atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4935: Here's a novel idea for keeping your cellular bill down: PAY IT ON TIME

Just about every time someone is complaining about how big his bill is, there are certain factors which I can rely on to be present.

1) Continuously past due. This person has carried a past due balance on his account for at least 6-12 months, always paying the absolute minimum necessary to retain service.

2) Multi-line account. There are always at least two lines on the account; frequently it's 3-4-5.

3) New smartphone within the last six months. ...and at least one line is a smartphone of very recent vintage, something like an iPhone 6. In some cases it'll be an iPhone 5 or the equivalent Android model. Regardless, it's been under a year since someone on the account got a new phone, and if there is any phone on the account that is older than two years, that phone's upgrade eligibility has already been used to get a new phone for another line.

4) Lots of data usage. There is never an attempt to economize. If you suggest that they can control their monthly outlay by reducing data use, you get a lot of stuff about how they "need" 6-8-10 GB of data per month.

5) Multiple disconnects in the past year. This goes along with the next one:

6) Massive whining over reconnect fees. Fees you don't incur if you pay your bill on time, because your phone doesn't get shut off when you do.

7) Promising to go to another carrier if they don't get a credit. Privately, I think that's an excellent idea: Go ahead! Let Sprint or T-mobile or AT&T deal with your nonsense. But of course I'm supposed to dig through the retention tools and see if there is anything I can offer you, to get you to stay; frequently the tools suggest that I offer things like $200 off retail for early upgrades (when you already can't pay your bill) or this or that or the other thing.

Today, I ended up listening to this guy's entire life story, just about. His mother called because their bill was too high, and they wanted to know why. Well, one reason it was so high was reconnect fees, because the phones had been shut off last month for nonpayment. These people had been shut off so frequently that the system had coughed up a bag of dicks and double-billed the reconnect fees, which had previously been credited to them and which showed up on the most recent bill. I didn't have enough time to lay out everything so that I could understand what had happened, so I had to rely on the previous agents' notes to determine that; what I did see was that there had been several plan changes in the last three months, including one plan change that switched from a certain plan to exactly the same plan. At the end of that long, winding, stupid trail--after some twenty minutes--I convinced them that the charges on the bill were in fact valid and proper.

Then guy started getting all wound up about insurance on his phone. "I insisted on having insurance on that phone," he said, "and if you pull the MP3 file you'll hear it."

So I looked hither and yon, and told him that there was no evidence that the phone had ever had insurance on it. Certainly he had never paid for it, and since the phone was no less than nine months old it was well past being eligible for it. He insisted that I listen to the call so I'd see that he should have had insurance on the phone.

Well, there's no way to do that, but the guy refused to believe me, and when I explained that he'd had nine months' worth of bills to see that there was no insurance on the phone I got a sob story about how much stuff had been going on, and he insisted that he talk to a supervisor. After about ten minutes of that I finally gave up and raised my hand for a supervisor, who then told me to look at the original retail contract. When I did that, lo and behold, that phone never had insurance on it, and in fact it had the declined coverage feature that is put on lines with expensive phones so that everyone knows it. (The supervisor commented to me, "You know, he doesn't want to talk to me about this." I agreed with her, because the guy didn't have a leg to stand on.)

Armed with this information, then, I told him what the scoop was. The phone had never had insurance on it, and regardless of what he'd said on the call, the signed contract said "no insurance". Guy didn't like that at all; finally he said he wanted to talk to a supervisor and I agreed with him, since the facts were unable to penetrate the unobtanium-plated collapsium alloy lining his skull.

I was told to go to lunch once the call was transferred, which is a pity. I would have liked to have heard what she said to him.


...this guy spun the biggest sob story. He was disabled. His parents were retired. He was a musician and had pawned all his stuff, and he can't perform on stage because he was in a bad accident and is disabled, both his parents went into the hospital in January for this and that and the other thing, his mother has early stage Alzheimers, this happened, that happened, money is short, the phone barely works, his other phone was lost when he was in the hospital, blah blah blah, etcetera.

All of which is terrible news, and I sympathize with your plight, really I do. But it doesn't change the basic facts that the phone never had insurance on it and you don't pay your bill anyway. And after listening to you whine for forty-five minutes and demand that I give you stuff for free, I am utterly disinclined to do anything to help you.

To make things more entertaining, they (this guy and his mother) were calling me from a line not listed on the account--a landline, I would assume, though I'm not really sure--and so therefore the cell phone isn't their only phone and they could safely do without it.

If I could, I'd advise them to make a payment arrangement and get a TracFone. You know, that's what most people do when they're faced with unexpected hospital bills and sudden lifestyle changes; they reevaluate their expenditures and figure out what they have to do to make ends meet and get the bills paid. If they have any sense at all they don't go out and buy a new cell phone. With or without insurance. Shit.

* * *

My first week in this job--or maybe it was the second--people from Quality Assurance came in and talked to the class about what they do. One of them was a black woman, perhaps fortyish, who said that the only way she could explain the behavior of some of these people was to assume that they were drunks with a prior history of traumatic brain injuries. I think she's right; that's the only possible explanation.

* * *

And speaking of traumatic brain injuries you can have this quaint, cozy fixer-upper in San Francisco for only $350,000. You will have to make some major repairs before you can move in, of course, since the bathroom is nonfunctional, and "The flooring has a couple of places that are little bit weaker, and needs to be reinforced."

It's the cheapest house in San Francisco! Go for it!

* * *

The real minimum wage is $0. Sorry, but it's the truth. If you make labor too expensive, you price a lot of people right out of the labor market.

The work this company needs to have done will be done by salaried employees, because you can make someone on salary work an 80-hour week, and then shitbomb his annual review so you don't have to give him a raise. Win-win.

The post concludes by pointing out that if the economy were really in recovery, if it were really going great guns as all the elites say it is, minimum wage wouldn't even be on the radar because labor would cost more than it does. During an economic boom labor is more expensive because everyone's already working.

During a depression, however, labor is cheap because no one is working.

* * *

Let this one speak for itself.
If you're not able to take yoga around white people, well, you have some truly deep and rather disgusting racial issues and should be in a special home until the therapists help you deal with them.
Exactly. Exactly.

* * *

Mass immigration brings mass trouble. A Czech doctor working in Germany tells us what the "refugees" are like.
In a hospital near the Rhine, migrants attacked the staff with knives after they had handed over an 8-month-old on the brink of death, which they had dragged across half of Europe for three months. The child died in two days, despite having received top care at one of the best pediatric clinics in Germany. The physician had to undergo surgery and two nurses are laid up in the ICU. Nobody has been punished.
And that kind of thing is why the places they come from are such utter shitholes.

* * *

Because I was able to take lunch after getting off the phone with Captain Entitled--and because he kept me on the phone until 26 minutes after my lunch was scheduled to start--my afternoon ended up being easy-peasy. As my lunch was drawing to a close they abruptly changed the schedule and told everyone to take their afternoon break ASAP; for me that meant an extra ten minutes doing nothing, albeit at my desk. It was nice, even so.

Once break was over, back on the phone for about half an hour--I took one call, troubleshooting an esoteric issue that I had to transfer to Tier 2--and then blissful training for the rest of the day.

Here's why. People with unlimited data plans are going to see their bills go up.

Here's what I think: if you've gone to all the trouble to keep that old plan long after it's been sunsetted, you shouldn't kick at paying an extra $20 a month for it. You get that unlimited data at full 4G LTE speed, which is damned fast (I had one guy who used about 139 GB in a single weekend, and that is a tale, let me tell you) and it is never throttled to 3G or 1X speed, ever. (Unlike carriers who claim to have "unlimited" data; they slow it way the hell down after your monthly allotment is reached. You literally go from broadband to dialup speeds.)

If you are truly using all that much data, then this price increase should be met with, "Dang, this is still a bargain!"

...but most of the people who have jumped through the hoops to retain that plan don't use all that much--2, 3, 4 GB per month--and they know it, and those people will kick when they hear this.

* * *

The guy with 139 GB in a single weekend--ultimately you're responsible for securing your hot spot; if you don't, and someone wardrives your neighborhood and sucks up 139 GB of data through your cellular modem? Well, sadly, you're going to have an awful large bill to pay. What you should not do is ignore the 140-odd emails that were sent to you informing you that you've gone over your data allowance.

Maybe turn the hot spot off when you're not using it, especially if there are a couple days a week where you steadfastly refuse even to glance at your e-mail account.

This is why I don't want a cellular hot spot for connecting to the Internet, by the way; and if circumstances were ever to force me to use one, you can bet that the default password would come off it as soon as I turned it on, and both the SSID and password would also be changed with similar alacrity.

The one thing I could have done for him (had I thought of it) would have reduced his bill by about $1,000...but he still would have been on the hook for some $1,300.

Cellular data will eat your ass alive. If you let it.

* * *

But today is Friday, and tomorrow is Saturday, and all I have to do this weekend is a few chores. I can sleep in, even.

Next week at this time I will be looking forward to Saturday off, but I'll have to be at work on Sunday...though when I do go to work on Sunday, it will be at 1:30 PM rather than seven in the freaking morning.

I can live with that.

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