Here's the Scoop: March 4, 2009

Worth the wait
As we all know, things don’t always go according to plan. Because of this, I often don’t bother with making a plan. It saves on disappointment.

Despite sometimes lacking a blueprint for how I want things to work out, I still think it’s reasonable to have certain “expectations.” For instance, about a month ago I become a tad upset when a certain satellite radio company lifted funds from my charge account without saying “please.” Or “May I?” Or anything else. Noticing this transaction, I called the company and asked, umm, why did they think it was OK to hoist some bucks out of my account?

No one really had an answer for this. But someone would get back to me, that much I could count on. Oddly enough, this didn’t happen.

In fact, I soon received a paper bill for a figure that was different than the amount of funds that had been lifted from my account. A few days later came another bill for a new amount. Then, another withdrawal from my charge account — this one a unique dollar figure as well.

I like to think I have a good sense of humor. I didn’t in this case. While I enjoy listening to commercial-free satellite radio, I’m not all that fond of a corporation implementing its own company bailout — from my account — without a vote from Congress. Or me.

The music died
After a few more phone calls to discuss this activity, I eventually cancelled my account. I didn’t really want to take this action, but I was left without a choice. Each time I spoke to a company representative, I felt that I was not getting straight answers. On purpose. I would hang up the phone and wonder if these customer disservice representatives were simply working a second job to supplement their day job as Somali Pirates.

Because I had zero interest in this company having my credit card information on file for one more second, I requested that the refund of the stolen money be made to me via a check. This exchange got a bit tense, but the company finally agreed to a refund check.

So, I waited. In silence, since I no longer had the benefits of satellite radio. Didn’t they know I was a shareholder in the company? And that I made my stock purchases at a rate much, much higher than the shares’ current value? I was beginning to understand why the stock had tanked.

Still waiting
And then, I waited some more. And I called back. Again and again. The worst part of this was not the lack of a check. No, my real problem was that each customer disservice rep who I spoke to gave me a different story. “Check was issued.” “It’s in the mail.” “Are you sure you don’t want to restart your account.” “Our notes indicate you were a potty-mouth last time you called.”

Well, after nine phone calls to resolve a problem, I think I could be excused for letting my temper slip a bit. On call number 10, I received more bad news. This company does not issue checks and I probably received a credit on my charge card a month ago. I was pretty sure this had not occurred, but I looked at my records and no credit had been issued.

The following day, I picked up the mail and there was the check that the company does not send out. I was too sick of the whole ordeal to be thrilled. But it was nice to have the $220 back. For awhile.

Unfortunately, the check’s arrival coincided with a trip out of town. Along with the other mail, the check made its way into the car’s back seat. From there, somehow, it apparently snuggled next to the garbage from a quick takeout lunch on the road. When the trash was disposed of in a municipal can, so was the check.

I’m still working on getting a replacement for the check — but it’s tough to replace something that never existed, so the satellite radio staff tells me.
— Brian Sweeney