Saturday, April 10, 2004

Weekly Gripe

This week's Weekly Gripe is about companies that are so large and so disorganized that their left hand doesn't know what their right hand is doing. In particular, our phone company.

When we first moved here, we got a phone number that had previously belonged to Interwest Computer Consulting. So at first we got a lot of calls for them, which is understandable. Soon most of the calls ceased. But there was one party who would not stop calling us, no matter how vehemently we insisted that we were not Interwest. And that was the billing department of the phone company, trying to collect Interwest's bill.

You'd think that a phone company's billing department would have some sort of marker on the file that would indicate that the phone service had already been cut off to this organization, but no. And you'd think that if the claim was made several times that Interwest did not live at the Organic Baby Farm, that this claim could be easily investigated by the phone company, or at least a notation made on the file that the number was the wrong one, so that they could stop wasting everyone's time. But no.

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail in Spanish from a local medical firm. Over the last couple of months we've had some financial setbacks and long story short, everybody but Sonshine racked up some medical bills. (This is surprising because Sonshine is the only one of us who regularly hurls himself down stairs headfirst.) As near as I can tell (my Spanish is only good enough to read genealogical records) the letter said that we were past due and about to be sent to collections. Up until then, I'd been receiving a whole lot of little bills in varying amounts. I paid the largest-looking one, but they wouldn't stop coming. I called the billing office number on the bills, but the lady wasn't in and wouldn't be in, so I called the number on the Spanish letter, hoping that I'd get through to someone who spoke English. And I did, and she very kindly set me up with some payment arrangements. However, each individual instance of medical care has resulted in a different bill, and for some reason they were not able to combine them like they had after Sonshine was born. So I have to make payments on each one individually. And even though she had a computer and our last name was the same on all the accounts, she wasn't able to look them all up to see if we'd covered them all, which means I am probably still missing some of them.

Who designs these companies???