Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I have a personal hatred for telephone answering systems that force you to wade through 5 minutes of choosing "options" before you can finally get to a message that tells you the "call volume is especially high" and you will need to wait another 10 minutes or more before being able to talk to a real person.

I just got off the phone trying to correct a problem with a misapplied student loan payment. Twenty-five minutes later I am no farther than when I began the call. After wading 5 or 6 layers of "menus," I waited for 10 minutes to talk to a "customer service representative" (meaning some person who is payed minimum wage to answer phones but has no idea how to answer any question or issue I may have). I politely informed him that I submitted a payment to pay off loan A in its entirety, but they misapplied the payment and split it between loan A and loan B. Could they please apply the payment correctly, how it was initially requested on the payment form?

Unfortunately, I am informed, it is impossible to make any changes to the account without authorization from the account-holder (Dave). So I tell them, "Yes, I understand that you would need his authorization to make a change (such as taking out a new loan, consolidating, etc.). But I'm not asking you to make a change to the account. I'm asking you to correct a mistake that one of your employees made in applying the loan payment. All I am asking is that you check the form and correct the payment application to match what was requested on the form."

"I'm sorry, but that is impossible. We need his authorization."

"Okay... you need his authorization. Is there a direct number that I can give him so that he can call you and give you that authorization?"

"No. I'm sorry, we do not have a direct number."

"So you're saying he needs to call your 800 number and wade through 5 menus so he can wait on hold for 15 minutes only to get a new customer service representative who has no idea what is going on and start this whole process all over again?"

"I'm sorry we do not have a direct line. He needs to call this same number you called."

"Sir, I hope you understand that this was not MY mistake. We submitted a form and one of your employees made a mistake. We are asking that you have your employee correct the mistake. Is that too much to ask? My husband is busy and works long hours and is never home while you are open. During the day he is at work and is in meetings or meeting with customers most of the time. This is why I am handling this in the first place."

"I'm sorry, we need your husband's authorization."

"Can I give you his number and you can call him to get that authorization?"

"I'm sorry, we cannot reach him that way."

So... after spending 25 minutes on the phone trying to get a company to fix a mistake that THEY made, I have to get Dave to call and spend an additional 25 minutes of his time or write a letter, print it and fax it to make them do what they should have done right in the first place. Productivity in America... a company makes a mistake and then demands their customers spend hours of their time in order to fix it.

1 comment:

LCM said...

Oh I HATE that! TD had a lot of stuff in his name and I would spend time trying to fix it and then they would get the mad side of him on the phone. I just want to deal with it and get it over. He would also call and get me added as an authorized user so that I could deal with it. Now, most stuff is in my name because I just don't want to deal with TD having to waste his time. I joke about taking his car away because 'I bought it'.