Arguing with Parrots and Robots

Mauree Miller

Just as I think that life is calm in the cell phone world, there is another glitch.  Fortunately, this last one was small.  But it still needed to be addressed.
My son recently needed a new phone and, in reviewing the next bill, I found an extra charge.  Yes, that infamous “one time upgrade fee.”  But I was a little confused when I saw an extra charge of $36.  I was looking for the standard $18 charge.
Remember that last time, I went to an escalated contact.  This was not the time to do that again—the issue appeared to be small and simple.  Beware of overusing escalated contacts.  You don’t want to wear out your welcome by contacting them for issues that don’t need to be escalated.  If you do that, you run the risk of not being taken seriously if you do run into a more complicated problem in the future.
I called Customer Service thinking this should be simple, but I reached a representative who confirmed that the charge was accurate.  While I wasn’t deluding myself into thinking that my last cell phone adventure would eliminate upgrade fees (though I had hoped), I wasn’t anticipating that they would increase the fee!!!  When I asked for a credit, again using my rationale that I have been a longtime customer and this fee does not represent a real service rendered, the representative said, “This is our policy.”  I again explained my expectation was that he would credit the fee and no other outcome was acceptable but his only response was, “This is our policy.”  It seems that I was talking to a parrot or a robot.  Don’t waste your time arguing with parrots or robots.  I asked for a supervisor. (I call this "mini escalation"—go up the ladder, but not too far.) The supervisor was savvy enough to see my long relationship with this cell phone company and saw a long chain of notes showing prior credit on this type of fee, as well as documentation of my long string of cell phone adventures.  She immediately credited the fee. I did ask her to educate the initial representative.  This is always important, because you can safely bet that if this type of interaction happened to you, it will happen to someone else.

            I really hope that this is my last cell phone story—at least for a while.