Thursday, January 12, 2012

Exactly How Big Was That Bug?!?!

This afternoon I got an automated call from our credit union. The recording wanted me to verify some charges made to our debit card. After the obligatory identity questions (none of which asked for my card number so I knew that it was legit), the automaton said that it would list several of the latest charges and then ask me to verify them at the end of the list.

Online music store: $8.32 Yep.
Target: $23.78 I got out cheap that day.
Pest control: $108 Got it.
Pest control: $78,000

Wait . . . back up Jack. What was that charge again? Yes. Seventy-eight thousand dollars. Wisely, our credit union had blocked that charge until it was verified.

Of course I couldn't push the number corresponding to "no way on God's green Earth did I have $78,000 worth of pests to treat at my house" fast enough. The automaton then told me that it was going to cancel my card and I needed to call customer service to get a new one.

Immediately I called the number, dreading the ordeal ahead of me. After talking to Joshua, the customer service rep, we both figured that the number hadn't been stolen, but that the pest control company had just made some sort of billing error so I wasn't in any danger of other unauthorized charges. He reinstated my card. No need to get a new one at all. Whew! That saved me a lot of hassle and juggling of chauffeur duties.

However, because the enormous amount and the correct amount were from the same company at about the same time, BOTH charges had been denied. He told me to call the pest control company and let them know their error and the reason I blocked them so that they wouldn't think that I was trying to get out of paying.

Jennifer, the woman I talked to in the billing department was SO apologetic. She was astonished and embarrassed at the error. She said that she had been training a new person and that obviously something went through that shouldn't have. I told her that I completely understood and made sure that she knew that the $108 had been cancelled and needed to go through again. She said that she would do that right away and that she'd knock off $10 for my inconvenience.

The entire episode from the first telephone ring of the automated service to the "good-bye" of the pest control billing department was less than 10 minutes. Both people with whom I spoke were articulate, kind, helpful and efficient. Within 5 minutes I had an e-mailed receipt from the pest control company with the corrected amount charged to my debit card. The credit union rep did indeed reinstate my card - I used it later this evening with no problems.

Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is how you serve customers.

Kudos to University Federal Credit Union and to ECO Smart Pest Control.

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