Hey guys! Good to see you all again. So, how ya be? I’m great at this end. Kicking butt and getting butt kicked, so it’s situation normal for me. LOL
Okay, today’s topic is rules or processes that make absolutely no sense and the people who blindly enforce them—and have I got a doosey! My mother’s internet has been down for two months…that is 2 freaking long months, and it’s taken an act of God to get the local land line company to send someone out to look at it.
You’d think filing a trouble report would be easy—but you would be wrong. Not with this company. Maybe if you live in the perfect world with no challenges, your interactions with them go smoothly. But I don’t live in a perfect world and neither does anyone else in my family. In fact, we have extra challenges—and this company CANNOT handle challenges.
So, just to make sure you all know the challenges here, my mother is deaf. She’s been deaf her entire life and speaks sign language, so communication is challenge number one. Challenge number two is that she’s 83 years old, and still lives in her house with the support of a Life Alert device. Challenge number three is that she needs a walker to get around. To communicate with the outside world, she uses a video phone that works through her internet connection. When she makes a call, a translator intercepts the call and acts as the go-between to read her signs and translate to another person on a normal telephone, and vice versa.
Now, if you’ve been following all this, you will understand that if her internet has been down for two months, so has her phone. Remember when I said she’s 83 years old and uses a walker? Yeah, that means she’s not very mobile and because she is on a fixed income, she stays home most of the time. So her video phone is her only contact with the outside world, and her biggest means of socialization…not to mention it’s how her Life Alert unit works.
So now you have an 83 year old woman stuck in her house with no way to communicate with the outside world. Sad but true. So you’d think when her daughter places a call to the land line company to tell them her internet service has been down for a month, they’d bend over backward to help an old woman out. But nooooo…not this company. Instead of being compassionate and sending a technician right out, they are focused on the fact that her daughter (me) is not listed as a contact on her account.
Now, keep in mind that this is a phone company. It’s not a bank or a credit card company. I’m not trying to steal her millions (as if she had some). I’m not trying to create havoc by vindictively having the phone company cut off someone’s service. I’m not trying to hack into her credit card or order merchandise on her nickel. It’s a freaking phone company, people! I’m just trying to get her phone repaired.
I patiently explain to the first guy that I need to have a repairman out to her house. He says he can’t take that order from me because I’m not designated on her account. I ask him where I can send in a copy of the Power of Attorney and he says there is no way to do that. What??!! Okay, then how can we get this resolved? His response? Priceless! They will have to talk to her personally. I explain to him again that she’s deaf. He says that’s okay, she can call them using a TDD number. Seriously? Uh…she’s still deaf. I explain (still patiently) that because she’s deaf, she uses a video phone which works over her internet, which is…wait for it…DOWN! He says they either have to talk to her or I have to be there with her when I call them. I tell him I’m not making a 40 mile round-trip drive just to get a technician dispatched. He can’t help me then. Really? I need to talk to a manager.
Okay, now I’m on a minimum 20 minute hold because part of their process is to punish you for wanting to speak with someone that’s empowered by putting you on criminally long hold times. So I hold and finally a supervisor comes on (even though I’d asked for a manager). I start all over at the beginning with this guy and the story is the same. They can’t take a request from me because I’m not listed on the account, there is nowhere to send a copy of the Power of Attorney, and I have to be there with her in order for them to take the request from me.
Now I’m becoming a little less patient (translation…about to sail over the edge). I ask if they can see the line is down from their end and he puts me on hold again. When he comes back, he confirms that yes, they can see the line is not working. So I say great…can you just send someone out to fix it? Uh…no…because I’m not listed on the contract. Freaking seriously?! So I asked him how can we get this resolved? He suggests she call them herself at the TDD number. Again with the TDD number? I explain yet one more time that she uses a video phone that works over the internet…no internet, no phone. He’s apparently reading from the same script as the first guy because he suggests she go to a neighbor and borrow their phone. Uh…no, she is still DEAF and does not have the equipment it takes to use their phones. Oh, well then maybe a neighbor can make the call for her. Really? I’m surrounded by ijits! I explain that she is deaf and the neighbors cannot speak sign language…so how the hell is she supposed to even talk to the neighbors? I ask if they can’t make an exception this once since they can see all the challenges we are facing. Uh…no. Okay, I’m done with you…I need to speak to a higher level manager.
Alrighty then…another 20 minute hold while they punish me even more for wanting to talk to an empowered/intelligent human being.
Finally I get a manager on the line and we go through all the same crap yet one more time! She’s deaf, I’m not on the account, we can see the line is dead but we can’t send a technician on your request, she can use the neighbor’s phone, she can get the neighbors to call for her…SHE IS FREAKING DEAF!!! This is the point at which I sailed completely over the edge and began cursing and hinting that they have processes in place that discriminate against the deaf. I figure I’m gonna start with a hint and move (quickly) up to a full-fledged threat if I have to go up another level. But this guy is much smarter than the first two. So after we move through all the same levels of suggestions and countering, he finally starts looking for ways he can help me without breaking their rules. This is different! So when I tell him I can log into her online account and give him any piece of information he needs and he can see that it is my phone number and email address specified as primary contact, he finally hits on the solution. So he asks me what the profile name is on her online account…I give it to him. Eureka! Now he’s willing to dispatch a technician. Mind you now, we are also now two freaking hours into this phone call!!!
Okay, now we fast forward to two weeks later. The technician never showed, and the phone is still dead as a doornail. So I have to call again. Imagine how tickled I am about this! So I steel myself and I dial the phone…but this time I do it from mom’s house so she is sitting right there next to me just like everyone on the previous call suggested, which assures they will take the request from me. Right? Oh, silly girl!
This time I get a woman who puts me through all the very same suggestions that I encountered 3 times on the previous call…and my mother is still DEAF. So I remind the woman that their policy is that they can take the request from me as long as I have her with me. Uh…no…apparently that policy only applies if she’s NOT deaf and…well, she’s still DEAF. Crap! I need to speak with your manager, please.
You guessed it…20 minute hold while they punish me yet a third time for wanting them to actually provide the service my mother is paying through the nose for. I get a guy this time that seems to be on a par with the last guy from the first call…these two are at least riding the long bus. But, alas, he’s no more empowered than the first woman. So after going (for the fourth time) through every stinking objection and suggestion on their standard script, and confirming that the first three people were wrong and sitting next to my mother only works if she can hear, I thank him (for being of absolutely no help) and ask for his manager.
Aw crap! I keep forgetting about the mandatory 20 minutes in the penalty box for expecting customer service. All right, it’s been an hour and I’m due to a meeting in a half hour. There is not enough time to sit on the 20 minute hold and go through all the objections again before my meeting. So I’m forced to hang up.
There must be another way. Sweet baby Jesus, this is more painful than a root canal and natural childbirth put together! And keep in mind that we are now almost 2 months down the road and this poor old woman is still a victim of a phone company who charges top-tier prices for crappy service.
So, the bottom line is that one week later, the technician finally shows up at the house. It takes him 5 minutes to discover that the line from the pole to the house is dead and he has to call out a crew to fix it, so he’s not sticking around. They should have it fixed in a day or two. Seriously? How in hell am I supposed to believe that? In the meantime, they have also sold this poor old woman trying to get by on a fixed income a $100 modem because they were so certain that it was a faulty modem (even though they had not been out to properly diagnose the problem). Thank you, phone company, for your outstanding customer service! (NOT)
Well, I think I can safely say that their service truly does stand out from the crowd. I’ll let you know later if the phone ever gets fixed. If not, you’ll probably see my mug shot on the 9pm news as they haul me off in handcuffs.
How about you? Ever had an experience similar to this where you encountered stupidity so rampant that it deserved an Olympic medal? Leave me a comment with a brief description of your brush with stupid. Misery loves company and I’d love to hear your story too!
That’s my story, bone-headed and braindead, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on tight now, ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!