vida_boheme: (piggy!)
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A tale from my dark side.

I'm almost fanatical in my belief that servers, shop assistants and customer service operators should be treated with respect. So it's even more embarrassing (apart from the fact that my brother-in-law, who was witness to my meltdown, still mocks me for it) that my worst public rant happened whilst phoning customer services.

It was mid-December 1999, freezing cold, and I was just out of hospital with a newborn baby and a c-section wound that needed looking after. Almost inevitably, our boiler broke down completely - no heat, no hot water, nothing. Initially I wasn't too worried as we had bought some ridiculously expensive breakdown cover when we had the boiler fitted the previous year. So I phoned the 'helpline' (and isn't that one of the greatest euphemisms ever?) gave them our policy details, told them that I had no heating or hot water and added the additional details of my baby/wound situation. I was informed by the man at the end of the phone that they couldn't get out to us until after the Christmas/Millennium holiday because we didn't have the (newly-introduced) 'Emergency cover' policy which offered priority repairs. No, we had merely paid a fortune for 'breakdown cover'...

Feeling pretty hormonal, extremely pissed off at them for introducing an extra level of cover, and not being a shy retiring type anyway, I asked the 'assistant' at the end of the line what 'emergency' my boiler could possibly undergo that didn't involve a it breaking down - the very thing that I had paid them to cover? He ummed and ah-ed and just kept repeating that they were different... and that just annoyed me further. My questions soon picked up speed into a full-on rant that involved me listing possible 'emergency' scenarios that didn't involve the simple fact that my broken down boiler refused to heat water.

"Hey, maybe it might be suicidal and I needed you to come round for emergency counselling to talk it down from the roof? Maybe it could have joined a cult and I would need you to abduct it from their country house headquarters and re-programme it back to sanity?" This eventually built up to me ranting on about "Who's that in the clock tower with a gun? It's the Wightman's Potterton boiler! Quick, call the EMERGENCY helpline!" before slamming the phone down.

You know that little announcement on a phoneline where it tells you that they monitor the calls? Well, half an hour later I received a phone call that started with, "Hello Mrs Wightman, I'm the helpline supervisor and I've just been listening to the recording of your phone call..." and ended with them making an appointment to come round the next day to fix the boiler.

The 'Emergency Cover' was renamed 'Premier Care' in the following January, and I'm fairly sure that my phone call is now used in training exercises.

I regret nothing.
There are 25 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 02:14pm on 31/08/2009
LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! That's wonderful.
posted by [identity profile] at 12:21am on 01/09/2009
I can imagine it's funnier for you too, as you can put the face and mannerisms to the rant *blush* A definite case of 'Listen buster, I just had a whole new human cut out of me and if you think I'm going to be cowed by your helpline after that, then you have another think comng!'
posted by [identity profile] at 02:21pm on 31/08/2009
OMG - that is priceless! Well done you - sometimes you have to go off on one to make them actually take notice.
posted by [identity profile] at 12:23am on 01/09/2009
Part of me would like to say that it's become exaggerated over the years, but my brother in law (who was here at the time) says he was waiting for my head to spin right round in full exorcist mode...
posted by [identity profile] at 08:21am on 01/09/2009
It did the trick though - they phoned you back!

I had some success (though not quite as dramatically) with Virgin Media. We'd had a big hoo-ha that had gone on for ages. In the end I wrote, detailing everything & threatening to send a copy to the The Times financial troubleshooter. Virgin phoned me within two days & the problem was finally sorted out. *g*

It's a shame that you can't get decent customer service without making a fuss though.
posted by [identity profile] at 02:47pm on 31/08/2009
AHAHAHAHAHAHA, this is brilliant ! :D
posted by [identity profile] at 12:24am on 01/09/2009
If momma aint happy, ain't nobody happy! :D
posted by [identity profile] at 03:17pm on 31/08/2009
I am proud to know you! Are you sure you're not from Maine? *g*
posted by [identity profile] at 12:26am on 01/09/2009
Aw, thanks ♥ I'm as snappy as a lobster, but that's as close as I get :D
posted by [identity profile] at 03:24pm on 31/08/2009
That's the most awesome rant against piss-poor customer service I've ever seen. I salute you. :-D
posted by [identity profile] at 12:28am on 01/09/2009
*Curtsies* Female hormones can be AWESOME.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:00pm on 31/08/2009
It's a sad fact of life that sometimes you have to go apeshit on someone in order to get something accomplished. That, my friend was a particularly effective piece of apeshit! *admires it*
posted by [identity profile] at 12:30am on 01/09/2009
It was definitely apeshit - I'm usually fairly polite, but the logic behind 'emergency' as apposed to 'breakdown' just boggled my mind...
tarlanx: (DH - BvsP - Defiant)
posted by [personal profile] tarlanx at 06:21pm on 31/08/2009
ROFLMAO!! And you were perfectly right!!!! What more of an emergency could there be than the damn thing breaking down!
posted by [identity profile] at 12:32am on 01/09/2009
Sometimes you just can't hold it in, can you? (At least I hope it's not just me...) I'm fairly sure I'm responsible for the package being renamed 'premier care' later that year.
ext_127: (Daniel)
posted by [identity profile] at 10:53pm on 31/08/2009
I am laughing so hard I'm crying. Awesome story.
posted by [identity profile] at 12:33am on 01/09/2009
Hee! Glad it entertained you :D
posted by [identity profile] at 12:41am on 01/09/2009
I am laughing uncontrollably now as I just read this post aloud to D. Oh dear, oh dear. I was rude and snarky to the Verizon reps today (40 minutes of 'Cabaret'!! It would make anyone homocidal!!) but I was not *nearly* as inventive or clever as you.

And I still do not have internet at home. I was on the phone *all* day. After the 8th person assured me it was fixed, I said, "yeah, heard THAT one before and I'll believe it when I see it'. Sadly, I was right.

D has started referring to my Blackberry as my Crackberry and he's *right*. *hangs head in shame*

But just wait until I have to post porn from *his* house. We'll see who's laughing then. heh-heh-heh
posted by [identity profile] at 01:19am on 01/09/2009
Argh! Is the call center manned by 'resting' actors?

I hate the false hope when they say "That's all sorted for you now..." in that faux-cheerful voice, and you want to believe SO MUCH, but then you find yourself back at 'Press one if you would like to hear about our special offers.'

So do they have any clue what the problem actually is?
ext_1683: (Default)
posted by [identity profile] at 02:24am on 01/09/2009
LOL! Brilliant!
posted by [identity profile] at 07:54am on 10/10/2009
:D Thank you.
posted by [identity profile] at 09:05pm on 04/09/2009
I had this tab up for I don't know how long waiting for time to comment. I don't know when that time will come, so can I just say:

I cannot even EXPRESS how much I love you, m'lady. You are made of win.
posted by [identity profile] at 07:57am on 10/10/2009
"I cannot even EXPRESS how much I love you, m'lady. You are made of win."

(deleted comment)
posted by [identity profile] at 07:59am on 10/10/2009
Hee! Glad it amused :D

What lead you over here? *Is nosy*
(deleted comment)
posted by [identity profile] at 12:19am on 12/10/2009
:D Sorry didn't mean to put you to such trouble, I was just intrigued (sounds posher than nosy...)

Also: cute Rodney icon. I miss him :(


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