THURSDAY GRIPE – Annoying Phone Calls


What is it with me and technology? I have to wonder if I am hard wired to attract snafus with telephones and computers. Even though I question my magnetic tendencies I am not taking ownership to this theory without blaming incompetence in service with so many companies today.

My theory is that with greed in today’s business world, their standards for employees have become so minimal because employees aren’t paid enough, thus leaving them with an “I don’t care” attitude or else they are put in their positions without proper information of their products. This I am finding not only in the service related industries but also in retail stores. I have been noticing an increase in the lack of quality control on many fronts but I am going to share a five hour time suck out of my daily WRITING life that transpired between yesterday and today.

As you can well imagine, a telephone ringing in the wee hours of the night and very early hours of the morning and constantly through the day, averaging about eight to ten times a day, from an unknown number of which when answered there is no reply and when you try and dial it back, there is no connection, is very ANNOYING.

This little escapade has been going on for well over a week now and besides the annoyance and loss of sleep and work interruption, those midnight calls can be very frightening, especially when there is someone very ill in my extended family.

Yesterday, after hoping these calls would end and to no avail, I had to call my phone provider to deal with the madness. I had held off for the exact reasons that I entailed: Anytime I have to call Bell or Rogers with a problem, it becomes an at least two hour deal before I press a million buttons, wait on hold, get a service agent, get transferred again (because it’s always the wrong department), get asked again by every transfer for my life story and personal information, occasionally get disconnected and have to start the whole process over again.

So, yesterday I called Bell to simply ask for the annoying number to be blocked from my phone. About forty minutes into the protocol procedure an agent finally told me I didn’t have that option on my package but she would add it and take off another which I didn’t need in compensation and within twenty four hours the function would be in service for me to add a blocked number. After an hour and a half, I thanked her and hung up.

This morning I went to block the number, only the feature to do so was invalid. While I had only momentarily left my writing and coffee to punch in the blocked number at 930am, I once again lost half the day.

I called Bell back, punched in the prompts, gave all my info to a recording, again got misdirected and forty five minutes later I finally got connected to an agent, a rude agent. When I asked why the function wasn’t working, I was told that was not a blocking function and he would rectify it so the function worked. So when I hung up I retried to block the number but it still would not allow me to use it. I called Bell again with the one nerve I had left in me as I watched the next hour pass by. This time I called tech support who told me I didn’t have that function listed on my account! He TRANSFERRED me to another agent who once again asked for my life story and at that point, she was the lucky winner to receive the brunt of my anger. She apologized again and told me that the function the last agent activated needed the other function with it that was formerly de-activated, hence it wouldn’t work. She then told me to hold while they looked at my account. AND THEN I GOT DISCONNECTED.

I started the call procedure all over again, got transferred three more times ( two and a half hours later) and then I blew up. I asked why there was such incompetence within a major phone company, why my time wasn’t valuable, what the hell is the big deal to activate a function without going through ten different agents for three hours.

FINALLY the last transfer was to the President’s office. I received lots of apologies and assurance there was nobody higher than him to speak with and he would rectify the matter right then. Although he placed me on hold several times and eventually he activated the service and for a tiny compensation of my time sucked, added a small monetary credit on my account.

After all was said and done and he asked me the number I wished to block, I was told that number COULD NOT BE BLOCKED! Apparently it was an outgoing number only. While I hung on the line (again) he google searched the number to find out that it was an automated call from SEARS which there were numerous complaints about. Again he apologized and suggested I call Sears and try and get my number off of their list. “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” I retorted. Are you telling me that I now have to start this nonsense all over again with Sears to get rid of these calls? He apologized for the umpteenth time in a consoling manner. I thanked him for his time and asked him to look into the quality of his employees and to educate them on their products so I or nobody else would have to encounter this Bull#$8t in future.

It is now 1245pm and I am writing this as I JUST  got off the phone with Bell and thought I could constructively vent here as well as share with you the pitfalls of our COMMUNICATIONS service companies — more like an oxymoron — miscommunications. I have to imagine that many of you must have experienced similar situations, surely I CANNOT be the only one these things happen to? I cannot even think about wasting the rest of my day calling Sears today!

This is my billing for my time:

Hours of time on issue:  5

Hours of aggravations and time-suck: Priceless

Resolution:  Not Really