One of my least favorite parts of caring for dad is the “bookkeeping” involved. Sometimes when the mail comes, I just groan from seeing all the bills, financial statements, etc. I know I can’t put off dealing with it as it arrives or within a few days. I don’t dare let it get buried under the pile on my desk!
Last week the mailman brought me a stack of statements that I had to reconcile with dad’s and my accounts. I set them aside for one night and then decided I had to deal with them. I spent over 2 hours updating our accounts and filed the statements away.
One thing I hate even more than reconciling dad’s accounts, and that is dealing with problems. Too much confusion is caused by the fact that I have to pay for both dad’s accounts and my own, sometimes from the same utility companies. The confusion begins when I call about dad’s accounts.
Last week I tried to call the cable company because dad has not received any bills since August when we dropped his cable telephone service. He still has basic cable television. I knew he had a credit, but I wanted to know when he has to begin paying again. I couldn’t get past the robot lady.
The robot lady starts by telling me my telephone number and asking if that is the account I am calling about. I say “No! Let me speak to a human”. Robot lady keeps talking. Now she wants me to use the keyboard to say yes or no. I say: “No”. Finally she asks what it is about and I say: “Billing”. Robot lady says she will switch me to billing. Then she hangs up on me!
I called again. This time I got the robot lady to say she would switch me to billing and there was a message that the wait time was more than 15 minutes. I tried again the next day. Still the wait time was more than 15 minutes. They used to have humans who answered the phone here in our town which is hundreds of miles from where hurricane Sandy hit.
However, we are in the same state as the hurricane, and the cable company is the huge nationwide company with equally bad service all over. They seemed to be too busy because the few humans they had were devoted to the problems on the East Coast. Now what do I do?
I decided to try something new. I went to the cable company’s Facebook page and posted a complaint. Within a few minutes, I got a Facebook message from the cable company. Voila! I found a way to get a response. It still took several emails over 2 days but I finally got a promise that they would begin sending statements again even though dad has a credit on his account.
(Their usual practice is to send no statements when there is a credit. However, they changed everyone’s account numbers a month ago, and with this no statement policy, I didn’t even know his current account number! )
So, even though it took about 24 hours, but I found a new way to solve a continuing problem. I hate paying bills and troubleshooting problems, but now I may have one more way to get a response from these companies.
And today I got an updated cable statement in the mail showing dad’s credits for the past several months. What a relief – it actually worked!