April 6th, 2008

Ahh, Cable... How I'm Glad I Don't Have You Anymore

This is one of the more amusing creditor calls I've ever had, which is the latest footnote in a very long story of weird and sometimes just downright bad service. 

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Since that time, my account has been bouncing between one creditor and another, sometimes simultaneously in the same week.  The first time, I told them I had a newborn and my monthly budget hadn't yet evened out because of the extra expenses.  I offered to make small, good-faith payments on how much I owed until I could put a more substantial amount on the bill.  That was rejected outright as "not good enough".   I have countless times since then offered to make monthly payments on the bill so I can finally get it paid off, but no.  They want the entire amount, and dropping that much money on the bill is just not an option for me.

I've been told to borrow the money from someone else, to get a credit card so I can pay it off, to sell whatever I can that I own to get the money together, to ask my bank for a loan to pay the bill, to discontinue any non-essential service (ie: phone, internet, transportation), to cut down on how much I spend on groceries (which prompted me to ask how much they thought I could cut out of my grocery bill with two small kids to provide for), I have been yelled at for being a "leech" and a "thief"(prompting me to hang up on that woman)... And that's just the "advice" I can remember.

Finally, it comes to a head a couple of weeks ago.  I can't even keep track of all the companies calling me on this by now.  I get an automated message, as usual, prompting me to call this number to discuss an "important business matter".  Since this is the only thing that could be both important and business, I call the number. 

I get this woman who's a little hard to understand due to a moderate accent, but I try to be polite and give her the exact same response I've given everyone else I've spoken to on this issue:  I cannot beg, borrow or steal the amount from any other source.  I cannot pay that much in one go.  I cannot cut "luxuries" out of my budget for the duration because I have two small children who make things like the phone and large grocery orders essential. Yes, I have the internet but it's packaged with my phone service, so no, that wouldn't free up some cash to give to you.  I do not have credit cards, so I cannot use them to pay off the bill.  I am not willing to sell all my possessions to pay this bill.  I am and have always been willing to make monthly payments on this bill, but for some reason that is not an option for me.  She is sympathetic, and says that she will put a note into my file to that effect, but explains that it is her company's policy to not accept monthly payments.  She doesn't explain why this is the case, just that them's the rules.

Three days after this conversation, I get yet another call about the same issue, from a guy who says he's calling about the cable bill.  I ready myself to go through the entire rigamarole again.  He then shocks me by saying "It says in your file here that you're willing to make monthly payments".  This surprises me so much that I blurt out "I was told that wasn't an option I could take". 

He then sighs and hangs up on me.  Let me repeat that: He SIGHS and HANGS UP ON ME.

Seriously.  Customer willing to admit she owes company money despite some rather dodgy service on their part.  Customer unable to pay in preferred method of company, but offering alternatives that would enable company to get their money without completely bankrupting customer.   Company refusing to accept compromises of any sort, then doing a 180 and having their CSR terminate a call they initiated for no real reason I can see.

I haven't had a call since then.  I'm almost bemused at the thought of who they'll have call me next and what'll happen when they do.
I will always love you

Verizon Fios

 Hokay. So. When we first moved to the Angola area of Lewes, DE, we had Mediacom (cable) hooked up with television and cable internet. We started out paying $75 a month for both services, we had the 'entertainment' package' which gave us HBO, Starz and a few other misceleneous chanels, but most specifically G4, which is the gaming network and really the only reason we had cable TV as it was. One day we receive a bill that says we owe $150 a month for the same service... We call them up, and they tell us that they have recently reorganized their "Tiers" and what we had on Tier 1 was now only available on Tier 2, and that they had upgraded us to that selection, thus our promo rate was no longer available, yada yada yada. We have a friend that was a head tech for Mediacom and he said thats what they regularly do to screw people over, as there are no other cable options in the area. 

We disconnected the service. Immediately.

So, Verizon Fios had recently come into the area. Fiance and I are big internet users (ebay=money!) and we decided that we didn't need TV to live, so we went with them. PERFECT service for about a year or so. Then our neighbor gets the same service as us. While the tech is out here setting up his internet, he accidentally disconnects ours. Okay, doesn't seem like much of a problem. So we call up the Fios 800 number and we talk to a rep who says she doesn't know why our internet was disconnected because we were paying on time and such. She has our internet reconected and all seems fine until we recieve the bill. We had been paying $45 a month for the 15/40 (or whatever it is... ) service, and now we get a bill for $75 dollars. We called up to see what the deal was, and the rep says that because we were not 'new' customers that we could not receive the promo rate we had when we were disconnected, and that there was a $20 reconnection fee. We were a little confused, but, we argued with them for a while saying it was their own stupid fault that we got disconnected in the first place, so they said they would credit our account the $20 and change our bill so that it would only be $45 a month. For us, that extra $10 a month does mean something to us. Anyway, so month goes by, we get the bill... Still says we owe $20 for the connection, and still says $55 for the service, AND $150 for an unreturned modem/router. SO, we call them up, and we get an actual manager on the phone this time. We explain the situation, and she reveiws our account and notices that the last rep we talked with had credited the OLD account of ours with the $20 for the connection fee and had changed the OLD account's billing to $45 a month, even though the account was closed because they disconnected us (apparantly when you re-connect, they start a new account). She adds the credit to our account, and says she is going to remove the $150 for the unreturned modem and router (which, we never got a router from them, because we're using our own linksys router... their router sucked and we returned it within the first month of service!). So, even though it was removed from our NEW account, our OLD account still reflects that we never returned anything and we are getting collections notices in the mail saying that if we do not return the modem, that we will be placed into a collection agency. We called them up, again, and bitched them out. They FINALLY removed the damned charge from all over the place, credited our account $100 for the trouble, and changed our rate to $35 a month! All in all, they made up for their suckage, but, still. You would think they would have this shit straightened out by now! 
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Alaska Airlines

This was told to me by a friend last night.  She was flying from Los Angeles to Portland (not her final stop.  Weird airline but that has nothing to do with this story.

My friend had her arm in a sling because she had an 80% tear in her cuff.  Her daughter had bought her a small suitcase with wheels for a carry on and she was really struggling.  A stewardess told her not to worry.  The young man behind her would help her.

My friend, she is a real sweetheart, asked the Steward to place her bag in the bin above her seat.

The steward took the bag and then said to her: You can take the sling off now.  He was not joking.

She started crying.  Her daughter (and I told her so last night) said she should take it up with the airline.  That behavior is inexcusable.