"Frustrating For Sure"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Monday, July 10, 2017

Why doesn't anyone answer the phone?

We used to be able to call the secretary of state's office right in Bad Axe — not anymore. We get to dial 1-888 and begin the endless punch of numbers until you forgot which one you wanted. In my case, after starting over. I finally reached what I thought was my proper destination only to be told, "You have reached the secretary of state's office — all lines are busy please call back."

The message I received simply conveyed that I should not call during normal business hours because the line would be busy. Do people answer that phone at 9 p.m.? I kind of doubt it. All I wanted to find out was if I had to stop by the office regarding a notice of renewal for my driver's license. The notice had been almost as helpful as the phone line. It said I could renew by mail — great. Because it is an enhanced driver's license, however, I continued to look the renewal over. In small print on the other side, it said I had to renew at a secretary of state's office.

So all I needed when I tried to call was clarity on the issue to avoid having to drive in and wait my turn. Why are people who are supposed to serve the public (us) able to avoid the public with unlisted phone lines?

I failed to mention the catch to my odyssey above. The first thing I learned when I dialed the 1-888 number was you can go to our website. Ever tried that? It's a real dead end, worse than the punch parade.

The move away from talking on the phone to people those who pay you to provide services is widespread. All major companies have gone to "call centers" where people named Joe are taught how to pretend they are just your average American until you ask something they didn't include in the manual.

The phone and TV companies are among experts at weaving and dodging to avoid any actual contact. Those of us who winter in the south have to encounter the dreaded, "seasonal rate" rip off. When I called after my return home to ask why the programming on my TV was scrambled, after lots of punching, the overseas agent explained my plan had changed and I could no longer enjoy the line-up I had previously.

That was the beginning of two hours of switch this and that, talking with someone I had trouble understanding who was just as frustrated trying to understand me. As I chatted, a sporting event I wanted to see came on and I talked and viewed until it suddenly disappeared. It seems when they tried to retrieve my original plan, I had to give up that channel. All I wanted was what I had before I left a short time ago. But that was not to be.

After having one person tell me they had restored the channel line-up and my cost was going to be much less, I learned that was not the case. I had been dropped to a very "limited" programming that included few channels — but it was much cheaper. I had to start all over with yet another person who was very sorry for all my problems and promised to resolve them. Another hour later, I had a new plan which included most of my old channels but would also cost more. On the bright side, for all my trouble, I was "given" HBO viewing "free."

You don't even want to hear what actually landed on my next bill — sure not the $92 we agreed upon.

This is not the first time I have vented about being jerked around by the TV and phone companies, and I know most of you are experiencing the same thing. Why? I saw a commercial from a credit card company that described a caller being surprised when they reached a "live" person — right away — who understood them.

As I see it, if some large companies can still talk on the phone, understand us and our needs, why can't they all?

Return to Home Page of Tipsforboating.com


Copyright © Fred Davis. All rights reserved.