Monday, November 05, 2007

Money. The rerun.

You would think these things would be simpler.

You would think.

And be wrong.

Citibank needs to get their collect phone system working. There's this curious thing about collect calls: someone has to actually ACCEPT them. But their collect phone number which is printed on the back of the debit card jumps directly to a recording that says:

You have reached Citibank's collect number. Please select from the following list of options...or hold for an operator.

Guess what? Gotta hold. Because the statement that it IS their number for collect calls is not the same thing as ACCEPTING said collect calls. Each and every ATT&T operator that I used today found the system ridiculous...and stayed on the phone with me through the interminable wait, mostly, I think, out of curiosity and a desire to speak sharply to the poor people on the other end. Who were confused as to why they were talking to another operator...

So once I got through on Monday's Try #1, I was speaking to a bumbling operator who finally hung up on me rather than try to resolve the problem of getting a new debit card sent out. This didn't make me happy.

Try # 2 the system itself hung up on us. The gracious operator redialed for me.
Try # 3 put me through to a polite gentleman whose name was garbled, whose assistance was poor, but who was genuinely trying to help. Or, at least after I stopped him mid-sentence with a trembling voice and said,

"I'm in a foreign country and I have no way to access my bank account...are you telling me that if my card had been stolen, there is no way that your company can send a new one? Because I highly doubt that...and if that's the case, I'm switching all my money (oohh, like that was a THREAT!) to Washington Mutual!"

You see, it was the same run around. Can't send a card to a P.O. box. Can't send to an address that's not the one on record. Can't make the address of record a P.O. box. Can send overseas if a bank branch will accept it; cannot verify or assist with getting a bank branch to do so. And on and on in circles...

But finally, he puts me on hold and says, wait...I'm going to transfer you to a supervisor who will ask you some more intimate questions that will verify your identity and then if that's okay, we can send to any address you want.


I talk to Sue. She asks me some inane questions that are not nearly as intimate as they would have you believe and are, incidentally, not really that secure. One question asked: In which of these four cities (or none of the above) have you lived? One of my ex-haunts is listed. Which anyone reading my blog would be able to pick out of a list. The next question asks: The county of the city you lived in was: W X Y or Z? And of course, one of the counties that I lived in was listed, but not the county of the city from the previous question. So the operator and I have this discussion about whether it is referring to question A or just a place that I've lived in general...grrr. Machines garble everything. Thankfully, I got the question right. Passed the test. I am who I say I am, at least, what my credit report says I am.

On to finding the right address to send my new card to. They can't send express mail to a P.O. box and I need the card to arrive by the end of the week. So I call my co-worker on the cellphone, put the operator on hold (ahhhh, the revenge of international collect charges for the people who are complicating my life) and we puzzle out the street address for the WMF office. Success!!! Someone will be signing for my new debit card tomorrow, if all goes well...

But then again, this is my soap-opera life. Will it? Only time will tell...


Ali la Loca said...

This sounds absolutely insane. I'm not at all surprised...

Rachel said...

Hey Jenna,

I'm a gringa living in Rio with my own gringa blog!! ( I just found your blog and I was so happy to find that there's another me out there, except it seems you've been in Rio a lot longer!! Check out my blog and drop me a message, it would be fun to chat! There's not to many of us americanas living here! :)