What makes you mad?

April 13 2007 by Ellen Roseman

Here’s a place to vent, rant, blow off steam, express your frustration. What happens to customer service when companies use outsourced call centres and technology that manages customer relations — but leaves it depersonalized and not accountable?

To kick it off, here’s a complaint about a driver’s license that got got lost in the mail:

Our daughter is an English teacher in Taiwan. In February, she came for a short visit and applied for a renewal of her driver’s license. This week, I went to the office to check on the status of her license (it has been now 8 weeks since she applied). The woman there called the issuing office, only to tell me she could not tell me anything. I was given a number to call. This is what we were told:

The license had been mailed out to us. (We checked the address and yes, they did have a correct address.) They could not give us any more information. We further learned that if a license cannot be delivered and is returned back to their office, it is destroyed. BUT they could not tell us this was the case, since they don’t keep track of it. Their system doesn’t allow them to record cases of lost/stolen licenses during the mailing process, either.

My daughter will have to apply again by fax. And if she doesn’t do it fast, she will have to pay the administration fees again. It will have to be mailed to Taiwan (or to the Czech Republic, where we are meeting with her this summer). But they will not mail it to any address in Ontario.

When I reminded the by now quite abrasive and impatient clerk that somebody else might be using her new license, I was told: Well, report it!!

I have a problem with this. A Driver’s License is one of those documents accepted as ID documents. We pay for renewal – could not/should not we be guaranteed a safe delivery of this ID? Should not the drivers’ licenses be handled with a little more caution and should not they be a little more secured?

6 comments

  1. Joren Carlson

    Apr 14 2007

    What makes me mad is that “customer service” no longer exists. People in a position that are supposed to help no longer care, don’t return phone calls, don’t reply to email, are apathetic or even hostile when you do finally get to speak to them, and finding someone that actually appreciates your business is a rarity.

    It’s everywhere. Even Landlords that won’t paint a condo that still has primer on the walls and torn drywall for a new Tenant thats willing to pay $1,500 a month for a bachelor. Or other Landlords that simply ignore the terms of the lease they don’t like, but have agreed to.

    I recently leased a new car. Not getting anywhere near the mileage its supposed to. There were a couple of other defects that I’ve noticed and wanted to get addressed. I went into the dealership and spoke to the Service MANAGER. He told me “maybe you should double check your math” about the mileage. I would think that if I work with numbers in my business and have a Degree in Computer Science I can fairly accurately calculate my gas mileage! (Besides, I triple checked it before going in!)

    Getting as much as mediocre service is a real challenge these days and it’s going to get worse.

  2. {Patel

    Apr 15 2007

    We went to get a new health card for my father, who is 69 years old. We did not have his bank statements. Normally we do paperless banking. We took an income tax accessment notice. The health office people refused to assign him a card, but after we made a second visit, they issued a card. They said my father would have to wait three months to get all OHIP coverage because he was away from Ontario for six Months. We asked for consideration because of his age and because he left Ontario for six months, not seven months or more. On the OHIP website, it says clearly that if the person left the country or province for more than seven months, he or she would have to wait for three months to get OHIP coverage. We spoke to lots of people at OHIP and they kept forwarding our request to differernt places. I would like to know how we resolve this matter because he is OLD and he was not away for seven months, he was away for six months after five years in Canada, and he is not working. Is there any help I can get????

  3. Dave

    Apr 15 2007

    ONE: In the past few months I have made calls to Sympatico’s tech service. EVERY time the person answering has been in India. With all respect, I CANNOT understand their speech. The accent is very thick, they speak far too quickly, and are not good listeners. I choose to end the call, hoping the next one would be more easily understood. From a logging I did, of 17 calls I got ONE plain-speaking person. One. Who was clearly not India-born. This is not even service; it is a dis-service. Bell has to rectify this serious shortcoming; it only looks like a cost-saving measure for them and a wasteful time of it at our end. Someone ‘way up there obviously does not care about the customer on this one, and I bet when his computer goes wonky HE/SHE does not end up with an unintelligible tech support person from India. Disgraceful.

    TWO: When I asked about cancelling my landline with Bell [to use my cell only; why pay for it AND a landline telephone?] but to keep the line for Internet purposes, I was told yes that can be done but for a $10 monthly fee added to my ISP account. When I pressed for what that pays for, I was told ‘administrative charges’. I pressed further, and the other end obviously wanted to get off the line – he changed the subject. When I asked for his supervisor’s name he hung up. From now on I will ask for the name right at the start; that behaviour is disgraceful. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you…

  4. rob jackson

    Apr 16 2007

    What makes me mad is having to deal with Revenue Canada. There was once a time when people in the Niagara Peninsula could go into the Revenue Canada office in St. Catharines and inquire (with a real person) about a return, and have that person go and find the actual return and show it to you.

    Now when you arrive at the office, you are directed to a bank of telephones where you sit and ask questions to a person who is looking at your return on a computer screen. You cannot see what that person is seeing, nor can you get a copy of it. Revenue Canada is giving less and less service to a person who is not computer savy and has no home computer on the net.

    Personally, I prefer to have access to my records locally, without having to deal with someone in Newfoundland.

    On the plus side, the call center hasn’t been farmed out to an offshore site in India. But it may come to that if the Canadian taxpayer doesn’t start to complain to their local MP soon.