* and I call the insurance company as directed.

The technician there isn't really a technician at all. She's someone who answered a multi-choice questionnaire and has some semblance of technical ability and so was deemed able to press enough letters that would allow the computer to spit out a diagnosis. I know because I had a job like that once. She/the computer has decided that although I didn't cause the damage I have to pay my deductible. I tend to disagree.

I tell her that I don't intend to buy another phone when I've had this one for 35 days and it's not working. I had a phone for 4 years before this one ** and she's severely mistaken if she believes that I'll be forking over $100 a month to keep a phone in my purse! She gives me the same old song until I tell her I want to speak with her manager. Did you know that she works in the only call center that doesn't have a hierarchy?

I called her on it and told her that I would not be filing a claim. So, she transferred me... to claims. I lit the new girl up. If only because she wanted to quote me the technician's notes. I told her I was aware of the conversation since I had been the only other party in it and that what I had was not an issue with comprehension but rather one of an unanswered question. How can they deem that I should be financially responsible for damage I didn't cause? No one except for me had even laid eyes on this phone.

CSR #2 tried to tell me that they always send phones in tact. So I asked her a very simple question, "Did you recondition this phone?". She answered in the negative. I tactlessly told her that she should never tell anyone what was done unless she had completed the task herself. She could in no way attest to the quality workmanship of this phone because she had not performed it, however, she felt the need to try to pacify me and I didn't appreciate it. I asked to speak with a manager in any department so she transferred me to a CSR that was a negotiator but not a supervisor.

CSR #3 told me what I already knew. I had the option of taking it to a service center to have someone look at it and if they corroborated my claim the new phone would be free. But here's the thing, at this point, I'm so angry and have been on the phone for so long that I've decided that to go out of my way to do anything with this phone is outside my realm of responsibility. I'm just not doing it. I ask CSR# 3 how many times I have to ask to speak with a supervisor before one actually picks up the phone. And so, I get her supervisor.

He's a nice guy and tells me simply that what I want - a free phone - is more than he can offer. He understood my frustration and says that this isn't the first time a customer has been mislead by the service provider. They don't always know the intricacies of the system. I have the option of taking it to a service center but if I choose not to he is bound by his ability to do one thing - take a claim. I appreciate his honestly. I am glad to finally have heard something that comes close to answering the question I'd asked at least a dozen times.

I was being held responsible for the damage to the phone because that's just the way they do business. The only time you won't pay for a replacement is if software damage occurs within 7 days. Seven. Days. Seven days isn't even enough time to take it on a test drive. You spend the first seven days reloading apps, reinstalling your contact lists, trying to sync all of your email accounts and letting the important people know that you're back in business. In seven days, you haven't made a tweet, a status update, or a simple phone call. It's like living in California and finding our your homeowner's doesn't cover earthquakes. It's a fucking rip-off.

I was honest with him when I told him that's not good enough. I explained that they would have to do better than that. Because after being lied to***, condescended to****, given much negative attitude, misdirected, and practically hung up on, I wasn't going to call this conversation over until a FREE replacement phone was on the way. That's how I ended up at the service provider's corporate office.

She was sweet and her voice dripped with Souther sugar. I knew that she could tell me to fuck off in a corner and I'd obey. CSR #5 was so nice that by the time I recounted my 35 minute ordeal I was close to tears. I knew that I tattling on everyone else and I didn't really want to bother her with my troubles. But you know wha she did? She took down my complaint and put in an order for my free phone. All I had to do was send the broken one back.

I should send her flowers.

* I never said that. What I actually said was, "I've had the same phone for 4 years! Why do I have to pay for insurance when Nat's the irresponsible one?"

** That phone was a soldier. In the end, it was totally being held together with hair ties and modeling clay.


**** When I asked for her name she said, "I'll spell it for you". I can hear and I can spell! What I won't do is let you talk to me any kind of way. Script or not.

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