Looks like it's gonna be another six months

It's been six months since this company moved its plant to a new location and switched its Internet service from a local cable company to a satellite provider, reports the pilot fish who handled the switchover.

"The transition went smoothly, but six months later, the accounting office receives a collection bill from the cable company for six months of unpaid service," fish says

"I am instructed to sort it out ASAP so the company can get it off its credit report."

Fish dials the cable company's customer service line, listens to the same on-hold rock medley 20 times, and finally gets through to a customer service rep and explains the situation.

Rep asks fish for his cancellation number and fish provides it. Then rep explains that, per company policy, all cancellations must be validated by the customer online by responding to a cancellation verification e-mail sent to the customer's account.

Fish explains that because the account has been cancelled, he no longer has access to the account, and he'll need an access code to get back in and verify the cancellation as well as get time-stamped copies of the e-mails to send to the cable company's accounting department to plead his case to nullify the last six months of charges.

Rep, who is fairly new, says he'll ask his supervisor what can be done. After many more minutes of the rock medley, rep returns and tells fish that the solution is to log into the account and simply verify the cancellation.

Fish calmly explains again that he cannot do this as he does not have access. The cable company needs to reactivate the account temporarily or give fish a new access code.

Rep goes back to his supervisor and finally returns to tell fish that company policy dictates there can be no access or reactivation until the overdue balance is paid.

Fish sends rep a scanned print copy of the cancellation order and asks him to make a last-ditch effort to find a solution.

Rep heads off to the supervisor again and, many medleys later, returns -- to reaffirm that nothing can be done until the overdue account is paid.

"I calmly suggest that there has to be a better solution," says fish.

"Customer rep says his supervisor anticipated this response, and has found another solution.

"Great, I say with a sigh or relief, what is it?

"The customer service rep pauses for a moment, and then blurts out, 'Seek legal advice.'"

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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