Hey, Becky, reach out and ‘access’ this!

Jul. 05, 2014 @ 10:19 AM

True story -- Friday, June 27, 2014, 3:40 pm:

Robot: Hello! Welcome to AT&T customer service! I see that you’re calling from 555-GET-REAL. Is that the phone number you’re calling about?

Me: Yes.

Robot: Great! Now, please say your account number, your address, your Social Security number, your mother’s maiden name, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the VIN number off your car ... while jumping up and down and tapping your nose.

 (I race for the information, and begin jumping around like a crazed woodland creature, kicking the dog, upending the candy dish, and falling into the TV, anything it takes not to be put on hold again. I am a prisoner, trained like a hamster in a cage!)

Robot: Great! Now, please tell me the reason for your call. If you’d like to reach us online, you can access your account information, make payments, change your address, get a car loan, order a pizza and reconstruct your family tree! Just go to AT&T.com! (pause ... hoping you’re gone ... no dial tone ... rats) All right, then (huffy), Main Menu. Press 1 if you’d like to change your address; press 2 for new accounts and sales; press 3 for lawn and garden equipment --

 (I press 0)

Robot: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request. If you’d like to reach us online, you can access your --

Me: (If I’d wanted to “reach her online”, I would have done so, duh) Agent!

Robot: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request. If you’d like to reach us online, you can access -- (I deep-breathe, go to my “happy place,” rip off a thumbnail) Press 1 to change your address; press 2 for -- (yes, my friend, you must listen to every single possibility!) ... press 6 if you had bacon for breakfast and feel guilty; press 7 for complaints about the weather; press -- (Hey, she never said 5! It must be 5! I press 5)

???: “Buon giorno, Sal’s Pizza, will this be for delivery?”

Me: Nooooo! (I frantically press 0 again, then 3, then 7, then every number on the phone to get back to the “Main Menu.” Not gonna happen. Redial.)

Robot: Hello! Welcome to AT&T customer service! I see that you’re calling from -- (I seethe through the entire thing, until the absolute end of the “pressing” instructions.) And to speak to a customer service representative, presssss ... (dramatic pause) ... 88.

Me: WHAT?! How could it be 88?! That makes no sense!

Robot: (snicker) 

AT&T U-verse customer service agent:  (hereafter known as ATT-U-Cuss) Hi, welcome to AT&T, this is Becky (and “Becky,” it is obvious, lives in one of those hard-to-pronounce countries far, far away) How can I help you today?

Me: Well, Becky, I have a problem with my bill.

“Becky”: Certainly! I’d be happy to help you! But, first -- (what she says: “Can you please verify for me your name, address, telephone number”, etc.?); (what I hear: “I’ll be torturing you for another minute and a half, even though I know it’s you, due to the information you already entered WAY earlier in the call -- like when it was still winter -- in order to induce an aortic aneurysm, in the hope that you’ll hang up”). Great! Thank you very much, Ms. Wentz, now how can I help you?

Me: Well, Becky, I need you to help me understand the charges on this bill. See, I was told my plan would cost $78 a month. Period. This bill is for $98.36, and as far as I can tell, I haven’t done anything to precipitate that. I haven’t called 411, I haven’t called my mother (she doesn’t need to know that was a “given”), and I haven’t called Yemen in like ages! 

 “Becky”: (gasp!)

Me: (Bingo!)

 “Becky”: Ahem ... well, Ms. Wentz, it looks like the extra charges are due to taxes and fees.

Me: Yes, “Beeeecky.” I managed to figure that out. So, can you tell me exactly why I should pay a “Federal Universal Service Fee,” or a “Federal Subscriber Line Charge,” or a “Federal Excise Tax,” a “Telecommunications Relay Service Fee,” an “Emergency 911 Service Fee,” a “Worldwide Occasional Calling Fee,” a “Federal Funding Fee,” a “Carrier Cost Recovery Fee,” AND the N.C. state and local taxes? Can you tell me that, “Beeeecky”?

 “Becky”: Well ... uh ... I will now transfer you to my supervisor, Ms. Wentz. There will be a slight hold, and then she will need to verify your information again. Of course, if you’d like to reach us online -- (click)

Me: Hello? ... Hello? ... (sounds of smashing telephone equipment ... and sobbing).

 

Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at chh@heraldsun.com, or by visiting her website at www.vickiwentz.com.