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Today's motto: The customer is always wrong

February 13, 2015
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

This week I was all set to write another piece about growing up, then something happened to make me change my mind and write about something else. But, as I think about it, it is a story about growing but not growing up, just a little older and a little wiser, I hope.

This past week I found I had a glitch in one of the bills I pay and called someone to see if I could get the matter settled. I will try hard not to mention the company or the exact problem because if I did you would know who I was writing about.

The more I tried to get the problem solved the more tangled it became. At one point, someone on the other end of the phone told me that I had not paid the first three bills from the time when the service was acquired and that the bills were from 1993. When I ask to see the bills and my nonpayment of them, I was told that it would be impossible to see them since they were before the system had been computerized.

After a little more back and forth, it was decided that in fact I did not owe any back payments and that every thing was fine. Two months later the problem again raised its ugly head. Again the phone calls went back and forth and nothing seemed to be resolved. I decided to go and talk to someone in person. I went to his office and there was this gentleman sitting behind this large computer screen. I had to look over or around the big screen to have a face to face conversation.

The person looked up the information on the computer and said, "I see that this problem has been worked on before and that everything seems to be in order. I see that you have missed your last month's payment and that you also missed a payment month before last."

I showed him my paperwork including canceled checks and bank statements that showed that the amount had been paid. He told me that the computer was never wrong and that somehow it must have been a mistake on my part. I then asked him a question that I think every consumer has asked over the last half of the 20th century.

"The computer does not have a mind of its own. Someone has to put the information into the computer system. Do you think that just maybe someone on your end hit the wrong key?"

I was then told that I would have to call someone else in customer relations that he could not help me. I made the call from his office and explained my problem. The person at the other end of the phone said that he wanted to speak to the gentleman that I was talking to. After what seemed like forever he hung up and told me that I needed to file a search for the missing payments.

About that time the lady in the next desk from the person I was talking to spoke up.

"I have looked up the account and find that someone has given you three other account numbers." So once again at the last minute the problem was solved.

I thanked the young lady for her help. I left the office hoping that there would not be any other problems. I can't help but feel that times have changed when dealing with people who sell you services. The customer who used to be considered right is now always wrong. The people we sometimes deal with will not even look at you while they are talking. Somehow the system has broken down and I do not see of a way of fixing it other then keeping every scrap of paper you get from a company and most of all save every bank statement that you get.

 
 
 

 

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