A few years ago they put “three way calling” on all Pac Bell subscriber phones. It was just a pay-per-use thing, but it changed the way flashing/hanging-up worked. You now needed to hang up for 5 full seconds to make it happen, and I read some warning online that modems that redial were probably going to cost $0.95 per call since they would inadvertently trigger. Well! I got on the phone and had the damn thing disconnected.

Flash forward to recently, and hey, now I’m trying to conference call from my phone. Every few weeks I get on the phone to Pac Bell and talk to them about this. “Oh, yes, you already have that service on your line,” they told me in July. Right. I tried a month ago to get it turned back on, and they told me I was all set. Last week I called again, and this time I was put through to a special person who kept me on hold while she did something. Promised me it would be back in a few hours. No dice. Today I received an invoice for the $4.75 they charged for the service. I called in. Amazingly, the woman could see that it hadn’t been processed. I was on hold for 25 minutes while a technician worked on it, she kept coming back to sell my products, or offer to chat with me, or breath awkwardly into the dead air. I was typing and having a grand old time, but every time she’d start to talk I’d get scared because she was kind of slurring her speech, was generally inarticulate, and was enthusiastic. I got a lot of compliments for my patience. I didn’t tell her I was reading blogs at the time. Eventually, they just had me go ahead and hang up, and they called me back once it was set to “flow through” (whatever that means).

Then I had to rank her service on a scale of one to ten. What a crock – as if you will give someone an honest ranking directly…whoever designs these call center is a master of manipulation of data.

It’s two hours later, I don’t think I have the ability to make a three way call. We’ll see tomorrow AM.


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