Calling the Call Center, a Modern Nightmare

The modern world produces many things that cause dread for me.

The first of the month and forgetting to get a new bus pass. Changing health care providers and not knowing if my regular doctor will accept the new provider. Speaking of health care, there is blood pressure readings at the doctor and waiting for the mammogram results.

Then there is having a problem with a payment and being forced to contact the Call Center.

Calling the Call Center is a modern nightmare where the plot is known.

That dread of knowing that you'll be bounced from one support person to another and explaining the problem over and over again. Of talking to up to 5 people in one stretch that gets 5 reactions and zero resolution.

"Hello, yes, I'm calling to find out why my last month payment isn't reflected on my account. I paid this on …"

"I understand. I am so sorry. I understand your frustration."

"Yes, thanks, but what happened to the payment? I've stuck with a late…"

"Yes, I understand. I'm sorry. I'll transfer you to payment center."

"I thought this was the…" Boom! Loud piano music begins to play.

Then click.

"Hello, this is [New Person's Name]. How can I help you?"

"I'm calling to find out what happened to last month's payment. I paid it online…"

"I'm so sorry. I understand. But I'm not the person you need to speak with. You need to speak with the credit department. I'll transfer you now."

Hold time is long enough that the loud piano music that vaguely resembles Scott Joplin's The Entertainer is on its third loop and then click.

"Hello, this is [Next Person's Name]. How can I help you?"

Teeth starting to grit yet talking fast before the inevitable interruption. "I'm calling to find out what happened to last month's payment. I can see it was taken out of my bank account but I don't see it posted on my account and I've been charged a late fee."

"Who am I speaking with?"

Say my name.

"What is the last 4 digits of your account?" Feeling hopeful and give info. "Hmmm. It looks like we did not receive your payment last month. Shall I arrange for the payment now?"

Hope dashed. "No, I'm calling to find out what happened to last month's payment. It was taken out of my bank account. It was posted on [Date]. This is the…"

"I'm so sorry for this inconvenience. I understand your frustration. I can't take that kind of information."

"You can't take this information but you can ask me for bank info to pay my current bill that includes a late fee that I shouldn't have been assessed because the payment that I sent in last month is lost. I don't get it. Is there anyone that can help me?"

"I'm so sorry for this inconvenience. I can help arrange the payment that is due. It will be…"

Ears starting to thrum. It is too late in the evening to lose it. "Never mind. Never mind."

"I can transfer you…"

"FUCK NO!" Calming breaths. Calming breaths. Breathe like a smoker, slow inhale and slow exhale. "I don't need to be transferred unless it is to someone who can help me."

"I can help you but I don't think you want me to…"

That was smooth. I think that is called 'gas lighting.' "Shall I assume that the payment is lost?" I ask.

"The payment was not received."

"It was received. You guys posted my payment."

"It is not reflected here. I'll transfer you now."

"Wha—" Click. Faux Scott Joplin is back and keeping time with the thumps in my ears.

"Hello, this is [5th Person's Name]. Who am I speaking with?" Say my name. "Hello, Miss. How many I help you?" Explains issue. "What is the last 4 digits of your account?" Gives info. "Oh, it looks like you missed last month's payment. Shall I arrange for payment—"

"No."

"But I can…"

"No. My blood pressure is requiring that I hang up now. I'll do the payment on my own."

Over next two days, a personal loan is acquired. The account is then paid off.

The payment is never found. The late fee is included in the pay off.