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Insurance, phone, and cable company horror stories?

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I'm writing a YA sci-fi novel set in a world where major corporations are yet more powerful than they are today. This is just a background element of my world, but it's important and I want to make it feel real. So if you've had upsetting run-ins with policies at major corporations--especially if those policies made you feel small or powerless or insignificant in some way--I want to hear about it. I'm particularly interested in stories involving the technology and medical fields.

Basically, I'm giving you free reign to complain about the worst encounter you ever had with your cell phone carrier. Go nuts.
#1 - May 11, 2015, 03:17 PM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

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Melissa K knows how to get a response!

When my parents moved here, they ordered cable service. The company laid a cable in their yard but never hooked it up or buried the cable, as they were supposed to do. When my dad mowed, he had to lift the cable and duck underneath on every pass of the yard, every time he mowed, for two years, before the company inexplicably took the cable away. (He was 70.)

They reminded the company, and after a while Dad started walking down to the cable company for exercise once a week, and politely inquiring. No results. I got involved, and got transferred to a national customer satisfaction guy--a young guy, who finally confided that he'd just started the job, and they'd told him just to straight-up lie to people--to tell them that for sure someone would be there Wednesday morning, say, and that they should stay home to meet them--but he said they not only don't make any effort to make it actually happen, they don't even bother to write down what they told the customer. He said he thought he was going to quit.

My parents went with another company, of course, but they still have an open order for service with this company--eight years later.  :slaphead
#2 - May 11, 2015, 05:25 PM
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With the cell phone, my year old smart phone just completely stopped working one day, right in the middle of charging. It was in perfect physical condition, never having been dropped, or gotten wet, or experienced anything serious enough to damage the actual equipment. I brought the phone to the store to try and figure out the problem. They looked at it, said that yes indeed, it was malfunctioning, it was not my fault, and then handed me a phone number to call and order a replacement. For my broken phone. Which wouldn't make calls. In a store full of the same exact make and model  as the broken phone. They wouldn't give me one of the phones in the store, and they also wouldn't call and order the replacement phone. Delightful.
#3 - May 11, 2015, 07:55 PM

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Oy, you both have me laughing and cringing at the same time. This is exactly the kind of story I'm looking for. Anyone else?
#4 - May 12, 2015, 06:29 AM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

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My husband once got into a wrangle with customer service at the phone company over a collect call that was on our bill. He kept insisting that we had not accepted a collect call from Chicago (where we don't know anyone). The service person kept insisting that we did. Why? Because it was on the bill. Completely and totally circular reasoning. This went on for about 45 minutes, only ending when my husband said, "Well, do you think I've wasted 12 dollars and 34 cents of your time yet?" and the person hung up on him.
#5 - May 12, 2015, 07:28 AM
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Years ago I waited 8 hours on my only day off for a cable man to show up. By 5pm I was totally fed up with the wait and the lack of communication. I marched myself to the cable office and cornered an exiting man wearing a suit.

I explained politely that I "...worked in an ICU where waiting for life-saving meds was not an option...and, yes, not getting my cable hooked up would not kill me...but it was my ONLY DAY OFF...how would he feel if it had happened to him?" Turned out he was a high-ranking exec.   When I returned home, the cable guy was at my door, apologizing and offering free HBO.
Never rile an over-worked ICU nurse who has red hair.   :bbq
#6 - May 12, 2015, 09:17 AM

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We have been having issues with our landline for almost two years. We can make calls but when (most) people try to call us, they get the message that our number is not in service. Our provider says there is no problem at their end and we've replaced all our hardware to exclude that variable. Whenever our telco tests the line, it works fine, but the only other people who seem able to call us are telemarketers, who have no trouble at all getting through. It feels rather like a cosmic joke. Thank goodness for mobile phones!
#7 - May 12, 2015, 11:26 PM

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We can make calls but when (most) people try to call us, they get the message that our number is not in service.

This^ is *seriously* not good...

... the only other people who seem able to call us are telemarketers

Insult added to injury. Phooey.
#8 - May 13, 2015, 12:11 PM
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Years ago I waited 8 hours on my only day off for a cable man to show up. By 5pm I was totally fed up with the wait and the lack of communication. I marched myself to the cable office and cornered an exiting man wearing a suit.

I explained politely that I "...worked in an ICU where waiting for life-saving meds was not an option...and, yes, not getting my cable hooked up would not kill me...but it was my ONLY DAY OFF...how would he feel if it had happened to him?" Turned out he was a high-ranking exec.   When I returned home, the cable guy was at my door, apologizing and offering free HBO.
Never rile an over-worked ICU nurse who has red hair.   :bbq

I want Helen on my side in ANY confrontation.
#9 - May 13, 2015, 06:31 PM

Certainly not a nightmare, but I wanted to drop our home land line from our cable service, and it would cost more to not have the service because I'd have to get cable and internet individually instead of in the bundle with the phone service. So ridiculous.
#10 - June 15, 2015, 06:34 PM
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