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127

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 127, June 25, 2001
TRUST ME -- CALL ME!

What Are They Going To Do, 'Take
Their Business Elsewhere?' Har Har

by Vin Suprynowicz
vin@lvrj.com

Special to TLE

[NOTE: THIS COLUMN CONTAINS COLORFUL INSULTS RELATING TO SEXUAL CONDUCT. THIS IS NOT A WARNING. -- ed.]

Greetings --

I received a $155 telephone bill on Saturday, June 16, with a shutoff notice for June 19. This is the first time I have ever seen this bill in this amount (though I've been a good customer of yours for years, paying all bills promptly and in full.) I'm sure the reason no earlier bill was ever received is because you insist on mailing bills to the residence address (where they get shuffled in with the direct-mail supermarket fliers we all promptly throw away), NOT the P.O. box, though I've been repeatedly assured you WOULD mail to the P.O. box: "Oh, yassir, Mr. Vin, we be markin' it down right here, mail to the post office box, not to the home, unh-hunh, no problem."

I mailed payment in full on Sunday, June 17. I then called your customer service folks on Monday morning, June 18, to make sure they knew that I'd paid this bill within 24 hours of receipt. "George" told me AGAIN he would change the billing address to my P.O. box, and assured me he had "made a note on the account" as to WHY the payment was "late," as well as noting that a payment HAD been mailed. He assured me there would be no shut-off.

This evening, my home phone is disconnected. I have tried calling your office, but there's no way to leave a message. I want this phone reconnected immediately; I want to know whether the $155 payment has been received and processed in Phoenix and if so when (it's been three days); I want to know why you refuse to send my bills to my P.O. box as requested; I do not want to be charged $71 for your flipping a switch to turn this service back on after "George" assured me there would be no shut-off. Please respond immediately or I will switch my service to Nevada Telephone, which has a LOCAL address for bill payments, and a *24*-hour service line.

-- Vin Suprynowicz

p.s. -- this e-mail message will not "send" unless I fill in the last four digits of my Social Security number. I am only using this piss-poor excuse for a customer service access method because you won't answer your damned phones after 5 ... you don't even have a message machine, and you're a PHONE COMPANY! I have tried without success to enter the codeword which you have on file as my account identifier INSTEAD of the Social Security number, which you know full well you have NO right to demand as an identifier, since Congress swore on its oaths the Social Security number would NEVER become a "national ID number." I am not applying for any damned federal retirement benefits to help pay this bill and you have NO right to demand that number, you festering fascist scumbags. Set up this system to accept ALTERNATIVE CODEWORDS. Do it now.

- - -

From: Electa R <sprint.local@mail.sprint.com>
To: vin@lasvegas.com
Subject: Re: Billing Inquiries
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 13:43:00 GMT

Thank you for contacting Sprint via the Internet.

As of 6-21-01 the $155 payment hasn't posted to your account. The past due balance is $165.55. Until the payment posts, we will not be able to restored the service & a restoral fee would apply. You may contact Accounts Receivable at 1-877-386-0217 to make further inquiries or disputes.

I apologize for the misinformation given to you by "George", however, the billing address was changed to the P O Box address. Unfortunately, the address wasn't changed before the suspension notice was mailed. I understand you did request that to be done some time ago as well & I am sorry it wasn't.

The system is designed to request the last 4 digits of the social security number for verification. I will pass on your suggestion about changing it to allow a CODEWORD to be entered instead.

Thank You for using Sprint On-Line Services.

- - -
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 11:43:17 -0800
To: Electa R <sprint.local@mail.sprint.com>
From: vin@lasvegas.com

Listen, you purulent little toad --

What the hell does "posted to your account" mean? Has the check been received in the mail in Phoenix yet, or not? It was mailed Sunday afternoon at the main Las Vegas post office and it's now Thursday afternoon; how long it takes the employees of your sheltered workshop down by the Salt River Crossing to gather together in small groups and figure out how to get the envelopes open is no concern of MINE.

I've just switched my service to Nevada Telephone. When that phalanx of gray suits upstairs (or waiting for Dorothy to return to Kansas, or wherever they hang out) who can't see any reason to have your phones answered after 5 p.m. because "If their phones don't work after hours it's THEIR problem; what are they going to do, 'take their business ELSEWHERE?' har har," have lost you a few thousand more customers and you get laid off, and the simpering fellated whiners around you are wiping inappropriate bodily fluids off their chins and moaning about how cruel corporate management is, how dare they do this at Christmastime when there are illegitimate kids to feed and presents under the tree all bought on time, I want you to ask yourself, "Gee, should we maybe have tried treating NINE-YEAR CUSTOMERS WHO HAD ALWAYS PAID THEIR BILLS IN FULL AND ON TIME a little differently, when they didn't get bills because WE mailed them to the WRONG ADDRESS?"

You used to be able to get away with this "Pay extra if you want your service restored" crap, back when you were a MONOPOLY, but it just doesn't cut it anymore, see? We've had enough of your kind of "service," and the tedious courses of ampiccilin shots that inevitably follow.

Demanding Social Security numbers for non-government business is a FEDERAL CRIME, by the way. In between "I can't believe this; this can't be happening" as they lead you away in handcuffs, remind yourself you were once told that and you just laughed, saying, "It's corporate policy, for heaven's sake; they can't ever hold us PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for violating federal privacy laws ... can they? I mean, we're kind of like concentration camp guards -- just following orders -- right?"

Enjoy your next job search. Try the food bank, where I'm told they're giving away free cans of green beans and creamed corn; you'll learn to love them. You may contact your federal parole officer to make further inquiries or disputes.

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I'm free at last ... while YOUR cut-rate corporate gynecological condominium, my dear, so desperately in need of new and less shabby carpet and drapes, is a classic example of what economists call the "tragedy of the commons."

Vin Suprynowicz
no longer a customer of Sprint.

- - -
From: Electa R <sprint.local@mail.sprint.com>
To: Vin@lasvegas.com
Subject: Re: Billing Inquiries
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 20:13:55 GMT

Thank you for contacting Sprint via the Internet.

Would you like your service to be disconnected completely or is NV Telephone going to take care of that in switching your services over to them? Please email us with your request(s).

Thank You for using Sprint On-Line Services.



Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter by sending $72 to Privacy Alert, 1475 Terminal Way, Suite E for Easy, Reno, NV 89502 -- or dialing 775-348-8591


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