Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Prejudice Exposed

I am fired up about this, and I just can't seem to let it go! I just had the most horrible customer service with a supposedly reputable company which for the sake of ruining their reputation and making people think twice about using their services, I won't mention their name...AOL!

Here's the story...I have an account that I keep open and only leave a couple of dollars in at home. Mainly in case of emergency, but also so that my mother and family can deposit their usuall birthday or Christmas cash for the boys with ease since they bank there as well. It was also the first account I ever opened, so I am somewhat emotionally attached to it...but I digress.

My sister just started college and needed Internet access, but the phone company could not install DSL for a few weeks, so she decided to use the "free" AOL account in the interim. I allowed her to use the debit card from the aforementioned account to set up the account since she only needed it for 12 days on the "free" trial.

My sister is very detail oriented, so she spoke to 3 different reps who ASSURED her that the card wouldn't be charged and they only needed the number on file in case she went over the minutes. She also wrote down the confirmation number after she closed the account and was assured by 2 additional reps that NO CHARGES WOULD BE MADE TO THE ACCOUNT.

I received my bank statement, and lo and behold, not only is there a $9.95 fee, but of course an overdraft fee of $33.00!!! So OF COURSE, I immediately got on the phone to see what the hell happened. After about 11 reps, 4 supervisors, AND a letter to the Manager of Billing Operations & Services, of course I get the $9.95 back, but they don't give a DAMN about the overdraft fee they created!

And you see, my gripe isn't about the fee, because I'm sure my bank will reverse it, but there is a principle in this matter which I tried to communicate, and do you know that when their...well..."could not speak English-well"ians...who couldn't understand what I was saying and/follow my line of thought, they hung up on me? EACH ONE!!! I was also highly frustrated because for one, they have long wait times and a ridiculous voice activated promt, secondly becaus I had to keep asking them to repeat themselves because I didn't know what they were saying either!!!

So I had to pause for a moment yesterday after I asked, "Do you have ANY reps and or superivisors in the United States, and how do I reach them?!?!" Tera, that is not right!


Blogland?

18 comments:

Susan said...

If you see it on, watch "Outsourced". It won't make this situation any better but it's highly interesting.

Tera said...

Susan~Someone else mentioned that...I'll have to tune in!

NoRegrets said...

It would be so good if we could charge for time spent. I would be sooo happy if that would be possible. Ugh.

Tera said...

NoR~You said it!!! I would be rich off this one!

Nina said...

I hate AOL. Don't be surprised if you have to go through this for the next few months...get some money in that account just in case. I had the HARDEST TIME EVER canceling my service with them a few years back. The 'effed up company just wouldn't let me go and several times when I thought I had the situation resolved, there goes another charge. Bastards.

Kofi said...

Don't forget that with the damage to Internet cables in the Middle East, lag times were expected to increase as computer interconnectivity over there has diminished... globalism at its finest.

heather said...

j and i used aol for about 6 months and will ~NEVER~ use it again. everytime we turned on the damn computer the auto updates would crash it. regardless of how many times we changed the settings or how many reps we spoke with.

and from the other side of the phone at a call center, i agree whole heartedly with you. i can't tell you how often language barriers come into play at work. it's frustrating as hell for everyone involved. i look at it this way. if the product you are supporting is technical or financial in subject matter, then the right thing to do is to make sure your customer base has support in it's native languages.

Tera said...

Nina~Oh no!!! I will make haste when I arrive next week!!!

Kofi~I concur!

Heather~We should start a frapping (trying to cut back on cursing) protest!

Nance said...

tera--how frustrating! this is what i encountered all the time when i tried to solve issues with a dell computer: all their consumer customer service calls are routed through bangalore, india. only their BUSINESS customer service is US-based. it's difficult to encounter the language/accent barrier and then have it boil over into what seems to be a racial issue, but i think it's not entirely that. it is a matter of feeling frustrated about the matter at hand and having that be complicated further by another issue that you also have no control over. if it were a different accent, would you be more or less frustrated?

Tera said...

Nance~Hmmm, now you're shedding light on another issue, because I remember sighing deeply when I just "heard" the accent by the time I got to about the 5th rep!!! And it wouldn't be so much a problem if I could actually understand what they're saying and vice versa! I mean how can they troubleshoot customer issues if not only do they not understand what I was saying, they couldn't follow my train of thought.........and they hung up on me! BASTARDS!

*Sorry, you just made me relive that!*

NoRegrets said...

Go see Susan's blog for a PHOTO..

Dagromm said...

I will set a vendetta for life against companies that f me over with bad customer service. I especially hate it when they tell me they can't fix where they f'd me due to a "policy". I let them know that I also have a "policy" and that is not to get screwed over. What a bunch of b.s. I've gotten into the habit of getting their name and employee # if they have one before I ever start talking to them about the issue.

Tera said...

NoR~Will do!

Dagromm~I hear that! Oh, and don't you love it when you ask for the name and/the employee # and they say, "I cannot disclose/share that information" or when you ask for the number for corporate office and they claim that there "isn't one..." ooooh that pisses the shit out of me!!!

Nance said...

tera--didn't mean to upset you all over again. i was trying to absolve you! i don't think it's racist to feel frustrated over a language barrier. if it was an hispanic accent, would you have been less or more frustrated? how about a jamaican accent? my point was, it isn't racial, it's lingual, or maybe not even that. it's just frustration over a lack of control compounded by another obstacle. what if the rep. had been eating, too? or you had a lousy connection? same thing, probably. you'd have said, "do you have anyone who has better manners/a better phone that i can talk to?"

Tera said...

Nance~Oh Nance, I totally understood, it was just that thinking about it again made me mad all over again! LOL!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

thats why i run my own servers and domain - lol im cheap. nice blog folk hope u dont mind me stumbling through

Tera said...

Torrance~Welcome to P&P!!!! Sounds like you have an excellent plan! Thanks, and I hope you will come back :)

braincell said...

thank u for the drive by, but it seems like all they want to do is hustle us out of our money