Rhymes With Fuchsia

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fender-Bender on the Information Superhighway

This afternoon I got a call from a woman who said she was making a courtesy call to let me know our account with our cable and Internet service provider was past due, and would I like to pay by credit card? Which I proceeded to do. She thanked me and gave me a payment reference number, which I wrote down, although I did not write down the exact amount paid.

It took about half an hour for me to realize that I shouldn't have done that (if you didn't already know I was slow, now you know). I called the provider, whom I will give the pseudonym Dave, since I wouldn't want to confuse you by picking the name of someone I know. During the next hour various employees of Dave told me the amount of the payment that Grant had made to Dave online yesterday, and that 1) Dave would never call or email me about a bill 2) Dave might call with a reminder of a past-due balance, but it would be an automated call and no one would ask me for any personal information 3) Dave did contract with a third-party company that sometimes made calls and might collect payments on past-due balances. One of these employees suggested that I call the phone company and see if I could get the number of the caller, so that I could call them back and verify that they were legit (or not, as the case might be). Fat chance: if the phone company gave out that info, no one would ever buy caller id, which I'm now seriously considering. (Maybe I should have said I was the CIA?)

Finally I called the credit-card company. "What can I help you with today?" the rep asked me.
"Either Dave is extremely disorganized or someone just stole my credit-card number," I replied. She was quite helpful: she told me that the charge had been made by Dave in the same amount that Grant had paid yesterday, down to the penny. So my guess is that the call was indeed legit, if unnecessary.

Things I have learned from this experience:
  • If someone we do business with calls and asks us to make a credit-card payment, we should call them back first.
  • For a company that deals in the instantaneous transmission of information, Dave is remarkably slow at sharing information with his own contractors.
  • A little customer-service training wouldn't hurt either.
I'm going to call Dave again in the morning and see if they have a record of the second payment. I wonder what they'll tell me this time.


  • How confusing and aggravating! I do hope it wasn't a hoax and that you'll find the right customer service rep to help you.

    By Blogger Margene, at 7:41 AM  

  • Good luck. I hate it when things like that happen. I want to be a cheerful, helpful person, and crooks take advantage of that - the barstids!

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:48 AM  

  • It's hard to think that quickly on those out-of-the-blue thingies.

    Crosses fingers that this one was legit.

    By Blogger Alwen, at 10:00 AM  

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