Monday, November 14, 2005

I am declaring a fatwa: Death to Alltel.

I accept that local utility monopolies don't give two shits about the consumer, it is literally their way or the anal reaming, or As Helen Keller once grunted, "Life is not fair." So I am fairly tolerant when comes to be mistreated by public utilities. However, at some point even tolerance must give way to absolute and irrevocable hate. My phone bill included a hidden charge: it appeared I was receiving a voice mail service from a third party company which resulted in $15.00 charge. I had no recollection of authorizing a charge that all but doubled my bill, especially not from a third party. I called Alltel and spoke to a very helpful young cunt. She stated that I must have signed up for an account, and even if I hadn't, it was my problem to solve. Quote, "Sir, there is nothing I can do. You have to call the company because you authorized the charges." My reply, "No, you authorized the charges without my knowledge and consent. The only phone service I would pay $15.00 would be phone sex, though generally it only takes me two minutes to reach fruition, which runs only six or seven bucks." I hung up shortly thereafter.

I called the mysterious voice mail provider and reached a member of their customer service department. The representative was very friendly and sounded quite helpful, sadly she didn't speak English so good. Since I am now inured to American companies using foreign customer service departments, I attempted to speak alienese. Fifteen minutes and several awkward pauses later, she confirmed that I didn't have an account. An unknown phone-a-whore (or was that whore-a-phone) had used my phone number and signed up for their voice mail service. The rep shared the perpetuator's name and verified that I didn't know her. I asked if my personal information was given, the rep stated that the only information they had on file was her name and my phone number. Joy swelled within my heart, my cheese coated arteries felt almost cleared. The rep even offered to send me an email documenting our exchange and stating a full refund would be given. The following is a verbatim reproduction of the last minute of our conversation.

Bob: My email address is p, as in paul, p a c at alltel--a l l t e l--period net.

CSR: Your email address is pasinpaulpac at alltel a l l t e l period net.

Bob: No, that isn't quite it. The address is p p a c @ a l l t e l dot net.

CSR: Your email address is d d a c @ a b b t e l d o t net.

Bob: Sure.......close enough.

I called Alltel back and stated the company had agreed to remove the charges. The new representative, who almost seemed to care, said that was great. I asked her if it was possible to prevent third party authorizations from appearing on my account. She said that any such authorization required the last four digits of my social security number. After a brief pause, I explained that the company, who her company had apparently illegally given authorization to, had no personal information from or about me; they simply billed my telephone number. Her oh so wise and enlightening reply, "Oh..." Oh is exactly what I was thinking, the stupid bitch.

Go To Hell