Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Man I hate phone trees!

Every time I think I've nailed down what I want to rant about with the US Attorney scandal, something new pops up. So much for trying to be thoughtful and thorough...

Meanwhile around Casa Nikchick there is no shortage of rant-worthy material. Take automated phone trees for example.

Checking my credit card online to see if a transaction had cleared, I noticed a charge for "Marie Claire" (the magazine) from the 19th that I definitely did not authorize. In fact, about a year ago I'd had a subscription for Budget Living which ceased publication about a year ago before the end of my subscription and was offered Marie Claire in substitute, which I specifically refused because it was so unlike the magazine I had subscribed to. I was not thrilled to see a new subscription charge for a magazine I never wanted in the first place.

So, I called the number that appeared on the charge (1-866-560-9273) and got an automated phone tree. Sometimes you can get a real person by saying things like "operator" or "help" or pressing * or 0. I tried all of that but this automated service was relentless. Finally, after about 10 minutes of struggling with it (I didn't have a "renewal number on the bottom of my card" and I sure as hell wasn't about to offer up my credit card number) it finally gave me another number to call for "further assistance." (1-800-586-5234) Ah ha! Now we're getting somewhere, I thought.

Nope. Exact same phone tree, with exactly the same options, just at a different number. I tried to play stupid and all the other tricks to get a live person but no dice. Finally I said "FRAUD!" and lo, I was given the option to dispute a charge by giving the amount of the charge and my zip code, then my last name. Indeed, the system found my "order" which I supposedly "placed" on March 17th. Using the phone tree I was given the option to cancel, then before it was actually canceled it offered me a "free gift" of gas cards to offset the "high price of gas" and tried to trick me into NOT canceling two or three different ways before finally agreeing to cancel and refund my money for the balance of issues still unsent. THEN it tried to offer me two more magazines before I finally got away... and I have no idea if this is just a temporary reprieve or if I'm going to see another suspicious "renewal" on my card next year, because I never was able to talk to a person.

Angry about the phone tree, I decided to call Marie Claire and complain. There I was able to talk to an actual person who confirmed that I did have a "subscription" and they'd sent out the "May issue" already (how's that for customer service: "order" placed on Saturday the 17th and shipped out by Tuesday the 20th!) and they couldn't help me at all because I'd have to contact the "service" that set up the subscription in the first place. I got a third number to call from the Marie Claire people (1-800-321-6247) which turned out to be yet another way to get to the exact same phone tree. I made sure to tell the Marie Claire chick that I'd gone from having a benign non-interest in their magazine to having a strong negative opinion of it and that she should pass on to the Powers That Be that their association with "services" of this sort was not doing their reputation any good. Oh, and that I never, ever, ever, EVER wanted another magazine from them under any circumstances.



for this post

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

word up.

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Hi there

I have just been through all you just said for 2 magazines! First is Time magazine and the second is Good Housekeeping. Both of them where offered to me for free for 6 months as a reward because I have purchased other things from an online retailer. They have tried to send me post cards to continue my "subscription"..what subscription, I got them as gifts, I never signed anything allowing them to charge my credit card! The numbers I called were 18665609273 for Good housekeeping from which I had to call 18005865234 with the same same tree of questions. I didn't want to give my credit card number either and I have discovered that if I press # when they ask me their rubish they will try to get other info not as sensitive as the card number! The second number I called was 18009732664, same tree, at least it didn't send me to call a different number. I managed to cancel the bloody "subscription" but they still charged me 1 issue that they already sent..oh well, at least I got 65 dolars back!
The Magazine Service Center as they call themselves has a website which is in fact just one page with what do you think?...more phone numbers!!!
Googling the name I found a mention on the rippoffreport.com site and, you won't believe this!, on Better Bussiness Bureau site where they are given the BBB token for good bussiness?!?!?!?!?!?!!? What the heck?

I'm sorry I had to vent like this to you but I'm outraged and I believe that we, the ones that had to put up with all that, to use our time and nerves in dealing with these idiots should do more.

Have a good one



Leave a Reply