January 27, 2006

  • Tell you what, I ran into the most frightful "customer service" rep this morning when speaking with Southwestern Bell in an attempt to discover where the money for a couple of Jessica's phone bills got off to.  I don't do it often, but occasionally I'll pay her phone bill via my Bank of America online bill pay account.  Her account's been in there for years....at least four.  Anyway, it turns out that not only the payment made to it last week, but also one back in September, weren't ever credited to her account.

    Turns out that at some point between the time the last occasion I had to pay it and last September, her account number changed, even though her phone  number hadn't.  I didn't know this, so hadn't changed it on the computer. 

    Anyway, it'd caused a big problem, so this morning I called BoA to see what could be done.  I reached a very kind, capable man named Mark in their on-line bill pay department, and as Jessica was over here printing out her resume, she was able to provide the 800 number to the SWB billing department, plus the current account number.  Armed with this info, Mark set up a conference call between him, SWB, and us. 

    The woman inflicted on us by SWB was an Annette, and she was a pest.  You would not believe her attitude!  "Well, this wasn't Southwestern Bell's error.  What do you expect me to do about it?"  "You're just going to have to pay the money again, as it was your mistake, not ours."  "We can't help it if you paid to the wrong account."

    Mark civilly replied that this is not at all an unusual circumstance, and the ordinary method of handling it is that SWB tracks down, via the account number I'd had, where the money went, then reapply it to the correct account.

    Annette was not impressed, merely reiterating it wasn't their problem, and what did we expect her to do about it?

    That's when I asked to speak to her supervisor.  She sounded like she was sucking a pickle, but grumpily agreed to get her manager.  Fortunately, Mrs. Rogers, the manager, was a delight who perfectly understood what happened, and between her and dear Mark the problem was sorted out.  Mark faxed info over to her, and everything should be just fine.

    That Annette creature ought to be fired, though.    Granted, it was not SWB's error, or the bank's....Jessica and I willingly acknowledge this....but it's hardly a weird mistake to make.  Jessica set up ebills through her account at Wells Fargo last summer, and didn't think about the account number on the bill having changed.  Yes, she ought to have notice this, but she didn't.  So shoot her.  No, first sue her, then shoot her.  That seems to be the way Annette would handle it.

    When Jessica was calling SWB yesterday afternoon she said she ran into at least three "Annettes", though finally the LORD provided Andrea, who was a brick. 

    What with the competition from Vonage and other phone companies, SWB would be wise to make sure their customer service department isn't infested with Nasty Annettes.