Mar. 22, 2017

Internet Shopping

One year, around Christmas I signed up for an Internet Store Card. I got $10.00 off on my first order. It wasn’t a bad deal. They were even going to send me out a physical store card that I could use to make purchases with much easier. I wrote my account log in ID and password down and put it aside ready for my next use.

In October, 10 months later, I made another purchase. Even though I never received the physical card, I was still able to access my account. However, when they sent me the bill in November, I tried to log in to pay it to no avail. After several failed attempts and out of frustration, I put it aside meaning to deal with it later. I forgot.

When December’s bill came in, it was over $23 with late fees and interest rates. I remembered I had the same problem the year before, except last year my $25 bill turned into almost $60. It was starting to look as if this was becoming Amazon’s trademark.

I had received the notice/statement via email around midnight. It wouldn’t let me log in and insisted my user ID was incorrect (the same user ID they email the statement to).

Surely it was an incorrect password and not user ID. I changed my password, I think, three times. In order to change my user ID, I had to have my account number which was on the store card I never received or else I had to have my user ID to log in to see my account number. It was a vicious cycle. I decided to wait until morning.

At 9:00 I began my task of trying to pay this, now, $23 bill to Amazon. I spent about 15 minutes searching for their customer service number. Once found, I spent another several minutes arguing with the automated voice that I needed customer service. I was becoming impatient.

Even the automated voice on the other end was saying, “I understand you want to talk to a person but please answer this one last question so I can better direct your call. What is your call about (and please don’t yell at me again)?”

“Paying my bill,” I answered.

“Okay. You want to speak to someone in customer service.”

(Isn’t that the number I just dialed; customer service?)

After a series of clicks, I was finally connected. I explained the situation to the nice young lady on the other end who spoke perfect broken English, minus any words that focused on the letter “R.” She helped me change my password again and log into my account.

“Where do I pay my bill?” I asked, finally relieved I was able to complete my task.

“What bill? First you must know to make purchase. You may click on your cart and go through process of checkout first to get bill.”

“I already told you, I am trying to make a payment for a purchase I’ve already made.”

“Oh! You called wrong number.”

“WHAT!”

“You have to call our bank. Please let me give you phone number.” She rattled off a phone number. I thanked her kindly and then wished her a very merry Christmas.

I called the number and lo and behold! An automated voice that sounded much like the other one I had frightened into finally connecting me to customer service. Patiently, I seethed through the automation until finally I reached a young lady who spoke English with a hint of a Pilipino accent.

I again explained my problem. “I’m trying to pay this bill. It started out at $10 and is now $23. Is there any hope to pay it before it reaches $60?”

She didn’t get my humor. It must have been due to a language barrier.

“I will help you,” she offered.

She agreed to send me out a physical store card and changed my account number for me in case someone had stolen my other card.

She promised, “You will get a new one in 10-14 business days.”

After we solved the store card issue, we went through the whole process of user ID and password ending with me refusing to change either one again. “I’ve changed it so many times in the last 24-hours I don’t think I could bear it another time.”

Pleased that she has another satisfied customer she asks, “Is there anything else I can do for you then?”

“Yes. I still need to pay this bill,” I answered. “That’s the whole reason I called in the first place.”

“Oh! You have the wrong department. You need their number.”

“WHAT!”

“Uhm, please hold,” she said hesitantly, “I will connect you and merry Christmas.”

“Yeah, same to you,” I grumbled.

Instead of the next department picking up, it put me back through the call center with the automated voice again.

She said, “Oh, it’s you again. Hold on, I’ll put you through to the next available human being I can track down to answer this phone call.”

Five minutes later, I had my next lovely Asian assistant with excellent broken English dialect. She had such a terrible time pronouncing her “R’s” she had to pause between each word to utilize the correct pronunciation techniques she had been taught.

“Can I know your name please?” I gave her my name. “How may I help you?”

“I want to pay my bill,” I said and then asked, “Is this the department where I can pay my bill at or are you going to have to transfer me to another department?”

She hesitated for several seconds. I’m guessing either someone sent her a message on her screen that said she had better help me or else my automated voice friend triple dog dared her to send me back through her call center. Finally she said, “Uhm, yes, I may help you pay bill. First, I make sure you have new card sent to correct address.”

“I don’t give a damn about that card, Lady. At this rate, I won’t ever use this store again! I’ve been trying to pay this bill since 9:00 this morning and here it is 10:45, almost 11:00. Better yet, I’ve been trying to pay it for a month but Amazon locked me out of my account!”

“Oh, I see problem. We need to change your user ID and password.”

“I already did. Several times. I want to pay my bill.”

“I can take card number now.” I gave her the number and she said, “You have to have debit card. We cannot take credit card.”

“That is a debit card,” I insisted.

“It’s not going through.”

“WHAT!”

“I try again. Please for you to hold?” She came back after a couple of seconds and said, “Sorry. It is debit card and it will show on bank statement. I took off late fee and interest fees. Merry Christmas?”

Even though she did put it in form of a question, I grumbled back some bah-hum-bug holiday wishes.

“Will you please to do survey for us?”

“Are you kidding,” I snapped. “After what this store has put me through today, you’re seriously asking me that? Here’s your survey. This is the worst, the utmost worst, in online buying. I know quadriplegics who would have better luck getting out of a bear trap than paying their bill. I won’t be back. Thank you!”

Now I feel bad. She truly tried to solve my problem and did better than any of the other tech support. Merry Christmas.