Archive for January, 2018

Are Banks Worse Than Phone Companies?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending my synagogue’s monthly finance committee meeting. Not a particularly mind bending event you say? Well you don’t know what seven Jews can find to make mischief about.

The highlight of the meeting was the general lack of customer service provided by our current banking establishment. This led to my innocent remark about the quality of the electronic payment system offered by my bank. This in turn led one of our committee members to research the comments about my bank on the Yelp website. Not good.

Have you ever seen positive comments about banks? A lack of comments is considered a badge of honor. Beleaguered branch personnel are generally trying to understand and implement lengthy and incomprehensible rules made at the corporate level…rules that seem intended to drive customers to the breaking point with anguished calls for help like “are you crazy?…or, does the person making the rules even have a bank account?…and my favorite “I’m going to switch banks.” Sure you are…if you have a death wish.

While all this was going on, my monthly phone bill arrived from the usually clueless Frontier Communications. My Frontier land line and wi-fi have been missing in action since the fiery holocaust that descended on my home town on December 4, forced me to evacuate my home and mercilessly destroyed telephone polls, fiber optic lines and cell towers.

Obviously, expecting Frontier to send a nice condolence card and a note waiving all charges was too much to expect.  So I thought I’d better give them a courtesy call. I called Frontier’s “we’re here to help” number and settled down for a nap while my call moved ever so slowly toward the end of a very long line of angry customers.

Click…”I’m Matt and how can I help you.”  Matt, a pleasant “customer service” guy based in a red state wasn’t aware of the Southern California fiery holocaust. I asked him if he watched TV. “No, I don’t watch anything that might make me unhappy.” It got better.

I suggested that it might be appropriate to put collection of my debt on hold until they restored service. And a refund of a portion of the prior bill might also be in order starting with December 4, the day my house nearly burned to the ground.

After being on hold for an eternity while Matt searched every available record at Frontier, I was informed that I had to pay my bill and that I would get a refund after service was restored (he had no idea when that might occur.)  I said something like “you’ve got to be kidding.” I suggested that the worst thing that could happen would be that Frontier would cancel my account for non-payment. Since I didn’t have any service anyway, it would make little difference in changing the earth’s rotation or inclination. Matt had no idea what I was talking about.

Matt said he would escalate the call.

Maybe banks aren’t so bad after all.



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