Wait…You don’t want to be our customer anymore?

Jul 12, 2012   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Governance, Professional Development, Snark  //  2 Comments

Rotary Phone

Today I received yet another bill from Allstream, our telecommunications provider for our toll-free number.   It was only for $5, but there was a problem…I’d cancelled my account with them a couple of months ago.  Yet they were still sending a bill.  The call went like this, for the most part:


Me: This is my 3rd call* to cancel my services

Allstream: Your services are all disconnected

Me: But I’m still getting billed.

Allstream: Yes.

Me: Why am I still getting billed?

Allstream: That’s our customer charge**.

Me: What the f….?

Allstream: You didn’t cancel being a customer, so your account is still active even though your services aren’t.

Me: <redacted>

Allstream:…<pause>…..so did you want to cancel that?

Me: Yes, and I’m not going to pay this bill, either.

Allstream: Well, this one time*** we will waive that charge.

Me: You bet it’s one time.

Allstream: I’ve cancelled your customer account.  Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: No.

Allstream: Thank you for doing business with Allstream.

Me: <click>

* When we tried to cancel the first time, Rob called to do the cancellation, but they had to confirm with me.  So he got me on the phone and I confirmed.  Then days later, while I was on the road, they left a message asking if I really wanted to cancel or did I want to upgrade to something else.  I didn’t return their call, so they cancelled the cancellation. And they continued to bill me. Seems they really didn’t want me to cancel.

**Customer charges are becoming the norm for services, at least here in Ontario.  Business tack on these charges so that they can advertise lower rates for their core services.  All the utilities and service companies do this.  It’s just a charge for the cost of you being a customer.  Because you are a liability to them, not an asset.  They must charge you for the right to charge you.  Or something like that.

*** One time fixes always get me going.  It must be fun to say that only this one time will the company fix their errors.  It really does make me want to run to find their competitor.

IT: The Enabler

I wonder what it’s like to work on project that support these inane business rules.  How do project managers, business analysts, data architects, DBAs, devs et al sit through meetings and write up these requirements?  How do people just sit back and implement these sorts of rules, rules that clearly work against the customers and ultimately the bottom line?  Do you write all your requirements in Comic Sans?  Do you get free sodas and bottled water? A foosball table? Sure, jobs are tight and the economy is bad, but how do you bring yourselves to do this without having to take a 20 minute hot shower when you get home every night?


  • Wonder no more …

    The hot showers were much longer than 20 minutes. The Business Analyst and developers would meet for lunch and shout a lot. We’d drink lots of alcohol (I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this was during work hours). I had a meltdown during one particularly inane dev session and left soon afterwards. I didn’t write a line of code for a few weeks after that.

    • I left a project once after the new project manager insisted we each prepare a report of the features we would break in order to get followon business to fix them. Not features to leave out, but features into which we’d introduce bugs. Since I was the database and process engineer, my job would have been to plan for data quality bugs that might be fixed later. I never turned in a report and left within weeks.

      I was shocked at the number of people who blindly participated.
      Karen Lopez recently posted..5 Naughty and Nice Ways to Love Your DataMy Profile

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