Thursday, November 30, 2006


The joys of cell phone companies.

First, you must envision all of this taking place with call assistants who have such thick Scottish brogues that I can't understand every third word, no matter how hard I try or how loud I crank the volume on my handset.

Second, I think I popped a blood vessel in my eye after the third call.

"Hello, I'm a current customer, and I'm unexpectedly relocating overseas next week. I need to find out how I can close out my account."
"You can't."
"Erm, what?"
"You can't. It's too early."
"Okay, well what if I pay a penalty?"
"You need to give us 60 days notice if you want to close your account."
"SIXTY days?!"
"In writing."
"Are you serious? Can't I give it to you over the phone, or by email?"

"Hi there, I'm an existing customer and I have to move overseas next week. I know I can't cancel my account until January, which won't actually cancel it until March, but I'm trying to find out how I can make payments when I have to close my bank account."
"Hm, that is a problem."
"Yes...yes, I'm aware of that. It is my problem, after all."
"Tricky, that."
"But surely I can't be the first customer in the history of your company to deal with this?"
"Well. Let me put you on hold."
Long period of intermittent music and static. Two voices pick up the line.
"Hello?" "Hello?"
Apparently, he's brought in his supervisor/trainer.
"You wanted to talk about making bill payments from overseas?"
There's now a lovely double-Scots/Southeast Asian echo going, in which I can no longer understand anything because she's literally feeding him every word, and I CAN HEAR TWO OF EVERYTHING.
"Yeah, that's what I said."
"Well, you can just put it in your husband's name, if he's staying here. Call back the day before you go and say you need to switch the billing info to his debit account."

I hang up, satisfied, then grow suspicious.

"Hi, I'm relocating and need to confirm something I heard yesterday. I'd like to switch the billing info to my husband's debit account. He's a customer, too."
"Oh, sure. I'll just pop the form in the mail."
"Form?? Another form?"
"Yes, it takes 28 days from the time we receive this form for the change to go through."
Me, stammering furiously: "But I was told yesterday that..."
"Ah, well you were misinformed."
"But my bank account is closing in four days! What am I supposed to do? I have his information right here -- hell, I can have him CALL you and talk with me."
"Well, that won't work."
"Because you have to send in the form."

"Hi, look, I'm an existing customer, god knows why, and all I want to do is make a bloody bank account transfer without having to hand-deliver it to wherever the hell you are."
"Ah, you need to fill out a form...."

So the short of it is that I have to fill out a form! and make a "manual payment" by phone from the U.S. on the 20th, which in theory is supposed to work.

In theory, I'm going to be sent to collections before I ever get this right.

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