Customer Support Woes

Why is it that some companies just don’t get it?

Twice in the past couple of months I’ve experienced absolutely terrible service from large companies in completely different industries.

My wife and I recently cashed in a few whole life insurance plans. The company my wife’s plan was with simply required one phone call and a signature on a form. Aside from time in the mail, the process was quick and painless. Our money was in our bank account in days.

I had two whole life accounts with a different company that also holds several term life and disability insurance plans for me. When I called them, I immediately received the run-around.

“Sorry sir, you can’t have your money until we process the account cancelation through our customer rentention department.”


Keep in mind, they weren’t losing me as a customer (yet). I was just cashing out two of my insurance plans. I asked them how long this would take and if they could cancel the automatic payments coming out of my checking account before the next payment, two weeks away.

“Sorry sir, but those payments have already been sent to our super-duper fully autmatic and modern money transfering system. You can cancel the payment through your bank after it has gone through.”

Well, as I found out through several very time consuming trips to my local bank (that’s another rant for later) , you can’t reverse this charge through the bank. Only the insurance company can issue a refund for the payment amount.

I can’t cancel an automated payment. I can’t reverse it. Why don’t I have any control over my own money and what happens to it?

Eventually, after several more calls to the insurance company and weeks of waiting, I received my refund. As to the cash value of my life insurance. I had to sit through a long boring lecture as to why I shouldn’t close my account from the insurance salesman that originally sold me the plans. Then, I could close the accounts.

Recently, I upgraded my phone. This upgrade required a new two year contract and an account change (again, another rant). Because of this account change, I received two bills in the mail. One to pay off the remaining amount in the old account and a second for the new account. We promptly paid the bills.

Yesterday, we recieved two more bills. One with a credit of $26 on the old account and one with a past due amount of $15. So today, I had to deal with my mobile phone provider’s customer support. Apparently the checks were crossed during data entry. No big deal, it happens. I’ll just call and have the credit on the old account applied to the new account.

Wrong! After an hour long phone call which included 55 minutes on hold time, the support rep informed me that they can’t directly transfer the credit from one account to the other. I have to wait 60 days for the credit on the old account to “expire” and they will cut a check. Meanwhile, I need to write another check to pay for the past due amount.

Oh, and the irony of it all is that the signal continuosly broke up so that I could hardly hear her throughout the conversation.

“Can you hear me now?”