A month or so ago, I kept getting calls on my cell from a certain unknown number. After several occurrences and no messages I decided to go to dexknows.com and do a reverse number search. By all appearances, that feature was being offered to me by Dex. But I soon found out that I had been forwarded to an Intelius page, which presented the special offer of $.99 for one search. I was a dope and didn’t read the fine print, or for that matter the second level subheads in red reverse. Nonetheless I plodded through and got my information, it was someone trying to sell me windows. They were offering a special deal that was about three times what I figure I could get it done for.
What I didn’t realize was the special deal was contingent on a free trial of Identity Protect. I also didn’t realize that they would automatically continue to bill me $19.95 monthly for this service. I would like to have my identity protected, but the fact that I’m writing this blog and I post on various social networking sites, it obviously isn’t a high priority for me. My concern about fraudulent activity involving my identity doesn’t rise to the level of $19.95 a month, for that price, I’ll take my chances. I have plenty of company in my dopiness, there are discussion boards going on this, well, scam.
When the first $19.95 hit the visa bill, my beloved soulmate, who watches every penny, Â called it to my attention. I dialed the number on the billing statement and quickly found out it was from Intelius, I didn’t have to look to realize what had happened. I canceled the service online immediately, but that left $19.99 of our money in their hands. I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed to get that money back. You see I can be kind of a wimp about these things. Or maybe I’m not wimp enough. Part of the problem is that I have a long history of going completely nuts on these kinds of phone calls. The last time, I got my way, but I ended up copiously apologizing to the phone rep who had suffered my tirade. Â Red faced, vein popping, spit flying, screaming anger would pretty closely describe it. It’s like an out of body experience, I’m hovering above the scene watching the demon that’s possessed me. Sometimes I’m reluctant to confront people, because I’m never quite sure when that monster will come popping out.
One poster on the discussion board recounted how he had fallen victim to the same scan and that he’d called and was told there was a no refund policy. He asked to speak to the supervisor and the original rep came back on and said she’d been authorized to give a one-time refund. Backed by this knowledge I dialed up the customer service number and settled in for some hold music. I was strongly encouraged to deal with the issue online, where they could blow me off much more cheaply, but I was determined to make them pay a real person to screw with me.
I explained my situation, admitted that it’s my screw up and offered to accept an $18.99 refund, since the service was only a buck more if you didn’t take advantage of the “special offer.” The ensuing conversation went something like this:
- Rep: It doesn’t work that way. We have a no refund policy.
- Bob: Well I know that you do give refunds because there’s a discussion of this issue on the Internet and one of the posters says he got a refund.
- Rep: In this case it’s been over a month since you made the purchase, we just can’t give you a refund.
- Bob: It doesn’t sound like you are authorized to give me a refund, may I speak to someone who is?
- Rep: No problem I will transfer you to my supervisor. (long period of obnoxious hold music)
- Rep: I spoke to my Supervise and he said we can give you a one-time refund in this case.
- Thank you very much.
So I got my refund, but I also got the impression that they’re playing a numbers game. A certain number of people will never even notice the charges on their statements, a certain number will notice and unsubscribe but never ask for a refund, a certain number will try to resolve the issue online and get the runaround that way. Some will call and take no for an answer the first time. But as soon as you identify yourself as someone who’s going to tangle real people up on the phone for any amount of time they cave. It’s just like when we were denied coverage on various medical supplies and services during the year of the knee. It’s the old squeaky wheel rule in action.
With the help of some pre-call self talk and visualization, I managed to maintain my cool through the whole thing. In fact I probably came off as about to nod off on heroine. But I ran the gauntlet of gratuitous hassle and came out the other side victorious.