Have you been to “customer service” hell?

Earlier this year, I recounted various disastrous scenarios of customer service gone digital (see prior post). Of the four, I had a sneaking suspicion that one would continue for months. I was right. I had little faith that “fax” the company insisted I send would do the trick—especially since the company claimed it was the fastest internet in the country. Communicating only via fax seemed at odds with its very being.

inbound-call-centre-vacancy.jpg_1352272647Calls to customer service last year (September 20th, two calls on November 15th and another on December 13th) to resolve the case of the “missing” digital box seemingly were going to produce a positive result. In fact,  I was told by Mikisha (reps won’t disclose their last names, even when pressed), that the $398.61 replacement cost for the digital box that was returned in person 11 months earlier was credited to my account. Good news!

Not so fast. In March, a collection agency got involved. Oh good. To recap the insanity: Verizon (oops, did I let that slip?) sent my account into collections to recover the cost ($398.61) of a digital box that was, in fact, returned to a company storefront months earlier, and later verified by the company as returned. I was also erroneously charged (and paid) for nine months $7.99, plus taxes, for this returned box. This means the company was pursuing collection of more than $470 (less taxes) for merchandise it had acknowledged was returned and services for which I overpaid. Nuts!

Upon learning this, I called customer service again (March 25th) and was told it was an error. The charge for the returned digital box was reversed while I was on the phone with the representative and she said within 48-hours I would have an email indicating the charge reversal was pending, followed by a second email, indicating it was processed. Furthermore, my account was marked with a “code” indicating the supervisor would call me to resolve the overpayment.

“A code?” I asked. “May I have the name of the supervisor?”
“No. We can only give you a code,” the rep responded.
“Okay,” I conceded with skepticism.

Predictably, more than 48-hours later, no email and no phone call from the supervisor. I called customer service again and was directed directly to the collections agency. [As you can imagine, that went well.] I tried again. This time I got through to another rep who was going back to the very beginning of the saga. That wasn’t getting me anywhere, so I asked to speak with a supervisor. I was prepared to be on hold all day, if necessary; it turned out to be just about 15 or 20 minutes.

The supervisor was skillful in calming me down and worked through the issue. After a time, he said someone, early on, neglected to ticket the incident correctly, which is why each time I called, I was sent in circles. The proper ticket number was needed to trigger the correction in the system. Without it, the account was considered delinquent and automatically went (and stayed) in collections regardless of what any other customer service rep said he or she did.

Post Script: As of this writing, it appears the $398.61 charge for the returned digital box was recorded and the Collections agency was notified the account is settled. It also appears that a check for $72.80 for monthly services I never received will be sent in a few weeks. If all this, in fact, is true, thanks goes to a patient Verizon customer service supervisor named Jay (though he did give me his last name).

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