Today I opened a piece of mail from CenturyLink (recently Qwest) and found a “disconnect notice” for our land-line, which is surprising because I’ve had auto-payment on that account for years and years. The amount due looked like several months worth of service.
No problem, I’m sure a quick phone call will clear this up…. Except, CenturyLink has no weekend billing customer service at all, not even shortened hours on Saturday.
How odd. How 1950s. How unhelpful, considering this whole thing is their fault. Also, since I have phone service with CenturyLink, and online access to my account, you’d think that an e-mail alert or automated phone call would have been placed at any point during the past three months BEFORE sending me a disconnect notice.
Well… not wanting to have this hanging over my head, and knowing how chaotic the work week can be, I gamely went to the website to take part in the dreaded online chat.
What follows is the verbatim transcript. I’ve edited out personal information, but left in typos, etc. The agent was fine, given what she had to work with. CenturyLink, on the other hand: Inexcusable.
Thank you for contacting CenturyLink. My name is Lxxx x. (xxxxx). How may I help you today?
Colleen : Well, Century Link seems to have un-enrolled mine automatic payment, which I’ve had for years. I got not phone call or email, but now have a disconnect notice. In addition, I can’t even access my full bill online due to web site fail. Obviously, I want to know what — if any — fees I’ve been assessed before I pay the bill.
Colleen : I also am stunned to discover that your phone customer service only runs Monday through Friday. I would like:
Colleen : 1. an explanation of current charges
Colleen : 2. to re-enroll in auto-payment
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Hello Colleen!
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): I would be happy to assist you with this today!
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Is xxx-xxx-xxxx the correct account number for you today?
Colleen : Yes
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Just one moment.
<<< a couple minutes pass>>>
Colleen : Hello?
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): I am still here.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): I am accessing the account now.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Do you know the answer to the security question of what is my atm
Colleen : I don’t remember creating that as a security question. If it’s a number code, i sometimes use xxxx
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Thank you! That is correct.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Try xxxxxxx as the password and the username xxxxxxxx to get into your MyAccount now.
Colleen : I’m not sure you’re understanding. I am logged into my account right now online. It will not show me my full bill. I want to know what, if any, charges I”ve been assessed for my inexplicable un-enrollment; I want any late charges waived; and I want to be re-enrolled in automated payments.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): By using the new information I provided for you, it will load the full bill now.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Logout of your current session, and refresh the page and after that it will work.
Colleen : I’m looking for actual customer service here by a customer service agent. We’ve been chatting for 10 minutes now, and you’re saying I have to log out and look for myself?
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): It will be the easiest way for you to see each detail.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): I can tell them to you, but you looking at it will be the best way. After you login with this information it will work.
Colleen : Can you not tell me if i’ve been assessed fees? Or why I was un-enrolled. My automated payments have been being done for nearly a decade.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): I understand, with the merge from Qwest to CenturyLink it must have taken you off of this, that is the only reason that I can think of at this time, but if you think you were charged to much for the bill. I can give you the number to billing to see what they can do about that.
Colleen : Fine. I’m in now. All it shows is “previous charges” of xx.xx and current charges of $xx.xx. There is now way to see where the “previous charges” come from.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Just to verify that I am speaking with the responsible party on this account, please provide me with your entire billing address, along with either the last four digits of your SSN or three digit account code.
Colleen : I cannot believe that after 15 minutes of chatting, I’m not going to be given a phone number that I cannot call until Monday to get this looked at. This is unbelievable….
Colleen : I already gave you the correct code on the account, and I am currently logged into the account online. How much more verification do you need
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Just one moment.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): I can see what the details are of the bill so you can know what the previous charges are.
Colleen : But the address is on the account, which you’ve just given me access to online. Fine: xxxx xxrd Ave. S., Minneapolis. SSN: xxxx
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Thank you.
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): $xx.xx is the bill at this time, that is for the last 3 months of service.
Colleen : Um, I can see that. What I wanted to know was if that amount includes any fees for non-payment?
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): There is not any at this time.
Colleen : OK. So basically where we’re at is this: I was inexplicably un-enrolled from automatic payments, perhaps due to the merge from Qwest to CenturyLink. There’s no customer service available by phone other than Monday through Friday. I have spent almost 25 minutes chatting online to be told how to accesss my own account, and I probably have to re-enroll myself for automatic payments again?
Lxxx x. (xxxxx): Yes, you are the only one that can do that on your MyAccount. We are not allowed to do this.
Colleen : Fabulous
Lxxx x. (xxxxx):I will stay on chat to make sure you find that okay if you would like me to.
Colleen : I can handle it. You’ve been fine, but this system is awful, awful, awful
Lxxx x. (xxxxx):: I do apologize for this, I know how inconvenient it is for billing to not be open on weekends.
Colleen : Thanks anyway
<<< there was a little more back and forth about how to enroll online, and whether I needed to make an immediate payment for the past due amount in addition to enrolling in auto-pay for future months>>>
Total elapsed time online: More than 30 minutes.
Next on my agenda: Re-thinking our need for a landline.