Between Husband and I, we have spent oh, I don’t know…4000 hours on the phone and in the store over the past few days, trying to clear up our cell phone account. I think I mentioned in my last post, but maybe not, someone somehow used our account to purchase 4 new iPhones and add 6 lines to our account. Oh, the joys of technology, it makes life so much easier, doesn’t it?
We thought we cleared it up the day before Christmas. Then we thought we cleared it up the day after Christmas. Then we were certain we cleared it up yesterday. Our contract is up, Man Child and I are due for upgrades. Perfect timing, because the week between Christmas and New Year’s is when the cell phone stores push the sales. Yay! This was the first time in years that my cell phone didn’t completely die before Christmas in the time frame when our contract was up. Because no, I will not replace my phone until and unless I’m due for an upgrade. The full retail prices on these things are ridiculous, I don’t care if I spend 8 months with the phone held together by duct tape.
Man Child and I went into the store yesterday, ready to get new phones and downgrade our plan. We’ve been paying a ludicrous monthly bill for what we use. Woo hoo, I’m psyched, I’m finally going to get the phone I’ve been wanting for years, at the price I’m willing to pay. Which, for the record, is free. (Once I get my rebate.) It isn’t the most current model, but groovy enough for me. Only we couldn’t, because the cell phone carrier is now on the case, making sure no fraud occurs. Isn’t there an expression about that, something about a barn door, free milk, escaped horse, something?
Even though the extra lines and charges had been removed from our account, as far as the carrier was concerned, we already re-upped our plan and got new phones. I couldn’t take care of it in the store, because the account is under Husband’s name. Grrrrr. Fine. We leave, Husband calls and spends another 3 hours on the phone with the carrier this morning to clear it all up and make sure I’m an authorized something or other to make decisions and handle problems. For the record, Husband doesn’t even use this carrier anymore, because of their exorbitant prices and previous bullshit over the years. Man Child and I still use them/the plan, along with Mother-in-Law. M-i-L because it’s easier for her, Man Child because they have the best signal at and near his school, and me because they have the best overall coverage in the country, and there have been several times already when we’re out of town and Husband’s phone doesn’t work but mine does. One of us has to have a working phone all the time. Two kiddos away at school, another one with medical needs, someone has to be reachable, no?
So, Man Child and I went back to the store this morning. Picked out our phones–again–go through a thing with the salesman. He was pleasant, but of course, trying to make the best sale he could. I get it, this is how he pays his bills. But no, I’m sure we can and are going to downgrade our plan, and no, $350 worth of protection plans aren’t worth two free cases. Really. I’m sure. M-i-L doesn’t need or want a smart phone. I need a lower phone bill each month. OK, we establish what info we need transferred from our old phones to the new ones, and the salesman begins to process the order. But wait!
First, I get a phone call on my cell from the fraud department requesting permission to process the order because our account is now flagged. Thumbs up. Surprise! Order still can’t go through. There’s a mysterious something pending on our account. A mysterious something we didn’t authorize or pay for. Ummm, get rid of it? The salesman, who started out so smooth and friendly when I first met him on Saturday afternoon, is now growling into the phone with whatever department is supposed to take care of this, stabbing the digit keys with his index finger as he dials. Again. and Again. Apparently, they’re just as quick to disconnect calls from store employees as they are customers. Seems to me if you’re a phone company you should be able to transfer a call without disconnecting it, but perhaps I set the bar too high.
While he’s on hold, I try to convince him he should give us free phone cases for our troubles, while he looks me straight in the eye and explains it doesn’t work that way, how it isn’t really our loss or trouble, it’s the phone company who took this huge hit, so there’s no reason to expect any courtesy/compensation. Really? This is my fault that someone, somewhere, didn’t make an effort to confirm it was truly Husband making these HUGE purchases and changes to our account; an account we’ve had with them for ten years now–for phones they charge hundreds of dollars for, that cost them about 10 cents to make? No reason for a major phone carrier to extend courtesies despite the fact we’ve now wasted many, many hours on this? Heh.
At this point, I’m losing it. This is too much like shopping, and I’m starting to look and feel like a 9 year old with a serious case of ADHD who didn’t take her meds. I should be home. Sleeping. Playing with Flower Child. Writing. Reading. Listening to Nerd Child tell me about his most recent research on something serious and intense that I don’t understand but love hearing his passion. Anything but standing in the middle of this fucking store getting absolutely nowhere.
Man Child goes out and gets us coffee. While the salesman on the phone is dealing with the vortex of the fraud department, we chat with another salesman who had helped me the last time I got a phone, over two years ago. Seems like a genuinely friendly young man, we chat about New York and life while pretending the other salesman isn’t about to have a stroke on the phone with fraud and my head isn’t about to explode from this ridiculous level of bullshit. I take the opportunity to do some shameless self promotion and plug Mrs Fringe, Man Child goes out and brings back breakfast. Our salesman, still on the phone.
We’re now back home, with one very costly migraine, but no new cell phones. Why? Because now the fraud department is being extra cautious, and even though I was added as an authorized user/decision maker/bill payer this morning, they decided I can’t exercise my glorious power of handing over my debit card, with my name, and my identification, without Husband either there in person or on one of the cell phones from this plan. Husband is at work. With his cell phone, which is not one of the ones from this overpriced quagmire of a cell phone company.
Thirty minutes. I’m willing to give thirty more minutes to this tomorrow, before I tell this company and their fraud department to kiss my rapidly spreading middle aged butt (not the individual store or salesmen, because they were quite nice and did what they could from their end) and go buy a phone elsewhere, with a month to month contract. In case of emergency, send smoke signals.