Wednesday, 29 October 2008

An Exercise in Futile Stupidity

What better way to blow off some steam than to wax lyrical about a multinational billing system that has gone to the dogs.

About a month before left New Zealand on the first chapter of the ratherlargeadventure experience we had various loose ends to tie off. One of these loose ends was a power bill. Being a fan of dealing with all customer service representatives in writing I elected to use email for correspondence.

-I arranged for a final reading
-Payed the final reading
-Asked for any further accounts to be sent by email

(I have records of all of these interactions because I use gmail and I never delete an email. There is no need)

At this juncture it is probably prudent on my behalf to explain I had been a happy customer for over 6 years at the very same power company and have never had a billing problem.

Anyway fast forward to our return to New Zealand. Whilst visiting our good friends Segway Phil & Katie we opened a very terse letter explaining that our account had been overdue for over a month and they would be passing our details onto a debt collection agency.

I immediately seized the moment and began a ping pong interaction with the company explaining that I never received a final email statement, am happy to pay the outstanding amount but would rather not deal with a debt collection agency.

The power company are still adamant that they sent an email account to me. This is where I put my size 11 feet firmly to the ground and asked for final email statement transcript & proof. This request was due fully received and allocated to the IT team. Being a somewhat passionate IT person I know that restoring backup from tapes can be a lengthy process. It should not however take over a week unless the record is not on the tape or the backup system is not working.

I sent a nice email explaining that it had been a week since this request. I have a feeling that you are not going to find a non existing email record and here are my credit card details so you can charge my account correctly and get the debt collectors out of the equation. I also mentioned that we are going to need to reconnect our power at some point(RATHER LARGE HINT).

But still bureaucracy prevails, the multinational is hell bent taking an untenable position. I wait a response with gritted teeth. I would say "you wouldn't read about it" but you just did.
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