Battlepanda: Phone Rage


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Phone Rage

Angelica here. Just thought I'd drop in to give you folks a glimpse of the nightmare that was yesterday. To cut a long story short, don't EVER purchase paper ticket on-line and then neglect to mention that your current address is all the way down the eastern seaboard from your billing address. The below is mostly written to vent my anguish at the whole de-humanizing process of rectifying that one stupid mistake. It's the best I can do in lieu of finding whoever invented the whole automated-voice-system/hive o' customer reps paradigm and beating them savagely. And damn you, damn you Aer Lingus, for not issuing e-tickets.
[Angelica, upon realizing with horror that her non-refundable paper tickets are in a FedEx office in West Hatfield, MA rather than on its way to her in North Carolina. She calls Orbitz. The automated phone system asked her for her home number, then proceeded to read her her itinerary slowly, stop by stop with all her flight details. Each time she attempted to reach a live person by punching in zero, the system rebuffed her manouvres by reading her itinerary again...from the top. Resisting the urge to smash the cordless handset, Angelica holds on until she is finally connected to a rep.]

First Customer Rep: How can I help you?

Angelica: [explains situation with misdirected tickets] I know it was stupid of me. But what do I do now?

First Customer Rep: I would suggest that you call FedEx and get it sorted out from their end.

[Angelica calls FedEx]

FedEx Rep: Silly Angelica. You don't have the power to re-route the package. You're the recipient. Call Orbitz and get them to do it.

[Angelica calls Orbitz again]

Second sales rep: Sure...we can do that for you...hold please [Angelica placed on hold for 15 minutes]...There's a charge associated with overnighting the package to a different location.

Angelica: I'll pay it. Whatever it is. [Angelica is placed on hold for another 5 minutes]

Second sales rep: Actually, it turns out we can't do that for you after all. FedEx won't accept a second source of payment on the same package.

Angelica: Why can't you charge the extra to the Orbitz account and have me pay you? You have my credit card on file.

Second sales rep: We can't do that.

Angelica: That's what the FedEx people said I should do.

Second sales rep: Well, they don't know our computer system. We can't do that.

Angelica: So, what should I do?

Second sales rep: We will re-route it through our internal re-routing system at no charge to you. But that's slower so we can't guarentee that the tickets get there by Monday.

Angelica: What if it doesn't?

Second sales rep: You need to go to the Aer Lingus counter and fill out a lost ticket application.

Angelica: But there is no Aer Lingus counter until I get to Boston. What do I do about the first leg of my journey?

Second sales rep: Erm...

Angelica: How about if I drive to Boston ahead of time?

Second sales rep: You can't do that. If you're not there for the first leg of your journey, they can cancel your whole itinerary.

Angelica: So what am I supposed to do?

Second sales rep: Well, you can buy another one-way ticket from Raleigh to Boston on the same flight to prevent them from cancelling the rest of your itinerary. It's the only way.

Angelica: That's *&^%*&! [rant ensues]

[Later, Angelica is on the phone with a third Orbitz sales rep.]

Third sales rep: If you want to forfeit the first leg of your journey, just let them know ahead of time and it should be no problem

Angelica: Oh.

Third sales rep: Or you can just get U.S. air to issue e-tickets for you instead. That way you can fly to Boston on your day of travel and file your lost ticket application there.

Angelica: Why didn't you tell me that in the first place?
Of course, he couldn't have told me that in the first place because I was talking with another rep who told me something completely different. But by this point in time I'm really not thinking logically anymore. Despite (or perhaps because of) how I totally lost it with the second rep (the one who told me I had to buy another ticket on the same flight I've already got a ticket for), she actually came through for me and ended up assuring (but not promising) me that they arranged it with FedEx to get my ticket to me by 10:30a.m. Monday, in time for my 5:00p.m. flight. Let's hope this is the end of it.

Meanwhile, I just want to thank John for doing such a great job guest-blogging while I'm away. Hopefully the next time y'all hear from me, I'll be posting from England.

UPDATE: I've been tracking my tickets on FedEx. They will be here in time, thank goodness.