the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: customer service

My Conversation with TLC Marketing Customer Service

After a day of phone calls, I finally was able to get TLC Marketing (or at least some guy in India) on the telephone to discuss the Dockers JCPenneys Free Round-Trip fiasco  (see last post).

Neil:  I’m calling about the Dockers Free Round Trip Ticket… I still haven’t heard back from you.

TLC Marketing:  Yes, did you fill out the form?

Neil:  I filled out the form a long time ago.  I received a phone call saying everything was OK.

TLC Marketing:  Then, you will be receiving a call from the booking agent.

Neil:  When will I get this call?

TLC Marketing:  You will get be receiving a call from the booking agent.

Neil:  When?  I’m supposed to have a flight on July 16th.

TLC Marketing:  The booking agent will…

Neil:  Can I give you my name and you can look it up in the computer?  Maybe you can tell me when I will get this call.

TLC Marketing:  I do not have access to individual records.  You will be receiving a call from the booking agent…

Neil:  When?   In the brochure, it clearly states that I will receive a call two week after you receive the form.

TLC Marketing:  You will be receiving…

Neil:  When?!  My flight is next week already…

TLC Marketing:  Those with completed forms will be receiving a call from the booking agent starting on July 22nd.

Neil:  On July 22nd?

TLC Marketing:  Starting on July 22nd, you can negotiate your booking.

Neil:  What?!  My flight is supposed to be on July 16th. 

TLC Marketing:  You can negotiate it with the booking agent.

Neil:  How am I going to negotiate my July 16th flight with the booking agent on July 22nd?

TLC Marketing:  That’s something you can negotiate with the booking agent.

Neil:  Is there a supervisor around?

TLC Marketing:  All the supervisors are busy.

Neil:  I’ll wait.

TLC Marketing:  The supervisors are unable to take any calls today.  You will need to wait to speak with the booking agent.

Neil:  And what am I supposed to do now?  I asked for a flight on July 16th.

TLC Marketing:  You can negotiate it with the booking agent.

Neil:  No.  It doesn’t work that way.  I can talk to the booking agent on July 22nd, but I cannot negotiate my July 16th flight with the booking agent on July 22nd?  Do you understand what I’m talking about.  The flight is on July 16th.  The call is on July 22nd.

TLC Marketing:  I only know that the booking agent will negotiate…

Neil:  So, I WON’T be getting my flight for July 16th?

TLC Marketing:  I cannot say that.  You can negotiate…

Neil:  Why can’t you say that?

TLC Marketing:  That is something to negotiate…

Neil:  Negotiate what?  There is no POSSIBILITY that I will get a flight for July 16th on July 22th.  Do you have a calendar in front of you?

TLC Marketing:  Yes, I do.

Neil:  So, you understand that I will NOT get my flight on July 16th.

TLC Marketing:  I am not saying that.  This is something you can negotiate…

Neil:  Is this being recorded?

TLC Marketing:  Yes.

Neil:  What is your name?

TLC Marketing:  Menuel.

Neil:  Manuel?

TLC Marketing:  Menuel.

Neil:  Manual?

TLC Marketing:  Menuel.

Neil:  Can you spell that?

TLC Marketing:  M-e-n-u-e-l.

Neil:  And this is TLC Marketing?

TLC Marketing:  Corrrect.

Neil:  So, Menuel of TLC Marketing — you are telling me that there is a possibility that I still might receive a flight for July 16th when I receive my phone call on July 22nd?

TLC Marketing:  You can negotiate it with the booking agent at the time.

Neil:  Can we talk — just between me and you.  I won’t get my flight on July 16th, will I?

TLC Marketing:  This is something to negotiate with the booking agent

Neil:  C’mon, Menuel.  I understand that I will negotiate with the booking agent on July 22nd.  But it will not be about my flight on July 16.  That is literally IMPOSSIBLE except in Hollywood movies.  Do you understand?

TLC Marketing:  The booking agent…

Neil:  Forget the booking agent.  Just me and you.  Do YOU see it as possibility that I might still get my flight for July 16 on July 22?

TLC Marketing:  I am not a booking agent  That is who you will negotiate…

Neil:  Can I speak to a booking agent then?

TLC Marketing:  The booking agent will call you on July 22nd.

Neil:  So, let me say this one more time, so the recording can hear this.  You, Menuel, a hired and paid employee of TLC Marketing, and a representative of the company, is telling me that no one can tell me whether or not I will be getting my July 16th flight to San Francisco until July 22nd, when I will receive a phone call from a booking agent where I can then negotiate, and still possibly get my flight to San Francisco on July 16, even though it happened to leave six days earlier?


Dial O for Old School


I sit on my couch, Friday afternoon, on hold with the Department of Water and Power. I’ve already been holding on the phone for ten minutes. Every thirty seconds, the same message repeats — they are “very busy” and a “customer service representative” will “be right with me” and that they “thank me” for “being so patient.”

I am patient, but I’m tired of waiting. My foot taps, impatiently. I have to leave… five minutes ago. I have an appointment downtown. I just want to talk to customer service about my bill. I want to get this payment issue over with before the weekend is here.

I wait ten more minutes. The repeating message is driving me crazy. “Very busy…thank you… patient..”

That’s enough. I need to go. I can’t sit here all day on hold waiting for someone to answer the phone.

I hang up, head out the front door, and enter my car, still holding onto the cell phone that I used to call up the Department of Water and Power.

Then I realize — couldn’t have I left twenty minutes ago WITH the phone in hand? Or any time after that?  Why did I hang up before I left the house?  And why was I sitting there on the couch connected by an invisible phone cord?

That’s something my father would have done. How Old School is that?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Jane Austen and the Pussycats

The Blog is Mightier Than the Sword


Two weeks ago, I wrote about a Korean-run bagel shop that I’m boycotting because of bad service.  The only problem — really good bagels.   Today, as I’m driving past the store on Wilshire, I have a thought:

"What if… just what if… the owner read my blog.  Surely, he would know that I was writing about his store in my post.   I’m sure he wants to apologize, maybe even give me three bagels for the price of two.  Come to think of it, according to my stats, I did see someone reading my blog last night from Comcast – Los Angeles.  Maybe he searched on Google for "Unhappy Customer Korean Bagel Shop" and found me.  He was probably up all night feeling bad."

To make a long story short, I went inside the store and he made me wait while he finished making some sandwiches.  No mention of my hard-hitting blog post.  No free bagels or anything!

Yes, it is the year of the Blog.  Chalk one up for blogging and narcissism.

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