Sunday, December 23, 2007

Customer Service Rants - I


From Illinois Bell, May 15, 1980:

Dear Mr. Richards:

Periodically we make a routine test of the telephone equipment associated with each telephone number.

A recent test indicates a discrepancy exists between our billing records and the actual equipment connected on your premises. This possibly could be due to an error on our part.

We would like to discuss this with you and arrange for a physical check of the equipment at your premises, if necessary.

We have tried unsuccessfully on several different occasions to contact you. Will you please contact us . . . yada yada yada.


I called the toll-free number and was asked how many telephones I had in my apartment. Two. Who owns them? Illinois Bell owns one, I own the other. An Illinois Bell employee installed both of them. Will you call us again tomorrow (I was at work) and give us the 14 character identifier on the bottom of the one you own? Sure. What's the problem?

IBT monitoring shows that you have three telephones and you're being billed for one.

(As an aside, the "other phone," the one I owned, was a modern replica of an old "candlestick" phone.)

The next day I called and provided the 14 character identifier. I was asked to schedule an appointment for a representative to check my telephones. I said that I lived alone and asked if we could schedule it for an evening or a weekend. No, IBT doesn't schedule such activities for those times. We agreed on Tuesday, May 27, between 8:00 and 10:00.

I stayed home for that period and no one showed up.

On June 2 I received a call from IBT and was told that someone had come on May 27 but couldn't get into the apartment. I replied that well, that was because they had not come between the agreed hours of eight and ten, after which I went to work. He asked if we could schedule another appointment. I said we could but I would take no more time off from work. We settled on Saturday, June 7, between 8:00 A.M. and noon.

I stayed home for that period and no one showed up.

Several days later I received a call from a male IBT employee. He wanted to schedule another appointment. I told him I would not, but that IBT could take their chances and send someone during an evening or weekend and if he caught me at home we could deal with it then. He threatened me with the possiblity of having my phone disconnected and told me that IBT had the right to do that if a customer was not reasonably cooperative.

I told him that if my phone was disconnected I would see IBT in court and we would let a judge decide who was reasonably cooperative and who was not, based on our recent history.


From Illinois Bell, June 9, 1980:

Dear Mr. Richards:

This letter concerns our need to make an appointment to inspect our equipment and check our wiring.

Yada yada yada.

Unless we hear from you within ten (10) days from the date of this letter, it will be necessary to interrupt your service on June 19, 1980. If such interruption occurs and there is a subsequent restoral of your service, a restoral charge will apply.


K. Williams


I called the number provided and asked for K. Williams. I was told that she was busy but would call me later that day. I explained the situation and asked that K. Williams be told that there would be no more appointments until and unless I received a letter guaranteeing that someone would show up. Ms. Williams did not call.

Several days later I called and asked for Ms. Williams and was told that she worked in a different office(!). I was given a different number for her, called it, and was told that she was not in at the moment, but would call me back. It's been twenty-seven and a half years, and I still have not heard from Ms. Williams.

But . . . a Ms. Lancaster called and said that she was supposed to have called me. The reason that no one showed up for my appointments was that the wrong forms were being filled out and subsequently thrown away. She promised me it would not happen again. We scheduled a third appointment, contingent on my receiving a letter guaranteeing that someone would show up.

I received that letter, signed by Ms. Hernandez, on June 19, confirming that someone from IBT would be at my apartment between 8:00 A.M. and noon on June 23.

I stayed home for that period and no one showed up.

When I went into the office, one of my employees said, "You know what's happening, don't you? Right now, a bunch of them are sitting in a lunch room saying, "How can we get him to fall for this again?"


From me to the manager of the local IBT office, June 24, 1980:

Dear Sir:

(A two page recap of the above, followed by . . .)

Question 1: Why was I told at first that weekends and evenings could not be scheduled?

Question 2: Why was I told on June 2 that someone had come on May 27, and on June 15 that no one had come on May 27?

Question 3: Does Illinois Bell realize that it will take a court order to get me to schedule another appointment?

Question 4: Does Illinois Bell realize that if they interrupt my service, I will have them in court as soon as is humanly possible, seeking

      a. Price free restoration of service,
      b. Compensation, and
      c. Punitive damages.


Contemporaneous note in my handwriting:

On Monday, June 30, 1980, I returned a (Friday, June 27) call from
M------ V----, who apologized for the poor service, informed me that my service would not be interrupted, said she was going to investigate the whole affair, thanked me for my letter, and said that I should consider the problem resolved and the case closed.

And so I do (barring the long awaited call from Ms. Williams).


Macadamia The Nut said...

lol!!!Merry Christmas friend!

BrokenDownProgrammer said...

And a merry Christmas to you and to all who wish us well.