Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Update on "My Dearest Verizon"...

In my Gmail today, following a very pleasant phone call with this gentleman:

Dear Mr. Pagel,

Thank you for taking time this morning to speak with me.  I apologize again for the problems you have experienced with customer service and the operation of the Cantenna device.   I am working now to resolve all charges for this device and plan.  You will not be responsible for any of the charges or equipment.  Once your October 1, 2013 statement has run, I will send you a letter confirming the matter is resolved and all charges adjusted.  Someone should be reaching out to Joy today and setting up a time to have the equipment removed. 

In the mean time if you or your wife have any questions or concerns please contact me directly at [ ... ]I am available Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm central time.  You may also reply to this email if this is an easier method of communication for you.

Sincerest regards,


[...omitted]

____________________________________________________________________________________

And now a word from your sponsor (ME):

ORDINARILY, I do not use the extreme levels of sarcasm I used in the greatest customer service complaint ever, but two things:

1. I have been really harping on customer service at my firm, where I want to have both me and my staff and employees be MUCH MUCH nicer to people than lawyers traditionally are known for, so this struck a chord, and

2. They started it.

Anyway, what this REALLY shows is not just "I'm a lawyer, so there," but the importance of writing things down; I tell people all the time that if it's not written, it didn't happen, and the importance of not yelling or dealing with people in an angry way.  YES, I was sarcastic, but I never raised my voice or threatened or yelled.

In addition, anything that escalates beyond where I was on my phone call-- anything that actually involves paying or charging money -- should be referred to a lawyer.  I would have charged someone about $300 for the work I did on this case.  The bill in question would have been $120 per month, so if it went on three months it's cheaper to talk to a lawyer.  Who knows how much the equipment would be, too? And then there are credit reporting issues -- if I didn't pay, Verizon could shut off my phone and report me delinquent, which would screw up things down the line and be much harder to fix.

That $300 cost for me to write the initial letter -- and thereby fix things -- would be probably several thousand in costs down the line.  I don't just say that; I know it, as I've had people call me at all stages of these things, and can tell you exactly how hard (or easy!) it was to fix them.

Bottom line? If you're not a lawyer, and you have a legal problem that is threatening your finances, find a reputable lawyer and talk to that person. It may cost you, but it will almost always be cheaper to pay the costs early on than to try to fix things after they've gone horribly wrong.

5 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

Having worked in customer service, customer service employees never have a good reason to be rude or short or unhelpful. They are hired for the exact opposite. If they can't hack being nice and as helpful as possible to customers, they should be relived of that job.

I agree with your "get a lawyer" idea in principle, but it's entirely different when you don't have the money, just like with dealing with automobiles.

Pat Dilloway said...

I wish I had the kind of money to keep a lawyer on retainer just to unleash upon anyone who pisses me off.

Briane P said...

Andrew, PT: I know it's expensive to talk to lawyers, but it's often more expensive NOT to. I'm not saying everytime someone won't accept a return of the $8 coffeemaker from Wal-Mart you should call a lawyer. But in this case, if I was just Joe Nobody dealing with Verizon, I'd either have been totally at their mercy -- no credit, no working 4G -- or I'd have been billed for services that weren't provided.

So if I had had to shell out $300 to get those results, it would be worth it.

Rusty Webb said...

Victory is sweet. Congrats. Customer service is hard work sometimes though, and not well compensated. Still, no excuse for what you got.

Liz A. said...

This makes me think of that scene in that movie where the teacher tells his students that writing letters to companies can get them results. I think it was Summer School.