Saturday, April 17, 2010

Complaint Letter

I've been having a bit of a problem with my mortgage company lately. Seems they are incapable of sending my financial information to the correct address despite repeated calls to "customer service." It appears the concept of the current address escapes the brilliant minds that can calculate the amortized payment of a fixed rate loan over 30 years. Kinda makes me nervous. Anyway, I wrote them a formal letter of complaint, and I thought that I'd share. The full text is below. I have changed the names to protect the guilty, of course.

Dear Sir, Madam, or Otherwise:

I must admit that I have struggled a bit with writing this letter. I am conflicted about how useful it will actually be since I am sending it to the very people at the customer service department that have been the chief orchestrators of my mental torment over the last six months. In the end I’ve decided it was better for me to write this letter in order to record for posterity the monumental failure of your organization at performing a simple task. Surely future generations will find value in such an account even if your fellow employees cannot decipher all of these little black marks on the page. They are called “letters”, and they form “words” which are part of a “language” that is used to communicate abstract ideas to other sentient beings, and it appears that having a grasp on that concept is not one of your organization’s hiring requirements.

I have owned the house where I currently reside for nearly four years now, and Mega Mortgage Company has been the organization that has financed both of the mortgages for this property since the first day I crossed its threshold. I have never missed a payment on either loan (or any loan for that matter), and, in fact, every month I pay more than the minimum amortized payments. I have been a homeowner for nearly ten years, and this his been my personal policy for nearly that whole time span. This is the backdrop which frames the current situation.

Last December (2009) I noticed that I had not received a payment notification for my second mortgage for over a month. Interestingly my primary mortgage statements continued to arrive on time. I assumed that the notification had been lost by the post office, an organization with which your company seems to be competing for nearly-educated employees. So I gave the customer service department a call to enquire why the notification was tardy. Did you know that there are five stacked tiers for selection options in your hotline? I had to mash more keys than Herbie Hancock has in his extended career in order to navigate the rabbit warren of not-so-useful options. Quite impressive that none of them actually lead the concerned party (me) to a living person. After 30 minutes of exploring all of the combinations and permutations of your “help” line and possibly out of sheer finger fatigue I accidentally pressed zero (not given as an option) which led me an actual representative. Almost immediately I began to understand why your directory avoids mentioning this as a viable alternative.

I gave my identification information to the individual on the other end of the line and promptly asked why I had not seen my statement. Imagine my relief when the representative told me that there was no record of any such loan on your system. Great news on a holiday that a $30k debt had been forgiven; however, when I suggested perhaps then I should stop payments immediately the representative was hesitant to put her comments on the company letterhead. Lo and behold that after an actual search was done the missing loan was found. Swell; now let’s move on to the actual issue. It turns out that for reasons unknown to the customer service representative the statements were now being sent to another address. Fine. I can see how your database could randomly choose an address to send my personal financial information after three years. Well not really, but I am at least willing forgive a first offense. After some hand-holding on my part I was able to explain that this issue should probably be fixed, and it appeared to me that the person with which I was conversing had a marginal grasp of how addresses work. So I left the conversation feeling confident that the problem had been remedied, meaning the bills should be sent to address A (my current address) instead of address B (some other location). Let’s recap: address A = good; address B = bad.

I received one statement at the correct address; however, the following statement was MIA so red flags started going up in my head. I immediately called your support line again bypassing the data mining exercise by utilizing my new-found option of pressing zero. Although this member of your staff was able to locate my loan information, they did not have the necessary tools, such as a functioning cerebellum and a grasp on human language, to understand the problem. Below is a brief transcript of the conversation:

Me: Our statements should be sent to address A, just like all of the other correspondence that I receive from your organization.
CS Guy: OK. So we’ll just change all of your correspondence to address B. 
Me: Wait…
CS Guy: I’ll just need to confirm some personal information first. 
Me: Hold on a seco…
CS Guy: Please answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge… 
Me: STOP. IMMEDIATELY. Or I swear by God and sonny Jesus that I will extrude myself through this receiver.
CS Guy: Is there a problem, sir? 
Me: ….. 
CS Guy: Sir? 
Me: …six…seven…eight…nine…ten. OK. I want you to listen carefully. ALL correspondence should be sent to my actual address, address A. NOT, and I repeat NOT, to address B.
CS Guy: Well, why are we sending this statement to address B? 
Me: Are your mommy and daddy there? Please go get a grown up, son.

After about 30 minutes of further explanation and some remedial spelling and grammar lessons it appeared that we finally had the problem cleared up. When I received the next statement at address A it appeared to confirm that fact.

Unfortunately, about a week ago, I received a notification (at address A) that my payment was 20 days past due. Holy yosh ishmadia… Off to the customer service line again I go. The representative I contacted this round initially appeared to at least have a grasp on how to use your computer system. When I explained my problem they notified me that the address had been permanently changed from address A to address B in December - my first call. No record of the second call, which isn’t surprising since I am willing to bet that the person on the other end of that call was just delivering pizza to the office and wanted to screw with my brain. By this time all faith in the ability of the individuals in your department to actually provide a helpful service (which admittedly wasn’t very much to begin with) had diminished to zero. Since I can chew gum and walk at the same time I had a difficult time explaining such a simple issue to the person assigned to help. After partially strangling myself with the phone cord, I think I must have diminished my mental capacity to the level of the customer service representative because it seems that she finally was able to grasp my description of the problem. However, even after I thought the individual had a firm handle on my situation another issue came up.

Me: Address A…Good. Address B…Bad 
CS Gal: Oh, I see. I wonder why that got changed? 
Me: Doesn’t matter. {gasp} Change back {choke} to address A.
CS Gal: To address C? 
Me: No. {gasp} Address A. 
CS Gal: Right, address C. 
Me: [Unwrapping phone cord from my neck]{Deep Breath} Let’s try an experiment, OK? Repeat after me: “Mouse”. 
CS Gal: “Juice”? 
Me: “Forehead”. 
CS Gal: “Car”. 
Me: Can I speak to the manager? 
CS Gal: Do you want me to say all of that? 
Me: [Taking a long drink from hip flask] Why not…

Speaking with the manager I was able to (hopefully) come to a solution to this perplexing problem, although only time will tell. Since my payment was already 20 days past due, I was concerned that my payment would not arrive on time in order to keep my credit clear. Although admittedly this is probably a moot point since your organization has repeatedly sent my privileged personal financial information to bumblef@#K for some unknown period of time, so I am probably unknowingly financing someone’s dream sexual tourist vacation to Thailand as I write this. Anyway, regarding my payment options the manager said he would be happy to accept my payment over the phone for a fee of $25. That’s a nice scam you’ve got going there. When I suggested how ludicrous the extortion of a fee for payment that was going to be late due to your repeated inadequacy of service which I had not previously considered possible, as well as ignorance and stupidity of monolithic proportions, the response I got was predictable. I’m directly quoting here: “My manager says there is nothing we can do.” Funny, I thought I was talking to the manager. I immediately hung up, kicked my dog, lost my religion, then redialed the customer service department again. After another futile attempt at explaining the issue to someone I can only assume was in fact human, I enquired about waiving the payment fee, and the being on the other end of the line had no problem waiving it. Good grief, people. I wish I could say that I was surprised, but at this point I’m not 100% certain that Ashton Kutcher isn’t going to pop over the cubicle wall next to me.

I won’t even get into the difficulty that I had getting the information about how to submit a formal letter of complaint. I can say that nearly three cell phones were destroyed in the effort. In the end I wanted to send this letter so that you can either pursue your professional prerogative and seek to rectify these difficulties within your department (or organization as a whole) - or more likely (I suspect) so that you can have some entertaining reading material as you aimlessly wander through the working day drinking bad coffee on the toilet in your office.


Daniel P. Daniel

What do you think? I probably let them off too easy, I know. Any takers on whether or not they will get their crap in a pile? The good money is on "No."


Some Guy said...

I don't know whether to laugh (because it's funny) or cry (because I have a mortgage too, and am more or less just waiting to find out just how stupid my mortgage company can be.)

Carol Blackburn said...

Hello Dan,
Nice to meet a fellow human who seems to have "screw me" written on his forehead. My husband and I can't get out from that dark cloud and constant shit that drops out of the sky on us both. What happens when two jinxed people marry? The crap multiplys by 100 fold. It's a curse. I feel for you man. We've tried to rein things in by doing things like buying local (including a mortgage) so we can go and physically see and talk with a real person not someone on a phone in Calcutta. I've been getting more and more depressed lately. You see, I do have a few things I enjoy...yes, enjoy; like my Tai Chi class and my painting but I feel soooooo guilty spending my hard earned money on them when other family members are having a hard time making ends meet. What's a girl to do? Praying doesn't seem to do any good. God has forsaken me, it seems. I'm praying for a trauatic brain injury so I can forget everything. I see you bang your head against the wall. How's that workin' for ya?