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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Melissa finally wins one

December 19, 2013

Spoiler alert - this one has a happy ending.  Agonizing middle.  But happy ending.

So before we left Seattle, we switched from T-Mobile to Verizon because they have a plan that lets customers make calls from Canada and Mexico with 1000 minutes of international roaming included in the plan.  Since our plan was to be in the US, Canada, and Mexico for the first 12 months of the trip - this was clearly the plan of choice.  While we were in the US we were using the data portion of the plan for internet on the boat, so Melissa would routinely adjust the amount of data on the plan.

We reached Mexico and our first bill (November) came through with $800 in roaming charges.

Huh?  Wait - how can that be?  Melissa solved this problem by switching to a plan that included Mexico minutes long before we got here.  Something has gone way way wrong.

So Melissa calls customer service.  Agent #1 tells her that somehow it’s her fault because she made a change to the voice plan in September - changing it to a domestic plan.  Melissa objects strenuously.  She explains the whole reason we moved to Verizon was specifically to avoid Mexico and Canada roaming charges.   Agent #1 says that because she made a change through the Verizon website that she is completely responsible for the changes.  Had the change been made by phone by one of their agents - then maybe she could claim the agent made a mistake.  But because she did it through the self-service website - they know it's her responsibility.  Melissa calls BS.  She tell the agent that she has spent her career in technology - and if they changed the voice plan when she went in and adjusted the data amount - then they have a bug in the website.  She can tell they don't believe her.  None the less, agent #1 says that they are willing to credit half the charges for the "misunderstanding" and promises to call her back the next day on the remainder of the bill once they finish their research.

The next day Melissa checks the account to find a credit for $100.  How $100 is a credit for "half the roaming charges" of $800 promised by Agent #1 isn't clear.  She calls customer service again.  Agent #2 seems much more knowledgeable.  Agent #2 says that no ticket was set up - so Agent #1 didn't actually do anything to carry through on his promise to get further research done.  None the less, Agent #2 researches extensively for an hour and finds another $90 in credits they owe from back in June/July when an agent didn’t correctly apply one of the data changes Melissa made.  Agent #2 also tells her that while she is going to put in for the roaming credits, she fully expects the credits to be rejected by a supervisor because Melissa made the changes on the Verizon website making her fully responsible.  Melissa again explains that if that is the source of the voice plan change, it’s a bug in their website.

Melissa checks the next day, and indeed finds the account credits were rejected.  This time she tries calling the Microsoft customer service number.  Agent #3 tells her that they can’t help with billing she’ll have to call the billing customer service line.

Melissa calls customer service again and tells Agent #4 that she wants to speak to a supervisor.  Agent #4 asks what this is about – Melissa explains the situation, and Agent #4 says, “oh I’ve seen this before, I’m sure we can get it taken care of”.  Then transfers her to the supervisor, Agent #5 in this saga.  Agent #5 again says that since Melissa made the change on the website there is nothing they can do.  At this point Melissa loses her cool completely and starts hollering at the guy about how there is no way on God’s green earth that she authorized a change to the voice plan.  Data amount yes, voice plan no.  That they must have a bug in their website and that she absolutely refuses to pay this outrageous bill.  By now Agent #5 is telling her that she has to “calm down”.  Melissa informs him that she is not going to calm down.  This is their fault and they won’t do anything about it.  So Agent #5 says, “fine, I’ll tell you what, I’ll go to the My Verizon website and see for myself how it works”.  Melissa says that would be great.  A few minutes of quiet go by while he logs in and tries to make a data only change to the plan through the website like a customer would.  Then Agent #5 says, “oh shit”.  Melissa smiles to herself.  Agent #5 explains that international plans are not supposed to be serviceable on the website – and that there is supposed to be a pop up that informs customers that they will be changed to a domestic plan if they make any changes on the website, but the message isn’t showing up.  So indeed there is a bug in the website.  He says he will call her back.

An hour later Agent #5 calls back.  He says that indeed their team has verified the problem is a bug in the website.  But it’s going to take them a while to figure out how to process the credit because they may have to program up a big batch job to credit all customers affected by this issue.  Melissa can only imagine that number is going to be sizable since we know the issue has existed on the website for at least 4 months.

Melissa asks him to please turn off the automatic payment withdrawal, and to manually process a payment for what we believe the right amount on the bill to be.  He gives Melissa his name, and how to contact him back directly.  He promises that he will be back in contact once they have figured out how they are going to process the credit.  He says he has recorded all this information on our account so that any agent will clearly be able to see that we are due the credit.  He seems quite genuinely sorry and keeps apologizing for the frustration she experienced getting the issue resolved.

Persistence paid off on this one.

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