I had plans for today. I rose around 8 a.m., took a shower, had a couple of Eggos for breakfast, checked my glucose level, took my morning insulin shot, turned on the morning news.
Today I was going to finish writing out my Christmas cards and take a couple of packages to the USPS postal office to mail them and get stamps for the cards.
But I didn’t get to do that this morning. What is that old saying about shit happening?
I spent the morning on line and on the phone with – the telephone company!
While toasting my Eggos, waiting for them to get a bit crunchy I made the mistake of casually opening this month’s wireless bill. I probably should have waited until after breakfast and coffee.
Old Toritto doesn’t have a smart phone. No need. He has a Samsung flip phone. No need to monitor “data” – his phone plan allows for unlimited talking and texting, which is all a phone has to do.
Toritto’s phone is also heavy duty; it is larger than other flips and heavily constructed – it can be dropped from a building and it will still work. I bought it two years ago to replace my flimsier flip which had eventually died and is now buried in the junk drawer.
In any case, I opened my bill from the wireless company (think of a capital “V” for a hint!) and almost had coffee in my nose. The bill was about $120 higher than normal.
What is this? I take my Eggos to the internet and push the “chat” button – “What is this?” asks I. Why is my bill $120 higher than it has been for 15 years?
Well, advises the Chat person, Toritto made 2 international calls this month.
On November 11 – from Providence, Rhode Island to St. Georges, Granada at 4:40 and 6:30P.M to the same number. Total cost about a hundred bucks plus taxes and fees.
“Fraud!” cried Toritto. I haven’t been to Providence since 1982! I don’t know ANYONE in Granada! I didn’t make the calls!
This was now getting too complicated to continue on Chat so I asked for a number I could call to speak to a live person in the fraud investigation unit. I got it and called it.
After punching my way through the various choices (always a pain in the ass) I got a human on the phone that clearly didn’t want to hear about my problem. She transferred me to a “manager” who was more helpful.
I told her those $120 worth of calls to Grand Cayman weren’t mine. Besides I wasn’t in Providence.
She looked into it while I was on hold and agreed to put through a credit to my account and open a fraud investigation.
When can I expect to see the credit? “Oh maybe not for a billing cycle or two.”
“You charged my account the second the phone calls were made but can’t credit my account for a month or two?”
“Oh you can make a partial payment! By the way, it is possible your phone has been hacked. It is only 3G and you should upgrade to a 4G. Flip phones in 4G are available through our sales department.”
“Don’t talk to me about 3G or 4G. I have no idea what you are talking about. I only want a phone. Besides, a hacker would much prefer a smart phone. Flip phones don’t contain purchases or credit card numbers. There is nothing on them other than perhaps dirty text messages. And if a hacker took control of my phone to make international calls, why only make two on November 11? The hacker would run up a bill in the thousands. More likely it is a billing error on your part.”
Well “Thank you Mr. Toritto for being our customer.”
So I hung up thinking problem perhaps solved. I decided to make a partial payment – actually sent $25 more than I thought necessary – and will now keep an eye out for the credit to make sure I don’t go into the dreaded “past due.” I suspect I will have to make the rest of the payment before the due date.
But hey, its not the end of the world, right? Don’t let it spoil the day.
So I pick up my cell phone – and its dead. DEAD!
Apparently when speaking of replacing my “hacked” phone, the “manager” shut it down!
Back on the phone – my house phone. This one is connected to my router and run by my internet company, along with my T.V. and computer.
“Hello!” Punch the choices again. Explain it all to a new customer service person.
“You shut off my phone!””
“Let me transfer you to Technical Support. They will be glad to help you!”
So I tell the whole sad story again. A young women takes about 15 seconds to turn it back on. “If you really don’t make international calls, you can block any from your phone number, which may help if the problem occurs again” she suggests.
Transfer. New person. Need to tell the same story. Block all international calls originating from my number.
Done, supposedly. All except for the credit. We will see.
Time spent – almost 3 hours. So for all of my friends in England, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand and Australia – don’t expect a call. Call me.
I did get to the post office.
P,S. – I got my credit today for the calls -only took 2 days! A squeaking wheel gets the grease!