Saturday, August 8, 2015

"Bank on Stupidity"

Ok, so you guys have seen the way I deal with customer service people. I joke a little, I have fun with them. Until they make me mad. Then I can become...snarky and condescending. For instance, when dealing with my bank. 
Allow me to preface this whole situation here. Back in the beginning of July my bank got a notification from Visa and MasterCard that a vendor my card was used at had been compromised. As a result my bank limited my transaction limit for any transactions over $50 that don't require a signature. 

Of course, I found out about this the hard way when my card was declined when paying a bill over the phone even though the money was in the bank. So I called my bank to see what's up. "Didn't you get the replacement card and the letter we sent?" Um, no, I've not been home for over a month to check my mail. 

The day I get home I check my mail. Sure enough, a new card. Awesome! All I've gotta do to activate it is use it at an ATM to check my balance. I can do that. I'll go have a chitchat with the machine and everything will be right with the world again. 
Oh what joy! My PIN doesn't work now. Well that's less than ideal. I'll just call and see if I've gotta reset it or something for the new card. And that's where it all went downhill. I'm willing to admit it may have partially been my fault. But here's an overview:

After going through the automated system in which I enter my account number, date of birth and social I get connected to a customer service rep who asks for everything the automated system did. Already frustrated, my first question is "why do we spend 5 minutes pressing buttons to enter all this info if you're just going to ask for it anyway? Isn't that kinda redundant? Isn't that kinda redundant?" To which I was informed the automated system doesn't relay the information. Oh. Well that's kinda dumb. Is it just so we can practice to make sure we get our information right before we talk to someone? 
So, as it turns out, my PIN isn't the same with this new card but they don't know what it is. This guy's telling me I have to go into my nearest branch to set up my PIN and it can't be changed over the phone. "Oh. Ok. So it can't be changed in the computer and it can only be changed if I go into the bank?" That's correct, sir. "Well, not to point out the obvious but I didn't go into the branch to change it. So, um, how'd it get changed?" The computer did it for security. "Ah. So, you're telling me the computer that can't change it without my authorization and me making a personal appearance did exactly that?" I don't understand your question, sir. 

This is where I started getting that twitch. "I didn't change my PIN or request it be changed. So can you tell me how your computer changed it?"  Well, sir, it's for security. "Yeah, I got that. But now I've gotta drive 60 miles to the nearest branch to fix you guys' cockup. Who's paying for my fuel and time for this 2-3 hour round trip?" Well, we're sorry for the inconvenience sir. It's for security purposes. "Hey, Sparky, I get that you're reading from a script and not listening to me but say 'for security' one more time please. I'm clearly too stupid to comprehend those two words when used in conjunction." Well, sir, we were trying to protect your identity. "Really?! My 'identity'?! Am I an effing SUPERHERO now?! Look, Alfred, I'm gonna mosey down to the batcave and kick your dumb ass." I understand you're upset, sir, allow me to get my supervisor. 

After a brief hold I got to level 2. I felt I was getting somewhere for a split second. Until their first sentence was: for security purposes I need to verify your account info. "What?! Are you kidding me?! Let me ask you: if I've verified this twice already and the call has been escalated do you think I've suddenly become someone else while I was on hold? As much as you guys are worried about protecting my identity shouldn't it be SECRET?" Mr. Touchet it's for security purp..."stop. Stop right now. No. I need to speak with your boss. Not a lateral move. Not some fellow idiot reading a prepared script from the computer but an actual human with some level of authority above telling little Billy it's break time. And the only words out of your facehole that are acceptable are 'yes, sir' or 'please hold while I get someone smarter than me to help you'. Now, blink twice if you understand." Yes, sir. I'll get the branch manager. You're clearly upset. Can you hold please? "Yeah. I'll just include it with my billable hours." 

Less than a minute later someone identifying themselves as Ted, the Branch Manager came on the line. Now I was gaining some traction. Ted politely said he understood I was unsatisfied with my experience so far. He even apologized for my inconvenience. "Inconvenience? A 120 mile round trip is an inconvenience to you?" Well, sir, we can mail you a new card with a PIN attached. It'd be there in 7-10 days. "Well, that may ordinarily be a viable solution but I'm an over the road truck driver and I'll be back outta state by then. So you'd be mailing me another useless card." It wouldn't be useless sir. It would have a new PIN. "Yes. And it would be in my mailbox and I'd be driving around the country so I still couldn't use it to pay bills which is what I use if for." Oh yeah. You said you were a truck driver. So there ya go, you can just stop in at a branch while you're on the road. (He said this like he was proud of his problem solving skills.) "Let me ask you something, Ted. When's the last time you saw an 18 wheeler at your drive thru window?" We don't have drive-thrus here. I'm sorry for your inconvenience. "Ok. Maybe the miscommunication is my fault. My truck is 80 feet long and 80,000 pounds. It's not a Prius. Bank parking lots and surface roads are not our friends. Now, I could drive up to the nearest branch in my car but I feel it's not fair to your customers that we have to fix your errors at our own expense." Well, sir, this is a bank and we don't reimburse people for personal expenses and inconvenience. "Right right. I get that. Except I'm not asking you fund my next dentist visit. I'm just asking you why I'm spending my money and my time to correct a mistake made by your bank, not me." I'm sorry for the inconvenience sir. "Say inconvenience again and I'll drive that big truck to Houston, park it inside your bank and firmly wedge my foot so far up your ass you'll get athlete's foot in your sinuses. Inconvenience is having to wait too long for your lunch break. You assclowns are getting between me and my money. That's beyond inconvenience." Mr. Touchet, there's no need for that language or threats. "What part of over the road truck driver makes you think I'm bluffing about driving to Houston? I'm unbalanced and you have my money hostage. Do I sound like a hostage negotiator to you?" Let me check with my boss to see what we can further do to assist you. 
"Further?! You haven't done ANYTHING to assist me yet. You can't 'further' assist me if you've never started." Yes, sir. I'll see what I can do. 

After about 5 minutes on hold good old Ted came back with what he felt was a viable compromise. They deposited $70 into my account to cover fuel and snacks for the trip. As it turns out, whoever he spoke with thought just relenting and paying for my fuel to run up to the branch to get a new PIN and withdraw a chunk of my account was easier to deal with than what they called "verbal abuse". I still say I should've been a lawyer.