Paging Customer Service

Discussions about customer service, good and bad. Usually bad.

Medical Billing Technology Strikes Out

Wow, three strikes for medical billing technology over the course of just a few days.

First we have the insurance network that communicates the wrong contractual information about a provider, resulting in incorrect instructions sent to me.

Second there's the doctor who bills insurance from two years ago instead of using the card her office took pains to copy at my office visit.

And third, there's the billing system that made a cash copayment paid at time of service simply vanish (yes of course I kept the receipt!).

A Question of Sportsmanship

Today's musings are directed toward the Brown University Athletic Department and the Meehan Auditorium event staff. In recent years they have shown themselves to be hostile to team spirit exhibited by fans cheering for the visiting team. One year--and I was there to see this happen--they refused admittance to Cornell's Big Red Band, which routinely accompanies the men's ice hockey team to away games. All but five band members were forced to leave their instruments on the bus. Brown has gotten a little better since that time (they allow bands to bring instruments now), but...

Wall of Shame: Verizon Communications and Verizon Wireless

Last complaint, hopefully for a little while. Verizon Wireless (VZW) stealthily switched my BlackBerry to a ridiculous 5 megabyte/month data plan, which I didn't know about until they called to let me know I'd racked up an $1900 bill. VZW profusely apologized and promised to correct the billing. They also promised me there would be no further problems with my account on account of their mistake.

The Newest Threat to Aviation Security

I had a TSA Checkpoint ExperienceTM at ACY (Atlantic City, New Jersey) last Monday. I made the mistake of wearing cargo pants through the checkpoint, not realizing that this article of clothing is a sure sign of a terrorist. I made it through the magnetometer just fine, but I was stopped upon passing through it by an over-zealous TSA agent. In my heart, I just know that the agent would rather have sent me packing, or made me run my pants through the X-Ray machine; and that he was disappointed that he had to settle for a pat-down.

Privacy concerns and registration for the LA Times

Greetings LA Times,

I received your email asking me to sign up at your new website today so that I could continue receiving emailed headlines. I was a little surprised to see that you've set up single sign-on through Twitter and Facebook, and more surprised to see that you offered explanation neither on *why* Twitter asked me to make sure I trust you, nor what you would be doing with the broad access to my Facebook data that Facebook provides. (Yes, I read your privacy policy, and it doesn't seem to address the new signons.)

Shame on you, Disney

Today's customer service commentary comes to you courtesy of Disney, owners of the ABC television network. Disney and Cablevision (metropolitan New York cable TV provider) have been unable to come to an agreement over Cablevision's retransmission of WABC programming. At midnight this morning, Disney pulled the plug, leaving 3 million households without one of the country's major TV networks. The timing was clearly intended to tick people off, as it took place the day of the Academy Awards. This is Mickey Mouse politics at its best, figuratively and literally.

Thanks for the WiFi, Google!

Dear Google,

While traveling through Boston Logan airport, I had the pleasure of using internet service that you sponsored. Free internet in the airport--what a concept! Thanks, I appreciate you thinking of the holiday travelers!


Yahoo! and Spammers

[I usually reserve "Paging Customer Service" posts for poor customer service, but sometimes somebody exceeds my expectations and merits mention. This one is a happy post!]

Spam is one of the scourges of email as we currently know it. I use a spam filter, SpamAssassin, which prevents 1500-2000 spams per day from entering my mail system. However, sometimes things sneak by and end up in one of my mailboxes. This happens to me just a few times each week, and I could ignore it easily enough when I see it happen.

Blu-Ray Only content?!

One of the moments I've feared has happened. The director's cut of a movie I'd like to purchase, Terminator: Salvation, is going to be made available on Blu-Ray only. I can't imagine that there's any content that requires Blue-Ray to enjoy, therefore I am attributing this decision to darker ulterior motives at Warner Brothers.

Rescheduling of the Terriers Championship Banner Ceremony

Subject: Rescheduling of the 2009 Men's Ice Hockey Champion Banner Ceremony
Sender: Patrick Madden
Recipient: ,
Copy: ,
Date: 16.09.2009 14:41

Dear Directors Parker and Lynch:

I just learned that BU Hockey has moved its banner raising ceremony from October 20, the first home game and traditional event for banner raisings, to October 10, a holiday weekend and exhibition game. While the article at explains the rationale behind this date change, the announcement comes at a late time and has not given Terriers fans enough notice for them to plan to be at the Agganis, rather than elsewhere, over a holiday weekend. I am one of the people adversely affected by this change.

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