Customer service Hell revisited

By: Robert Lee - Contributing Columnist

At this moment I am revisiting what took place two years ago with a phone company. The name matters not, but I bet you can guess which one. At my wit’s end is where I am today. I do not think there are two people who are on the same page within this company. They haven’t proven it to me. It was a simple request that I had.

If I was reading this story, and it was about someone else other than myself, this would be funny. It is not funny at the moment. Maybe at the end of this story I will be able to laugh. I can’t at this time. At moments when going through my nightmare, I found out what “going postal” truly meant.

Now I will never tell anyone that they should go postal for any reason, for the taking of a life is nothing to laugh about. My story starts with a simple request. That request was for a contract.

Now some of you will ask, how in the world could such a request be translated into a story that will end up being half a page in this paper? You will understand in short order .

But there are others who will be saying to themselves, “I’m not alone, I’m not alone.” Truly you are not alone in this hellacious nightmare on earth. My Hell, as I stated all started with that simple phone call.

I am an honorable man. I pay my bills. I will do without just to be able to pay what I owe. My current hell started on or about Dec. 12 of 2016 with my request to keep my plan. My personal hell came in the form of a customer service representative by the name of Rick. The names have been changed to protect the innocent — that’s what was said on “Dragnet.”

The name of the company does not really matter. I have had conversations with people who deal with other service companies other than the one that I write about. It seems just about all of them are lacking in one form or the other.

As I stated, my hell came in the form of Rick. Rick was a kind man who led me to believe he was trying to help me. That’s not the truth — Rick was trying to help Rick. Rick was trying to take care of his bottom line, that being his paycheck. I want to make a living just like anyone else. I do not want it at the expense of others.

If you ever call any company and the call lasts longer than five minutes after you get a human being, you better hang up — because I promise you this: It’s not going to work out in your favor. I know only to well.

Rick, after I explained the reason for the call, stated, “I can help you with that Mr. Lee, that’s not a problem.” You want to bet? At that point Rick said, “Mr. Lee, while I have you on the line let me see what I can do for you.” I should have hung up, for it was at that point my nine months of Hell on earth started.

Rick stated, “Mr. Lee I can save you $10 a month on your bill.” I replied, “That would be great Rick,” knowing that $10 a month was not going to make me or break me one way or the other. But in my mind, it did not matter what the amount was. It was all in the perceived act of kindness that was taking place between myself and kind Rick.

I cannot, at this moment, tell you the exact number that this act of kindness has cost me, but that should not matter as Rick was very kind to me in our conversation .

With the conversation over and done, I did thank Rick, and that was it. Twenty-seven days later, I received my regular bill, I thought. This bill that was to be reduced by $10.

When I opened the bill up, I experienced a tingling felling that turned into the felling of a sharp stick being shoved into my rectal area. Reason being, the bill had not been reduced — it had increased and parts of my plan that I wanted had been removed.

At that time I called customer service, again. The message that I received was “Your call is very important to us, your wait time is approximately 15 minutes.”

“I can do that,” I said to myself. Over the next 60 minutes, I was to hear the message, “We value your call” 51 times.

Some of you will say to yourself, “He was a fool to stay on the line that long.” You do not know the half of it. I stayed on just to see how long it would take them to get to me. I had no choice, it had to be taken care of. So after the 60 minutes was up, I called another number.

At that time, I did get a human being by the name of Tina. I must say she was a very nice lady. She had called several numbers herself, only to be told — after she told the story again — “That’s not my department.” So here we go again. She was on hold with me for another 90 minutes. But she stayed with me, trying to help.

Then we got Felicia, I was turned over to her. I was on the phone with her for 30 minutes. I was told by Felicia that I was not going to be happy with the outcome. I had no idea of just how unhappy I was going to be. I had been on the phone for 3 hours, or 180 minutes, or 10,800 seconds. By this time I was slightly crazed, my neck was stiff, and I wanted to inflict the same pain on someone or something. It was just a thought and no more. But that is why I understand going postal!

I have to go back to Rick. As it turned out, my boy, Rick, had decided all on his own that he was going to change my plan. Joy to the world for all of Rick’s wisdom.

The plan that Rick gave me had features that I did not even know to use.

Rick never told me anything, he just did what he wanted to.

It only gets better. My service was knocked out for several days on features that I needed. I had to stay in my shop because the security was taken out.

I have talked to way too many people. In most cases, there was no reason at all for us to have had the same conversations over and over. I had to tell my problem to Tedra, to Huston, to Connie, to Curtis, to Robert, to Matt, to Tina, to Shelby, to Tiffany, to Gordon, to Josh, to Rachel — who, by the way, was a very nice lady who did come by to visit. Point being by July 28, 2017, I had talked to 55 company employees in this nine-month ordeal. I just got a letter today (Aug. 14) thanking me for my order. Problem is, I did not place an order. I could scream.

Ninety-nine percent of the people whom I spoke with were great people. It’s just that their system is broken — it does not work. Nine months later, my problem is still not resolved. My last bill was $1,367.00 I still don’t think it’s funny. Can no one help?

My final point, if your call last’s over five minutes, You’d better hang up. If you do not, you might get that tingle of a sharp stick being shoved up your rectal area — and I dare say it is not a pleasant felling.

Robert Lee is a concerned citizen and U.S. Marine veteran who owns and operates Rockingham Guns and Ammo. His column appears here each Saturday.

Robert Lee

Contributing Columnist