Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Timing is everything?

Timing is Everything Item 1 ORCA Bus passes

“Next Stop 5th and Jackson. International District Chinatown Station, Metro Customer Service…”

Metro Customer Service? Gee, it has been awhile since RantWoman has even been to Customer service. Once in awhile some personal item goes astray. When RantWoman thinks it might have gone astray on the bus, RantWoman tends to visit Customer Service to ask whether it has turned up in Lost and Found. Sometimes.

RantWoman used just to go to Metro Customer Service to get monthly bus passes, but since ORCA implementation, RantWoman has found it really easy to buy her passes online, at whatever time of day or night she feels like it. This depends on RantWoman having both a bank account and reliable secure internet connection. Unlike RantMom who gets her monthly pass some other way, RantWoman also has enough confidence in electronic transactions to make the purchase online. RantWoman also saves REALLY a lot of time doing things this way!

But there is one additional timing point: RantWoman spoke up in a meeting one time. Like a lot of people RantWoman finds it easy to have more month than money. RantWoman gets social security disability a few days into the month, but RantWoman needs a new bus pass on the first of each month. Probably as a result of RantWoman speaking up, the window for making the next month’s pass available and the date the money comes out of a bank account have changed. Now instead of having to wait until the 15th of the month, RantWoman can buy the next month’s ORCA pass early in the previous month at the same time she pays a lot of other monthly payments; the money comes out of her account the day she buys the pass and RantWoman has never had a problem about her pass showing up on her ORCA card. Timing counts. RantWoman HOPES this also helps a lot of other people!


Timing Is Everything Item 2 Student Loan Customer Service

While RantWoman was stepping through this month’s bills, RantWoman decided to check out a couple things related to her s-s-s-student loan. Yes. RantWoman is still paying for college. Suffice it to say RantWoman considers this important. RantWoman checked out her lender’s website. With trepidations about continuity of connection, she went ahead and signed up for online statements, if only to cut the amount of paper she has to interact with. If she will let her lender—rather than just her bank—automate her payment, she can get a reduced rate on the consolidated loan. Sounds like a good idea. Again, RantWoman needs to know the timing though. Email is pending, and RantWoman really appreciates email rather than phone. For one thing there is a record of the contact automatically. RantWoman adores the search bar for helping her find records quickly. RantWoman LOVES her cellphone but spends a lot of time in places with “no cellphone” rules where she can answer email without creating public disturbance or violating rules she is supposed to be helping enforce.

Timing update: THANK YOU to Customer Service for calling RantWoman back. No, Rantwoman is still really not crazy about handling calls from this caller by cellphone as a rule but RantWoman did mention this in the original email. …  There is a form RantWoman needs to physically sign. Instructions say either mail or fax it but the fax is a long-distance call. RantWoman has access to a 3-in-1 printer fax scanner but not to long distance on the Fax. YES! The scanned image can just be emailed! And YES, we THINK we can handle instructions about making the payment due date earlier in the month! (More esoterica useful possibly to people in other computer labs who might also need to help people deliver documents.)

Scanned image now emailed off. Cross fingers that things get processed correctly because RantWoman has already sent payment of August and wants this to take effect for the September payment. The friendly customer service rep warned RantWoman there is a small possibility that they will “hose things up” about the timing. Cross fingers about the data and sob for joy at the honesty and the wonderful regional idiom!


Timing is Everything Item 3: Beloved Telecomm Company

The Key points:

a.     RantWoman has already made as much of a payment as she really can make this month. It is not as much as Beloved TeleComm Company wants. RantWoman and Beloved Telecomm Company and RantWoman have a window for continued dialogue about the payment plan it has so far been impossible to discuss!


b.     THANK YOU to the obviously native US English speaker who talked to RantWoman yesterday. First, yeah, so RantWoman probably qualifies as an irritating customer. Still, knowing what date RantWoman needs to pay bills by to avoid late fees is EXTREMELY helpful. RantWoman very much wants to work with that. Second, if yelling does break out, RantWoman thinks she is much more likely to be yelling at someone in a position of responsibility than if yelling were to break out for the miserable frontline call center staff. Sorry to put that so bluntly, but that’s RantWoman’s reality.


c.      RantWoman was a little peeved after the conversation above. RantWoman and person on phone had an exchange about the amount RantWoman owes and some other points. RantWoman asked for a monthly breakdown of various things. RantWoman thinks a late fee of more than 10% of the basic bill is outrageous but that is a conversation for another day. RantWoman was peeved that the person she was talking to needed to transfer her to a billing rep but the call just went to dead line. RantWoman looked at the time elapsed (15:27) and realized she had spent as much time on the matter as she had available at that moment anyway.


d.     Part of the problem has been that RantWoman has been receiving her monthly bill through some kind of e-bill process connected to her bank. Talk about black hole. Talk about ways to “hose things up.” The breakdown of what the bill involves is minimal in the first place. In the second place, the bill vanishes from the bank screen as soon as RantWoman sends off a payment. NOT HELPFUL. Ridiculous. This morning RantWoman spent some time logged into beloved telecomm provider’s website and information there is MUCH more helpful. RantWoman does not particularly LIKE that the bill includes more than $25 / month in taxes and fees but that is also a separate problem for now.


e.     RantWoman has now turned off e-billing to her bank. RantWoman guesses she can deal with the option of PDF copies of her whole bill but would like to entertain the fantasy of being able, say, to create CSV files of multiple months bills at atime. RantWoman is glad to know the due date to avoid late the future. And RantWoman is beyond out of time for interacting with this topic today.


Stay tuned….

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