Sunday, June 10, 2012

How to Score a Refund From Your Terrible Internet Service Provider in 12 Emotionally Complicated Steps

Based on true events!

1) Decide after months of mind-numbingly slow Internet that it may be worth it to upgrade to the slightly faster version.
2) Call your Internet Service Provider to learn that the slightly faster version is only $6 more a month! Make a bunch of salty snacks in anticipation of getting to stream season three of Breaking Bad without random jumps and pauses in the connection.
3) Three weeks later, when your bill comes and it is $38 higher than expected, get disproportionally angry and call your Terrible Internet Service Provider in a huff.
4) Two and a half hours and three transfers into your call, verify your account number for the fourth time and confirm your “favorite singer” to a tired-sounding woman in Indianapolis. When she pulls up your overcharged account she will exclaim, “Well this can’t be right!” Agree. She will make keyboard clicking sounds and tell you to expect a refund on your next billing cycle. Believe her if you like. 
5) When the next bill comes, repeat step four, this time, with a fast-talking man in Philadelphia. Tersely explain your problem. Verify your account number. He will pull up your last two bills and exclaim, “This can’t be right!” in the same incredulous tone as the woman in Indianapolis. Agree. Attempt to extort an immediate solution from him with what you think of as your signature blend of “firm charm.” Fail. Demand to speak to “a higher up.” Fail. Warily believe him when he tells you to really expect a refund on your next billing cycle.
6) During the next three still-$38-higher-than-they-should-be cycles, up your calling regimen to twice a month, tag-teaming with your husband in a version of good cop/bad cop in which he plays the “Personable Southerner” and you play the “Aggrieved Harpy.” Verify your goddamn account number. Use your "mean" voice. Use your “unacceptable” voice. Threaten to cancel, knowing full well that they’re the only high-speed Internet provider in your pocket neighborhood. Know that they know this too. Use your pleading voice. Begin to see your failure to obtain this refund as a reflection of your general insignificance in the world.
7) Have a revelation. Search out your Terrible Internet Service Provider’s Twitter handle.
8) Tweet at them.
9) Receive an immediate reply.
10) Six minutes later, answer your phone to a serene, beautiful sounding woman named “Kate.” She’ll ask you how your day has been in a voice that will make you feel like the two of you have spent the last five months together in a tropical hideaway. Is that a waterfall in the background? Kate already has your account number. Kate just needs to confirm the name of your favorite singer. She will compliment you on your music taste. Then she will refund your five months of built-up overcharges with the customer service equivalent of a toss of her luscious brown hair. She will ask if there is anything more she can do to help and she will give you her personal line at the company headquarters. She will wish you a great rest of your day.
11) Ten minutes later, after you find the refund sitting placidly in your account, come up with a really snarky tweet about the power of public complaining,
12) But find that you just can’t bring yourself to do that to Kate.

P.S. I originally wrote this for The Billfold, a website which I adore, and which you should probably read everyday if you care at all about your life. Just sayin'.

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