Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More Fun With Fraud Fallout

"Experience Life At SprintSpeed" says the new slogan.  SprintSpeed apparently makes a glacier look like the Roadrunner . . .

I have several recurring bills that I've chosen to pay automatically via the credit card that was compromised over the weekend.  Of course now that that card has been cancelled, I have to make sure that each of these places has updated information.  One of these bills is for my Sprint mobile phone.  Now I am 99 44/100 percent sure that I initially set up the automatic billing via their website, but as I clicked around their twisty maze of web pages, all different,  I could not find a place to change the card information.  I didn't really want to do so online anyway, being a little gun-shy on the web transaction front at this point.  I clicked around some more until I found the list of phone numbers and called them.  After punching in my information, I got to a menu asking me to say what I was calling about.  "Change credit card" says I.  "OK!  I can help you with that!" says the overly perky recording.  But she doesn't help me, after all, she just transfers my call to a live agent.  Well, to a hold queue, where I am informed that my wait will be five to ten minutes.  When I am finally connected, the agent proceeds to ask me for the same information I've already entered into the phone system  (way to leverage the CTI there, guys!), and when she decides I might be who I say I am, asks me what I want.  I tell her I need to change the credit card used for automatic billing.  Alas, she can not help me with that.  She's going to transfer me to the finance department, but first she gives me the direct number in case I get disconnected.  (Lord knows this is actually a good precaution; my first call to Sprint this afternoon actually did result in a disconnect.  You'd think a PHONE company could get the whole concept of call transfers figured out, right?  But I digress...)

The transfer is actually successful, and I am once again asked to prove that I am me.  Once that's out of the way, the agent tells me my current balance and asks how I would like to pay that today.  I explain that I am not calling to make a payment, I am calling to update my credit card info.  She can't help me - this seems to be a common occurrence at Sprint - so she dumps me off to her supervisor.  Again with the verification.  She too wants me to pay my bill.  Jebus, Sprint, you get my money automatically every month, and it's not the due date yet.  Chill on the paying you thing.  My voice is getting hoarse from repeating my simple request.  And guess what?  (all together now) ... She can't help me.

She can send me a form, would that be OK?  OK, whatever, just please end this nightmare.  She asks for my email address.  That would be the email address that they have in their records somewhere.  Nonetheless, I just spell it out for her, and she wants me to stay on the line to verify I've gotten the form she's sending.  It comes through with no subject line and no text in the body of the email, just an attachment in Microsoft Word format.  Good thing I'm at work, so I can actually open it.  And when I do, I see that it's a Nextel form.  OK, granted Sprint merged with Nextel . . .   IN AUGUST OF 2005!!! For crying out loud, they've even dropped "Nextel" from most of their advertising at this point.  I'm not going to fill out a Nextel branded form and send it to what is more than likely the wrong address.

Supposedly, she's going to contact somebody and have another form sent to me.  It's been over an hour and that hasn't happened.

Yeah, we're moving at SprintSpeed!

x-posted to Your Call Is Very Important To Us

More About Fraud and Blockbuster Online

Ballbuster Online is more like it.  After three or four go-rounds on email (at least two of which were virtually identical), they finally coughed up a toll-free number for me to call.  Right before that, though, they actually were stupid enough to send me a separate email requesting that I update my billing information, because they'd been unable to charge the credit card they'd been given.  No shit, Sherlock.  What a bunch of effing morons.

So I called the number I'd been given (BTW, since they seem to guard it so tightly, I'll freely publish it here:  Blockbuster Online Customer Service Toll-Free Number: 866--692-2789).  I spoke to Chad, who, despite his charming Texas accent, had clearly been drinking the Kool-Aid; he more-or-less parroted what his email copy/paste buddies had already said.

I'd responded to the request to update my billing information with a rather heated email telling them in no uncertain terms what morons I thought them all to be.  The reply to that contained another response, presumably copied and pasted from the Big Book of Blockbuster Online Useless Customer Service Responses, telling me "The credit card companies have given us explicit instructions not to modify customers' accounts in any shape, form or matter without their authorization through our legal department."

WTF-ever, dudes.  I've called four other companies about this issue, and emailed a handful more.  EVERY one of them immediately cancelled the fraudulently set up accounts.

Since BBO seems to have a ready supply of instantly copyable responses for this issue, one has to wonder just how often they get fraudulently set up accounts.  And again, does keeping said accounts on the books as long as possible help the numbers they report to Wall Street and their shareholders?

x-posted to Your Call Is Very Important To Us

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blockbuster Supports Fraud?

Without going into all the gory details, I seem to have been the victim of a (so far) minor bit of identity theft over the weekend.

Somebody signed me up for various services, or even made some purchases billed to one of my credit cards. In some cases, it was rather painless to cancel these transactions - the "confirmation" emails I received included toll-free contact numbers, and calling those numbers got me through to somebody quickly, who then would listen to my tail of woe and resolve the issue.

And then we have Blockbuster Online. No contact number in the email. No contact number on the website. No easy way to contact them at all. So I hit "reply" on the email welcoming me to their service and said "this was set up with stolen information, the credit card has been cancelled, so please cancel this registration."

Their response was priceless -- "Sorry you have to deal with this, but we are not authorized to cancel this account due to this claim of fraudulent activity or identity theft." (italics, mine).

Thus, my recently sent message to Blockbuster Investor Relations:

You know what's interesting? That a large company like Blockbuster will accept a fraudulently generated account for Blockbuster Online, but when the defrauded consumer attempts to get this resolved, he is told "we are not authorized to cancel this account due to this claim of fraudulent activity or identity theft."

I'm sure my local media outlets and the whole rest of the internet will be interested to know that Blockbuster worries more about inflating its "subscriber" numbers than resolving issues with fraud.

I had no problem at all contacting some of the seemingly sketchy companies that also were involved in this incident, and having them quickly and easily cancel the orders and verify that no attempt would be made to charge my credit card. They even published toll-free numbers so that I could contact them.

I'll never be a blockbuster customer, and I will make sure EVERYBODY knows how you all operate.

So there you go. If you're reading this, you are part of "the whole rest of the internet" and/or "EVERYBODY."

Please think twice about patronizing a company that seems to value "the numbers" more than security.

xposted to You Call Is Very Important To Us