Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bang Your Head

Well, the countdown has begun. By Friday evening, I should be back in the loving arms of my family. If I can get a ticket off the mountain that is. There was a wee little problem with my Corporate credit card, that had never occurred before. First thing Monday morning, I contacted United airlines to make the flight arrangements. I filled out all of the information on line and it came back with an error about my billing address and suggest I call the airport.

That’s odd, I thought. I’ve used my card numerous times over the course of this year and I’ve never encountered such a problem. So, I called up the representative and went to work on resolving the issue.

“Mr. Goodman, it appears the billing address doesn’t match the number on the card,” the polite lady informed me.

“I see, perhaps you could use this address,” I suggested and gave her my personal address.

“Oh…well, it’s the same error. Do you have another card you would like to try?” she asked.
“No, they only gave me one card and as this is for business, I’d prefer to use it. Let’s try another address. Let’s see, here is the address for my corporate headquarters.”
“I see. Oh…well, this one doesn’t work either. Are you sure you don’t want to try another card?” she insisted.
“I’m sure.”
“Perhaps you should contact your office and find out what billing address they use for your account.”
“Just call back when you have the right address.”

So, I called my office and they informed me that the original address I gave them should have worked, but reminded me that they did move into the new offices several months ago and maybe the address was still the old one. She sent it to me and it was time to match wits with United again. I went through the gyrations that were hauntingly familiar until we reached the previous dialog almost verbatim.

“Mr. Goodman, it appears the billing address doesn’t match the number on the card,” the polite lady informed me.
“Yes, I’m aware of that. The person I spoke with earlier had me try several, but I’ve contacted my company and they suggested we try this address.”
“Oh…well, it’s the same error. Do you have another card you would like to try?” she asked.
“No, this one should work. I don’t understand the problem.”
“Well, I’ll turn it over to our ticket specialists and they should have this resolved within 48 hours. We will send you an email confirmation once the problem has been corrected or if we encounter further issues.”
“Groovy,” I said and hung up.

My wife called me earlier this evening to inform me that United had called my home number to say that my card didn’t work and to suggest I try using a different card.

I called them back…

“Uh, yes. This is James Goodman I received a message that there is still a problem with the billing for my flight home from Denver this Friday.”
“Of course, sir. Could you please give me your confirmation number?”
I did…
“Mr. Goodman, it appears the billing address doesn’t match the number on the card,” the polite though heavily accented man informed me.
“I know. That’s what I told you when we began the conversation.”

“Could you confirm the address?” he asked.
I did…
“Oh…well, it’s the same error. Do you have another card you would like to try?” he asked.
“No, that’s alright. I’ll just cancel the reservation and try a different airline.”
“There’s no need to be hasty. Perhaps we could try a different address.”
“I tried every one I know with the first person I spoke to.”

“Perhaps they typed it in wrong. Could you give me an alternate address?”
“Sure, let’s try 539 North—“
“Norm?” he interrupted.
“North like the direction. Then Carancahua—“
“Is that the name of the person this is billed too?”
“No, it’s the name of a street. I’ll spell it phonetically so you can be sure to get it right.”
*twenty minutes and several interrupted instructions later*
“I see. Oh…well, this one doesn’t work either. Are you sure you don’t want to try another card?” he insisted.
“Quite sure, I’ll just try another airline.”
“Can you give me another address?”

I literally shuddered at the prospect. “No, really that’s quite alright.”

There was quite a bit more to the conversation, but it boils down to I finally snapped at him and hung up some hour or so later.

I tried Frontier Airlines and as I pressed submit to purchase the ticket. It came back with an error. Can you guess what it was?

I was beginning to see a trend, so I cut out the middle man and called the credit card company directly.

I explained the situation and the rep was quite sympathetic to my plight.
“So, can you give me the correct billing address so I can buy my ticket?”
“No. I’m sorry I can’t do that.”
“You’re shitting me! Sorry, don’t mean to curse but it has been a booger of an afternoon.”
“It’s alright. I understand, but I can’t give you the number for security purposes. I can however verify the address.”
“Cool, it’s—“ I rattled off the address to my office.
“Oh, that’s not the correct one.”
“Groovy.” I took a deep breath. “My company has several can I go down the list until I hit the right one?”
“Of course.”

So, I went down the list, striking out at every turn. “Can you at least tell me if I’m getting closer?”

“That last one had the right city in it.”
“Really? Glad I asked as that will considerably shorten the list.”
I gave her another one.
“Oh, that one was so close,” she informed me, sounded a bit like she was enjoying herself.
“You can tell me I’m close, but not tell me what the address is?”
“Yep and you only missed it by one digit.”
“Whoa, this is the same address on all of the other contacts I have. How can it be off by only one digit?”
“It’s in the zip code.”
“Great, then it’s clearly a typo and since you can’t give me the one on record, I have no way of knowing what it actually is.”

“We could update your billing address,” she suggested calmly.

I underwent a moment of considerable silence.

“Mr. Goodman?”
“We can just change the address?”
“Sure, if you have the card in front of you, you can give me the security code from the front and I can change it to any address you want.”

Information I could have used when I explained the problem, I thought. I took another deep breath. “Then let’s change it to this address.”
“No problem. The change will take effect within 24 hours.”

So, after much ado, I’m back in business… sort of. Now, if I just have to pray that they haven’t sold all of the seats by this time tomorrow night. Wish me luck.

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At 5:53 AM, Blogger lime said...

good grief, if all you did was ask 'you're shitting me?' you are a person with far more self control than me. and if it came down to something so obviously a typo i think i'd have gone off about the complete lack of common sense in having a rep fix that when they saw the discrepancy.

At 5:53 AM, Blogger lime said...

oh and safe travels...

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Angie said...

Oh... my... GAWD!!! You were on the phone with that guy for an HOUR??? You have WAY more self-control than me. So, let me get this straight... for security reasons, even WITH the numbers on the card, she could not confirm the typo'd address on file, but she could CHANGE it to anything you wanted??

I mean, WOW. That is incredible. Kudos to you for your complete, cool-headed control, and I hope your flight is as enjoyable as it possibly can be. You certainly earned it.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

lol, Lime. I was still feeling a little sheepish after dropping a mighty F-Bomb on the United Guy. (That's how actually finally got him off the phone) So, I managed to regain a bit of restraint that was nearly lost from the earlier ordeal. :D

Thanks, Angie. I did eventually snap, but it took a really long time.

Oh, and a quick update. I've purchased my tickets so, I'm coming home!!!!!!!!!!! :D

At 3:36 AM, Blogger Bernita said...

Frightening, really!

At 5:45 PM, Blogger James Goodman said...

Isn't it though, Bernita? :D

At 3:46 AM, Blogger Bernita said...

And readers shouldn't ask why some writers put murder and mayhem in their fiction...

At 6:38 AM, Blogger James Goodman said...

lol, that's a fact, Bernita.


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