UPDATE - Point, Click and Then...Problems

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Title: Point, Click and Then...Problems

Source: The Kansas City Star Publication date: 2000-05-01

I'm on hold, but the anger's passed. Rage, I tell myself, only clouds thought. You need clarity to plot revenge.

It's five times now the Internet travel reservation company has put me on extended hold in the past two days. Five times since they loaded me up with $8,000 worth of unwanted credit card charges because of some glitch on their end.

My MasterCard is suddenly worthless. My travel agent thinks I'm a deadbeat.

And all I can think is never again. Never again will I try to buy plane tickets or anything else over the Internet. Could this be what killed the NASDAQ?

"I'm going to put you on hold, Mr. Hendricks, while I try to contact my supervisor," the woman on the line says before music fills the dead air.

Kenny G? Is that Kenny G they've been playing in the background for close to an hour? I hate Kenny G. And at this very moment I am certain I despise him.

"Sorry, Mr. Hendricks, but I'm still on hold with my customer care department, so if you don't mind holding a little bit longer."

Well, of course, I don't mind holding, I tell Kelly, the Internet reservation agent. Whatever it takes for customer care to sort it out, Kel. Another hour? You and I both know my time is worth about as much as my credit at this very moment. Nada.

"Thanks for your patience," she says and Kenny returns with that wailing kazoo of his.

Actually, I'm not sure patience is the right word. Numbness, maybe. After a bad introduction - I remember us shouting - Kelly and I are now on the same team. We're both numb. We have similar goals - to be rid of each other.

I'm holding for her and she's holding for her supervisor, a woman named Carla, who has it in her power, I'm told, to convince the world, once more, that I am not some loser trying to use a credit card that has exceeded its limit.

But even if Carla does restore my reputation, I'm resolved:

No more e-shopping for me.

We had a pretty good experience last Christmas. It was so easy. And there were even a couple of bonuses. When Toys R Us couldn't fulfill an order, we got $100 worth of scrip to spend at the store. Then a pet supply company accidentally sent us an extra case of cat food for free.

Hey, why not buy expensive airline tickets online? I thought.

Answer: Because as I'm writing this, I am on hold and without credit.

Four times I tried to reserve a pair of plane tickets online. And each time the electronic message told me the flights couldn't be confirmed, so please try again. I did that the first three times, then decided it was best to handle the chore the old-fashioned way.

I called a travel agent. She got the seats in a snap.

"But the bad news is your credit card was denied," she said.

And then the credit card company told me they were powerless to remove the charges without authorization from the Internet outfit, which was the beginning of my enlightening relationship with Kelly, Carla and the gang.

"We finally got it taken care of," Carla said after two days of frustration. "We apologize, but there's nothing much more I can do for you, though, except to say we're sorry."

I'm sorry, too, Carla. I sure hope the exciting world of electronic shopping works out for you and yours. Me, I've got other plans.

Know someone at your shop who's a big fan of Kenny G? I'd sure like to meet him. Real soon.

- To reach Mike Hendricks, call (816) 234-7708 or send e-mail to mhendricks@kcstar.com

) 2000, YellowBrix, Inc.



-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), May 01, 2000

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