Garry had to go to his audio-hearing check up today. I didn’t think they’d even let me in because I’ve been sick and even though I don’t think I’m contagious — or ever was — no one will take a risk. Garry usually needs me to remember the things he forgets. Okay, we both need a “rememberer.” But since he was going without me?

I gave him a working pen and a notebook and asked him to write everything down. Which was pretty much the way he collected information while he was a working reporter. Ironic isn’t it? Without me, I think he learned more about his hearing aids and how they work than he learned in all the years he has had them. Having to actually listen and take notes was was something he knows how to do. It’s how he wrote all the news pieces. Some things, you never forget.

He took our iPhone with him. Having recently turned off the VOIP internet phone, I didn’t have any phone. Garry couldn’t call me. I couldn’t call him. It was weird. I realized that’s why I’d kept that useless “other line.” Because sometimes, you need two phones.

I thought I maybe I should buy a phone. I did the research. Far and away the best offers are from Mint Mobile. Both the price of new phones and monthly hit are well below the prices of “the big networks.” It all runs on T-Mobile towers, so it isn’t a “mini” network, either. I found a really great Samsung Galaxy phone with a discounted full year of unlimited text, voice and minimal data (4 Gb) for a full year, including payment in full for the phone. So, for $447.24 which was meant less than $11/month for the service — plus paying for the phone in full ($299), it was an amazing deal. Another iPhone would have been nice, but the prices are out of my range. This, I could manage. Barely.

I typed in the order and it bounced. The second time it bounced I realized that my bank was locking it out because I don’t place many high end orders, so they probably assumed it was fraud. I went online and sure enough: they’d blocked me. AND restricted my bank card.

Swell. I told them to let it go and they did — and then they charged me for three phones and three years service. It’s Bank of America who have long since stopped offering contact numbers for customers. If you have a problem? Good luck with that. They’ve grown a bit big for their britches.

So now I was on the hook for about $1500. I couldn’t get in touch with the bank. They are a contact-free bank. So I called Mint Mobile who answered the phone in person. Try not to to faint in shock, but there was no long wait and the lady who answered the phone was reasonably coherent in her ability to speak English, understood the problem, connected me with customer service who cancelled everything until me and the bank worked out our differences.

That was when my mortgage company called to remind me to pay them.

I have never NOT paid them. In 20 years, I have paid them reliably and automatically every single month. They want me to pay them using their online service and I want to keep paying them through my bank because I don’t need payments for all the different places to whom I send money separately. I want ONE location where all the information is organized. Call me crazy, but who needs payments from 25 different locations? In that path lies madness. They were determined to talk to Garry because I as the other signatory on the mortgage, apparently do not have the authority to answer a simple “when is the check coming” question. Really? By then I had a headache, a stomach ache and I wished I’d never started trying to accomplish anything.

The worst part? To get this process going again, I was going to have to deal with my over-zealous bank. They were going to block me. Again.

It was all too much for me. I just let Owen take care of the whole thing because I couldn’t face another day of customer service help — not even the good kind. I’ve had enough.

I understand that the energetic enthusiasm of banks to protect our accounts is well-intentioned, but there’s got to be a better way. As it stands now, every purchase larger than $100 gets blocked until I assure them it’s not fraud. I gave up. I threw in the towel.

I’ve done all the research, so if you are looking for a really good deal on a high quality Samsung phone with amazingly good monthly rates? Mint Mobile is the way to go. Their prices are SO good that Owen was sure I was lying, but I’m not. And really, live people answer their phones. Real live people! Polite, friendly people.

I’ll be damned!

Categories: Anecdote, Communications, Customer Service, hacking, online shopping, Shopping, Technology, Telephone

Tags: , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. You won my heart and seriously. “I want ONE location….” 🥀 you put ironies together in a way that made me read to the end. And I hope this sorts! Hugs♥️


  2. You can probably change the amount over which they block the transaction.
    I get a text for any charge over $500, but I could change that to $100 or $1000. As long as I reply to the text message and confirm, the transaction goes through.

    I’ve had good customer support from Chase. Remarkably, I even had a good customer service experience with Verizon. I was pleasantly surprised.

    Mint Mobile does sound interesting. If my grandmother knew what I spent on phone service each month, she’s be spinning in her grave! It is crazy.


    • I did change the amount, but that’s closing the barn door after the horse has galloped over the horizon. The problem is it’s leaving the alert amount very much higher than I want it. There has to be a better way.


  3. I was trying to book some accommodation today. I’m planning a trip to Hobart. Unfortunately, after I’d found something I could afford and started the booking process AirBnB would not confirm my booking because “your phone number is already in use”. They have blocked me for 24 hours for trying to log in too many times. By the time I get back on the deal will probably be gone as it is a long weekend the weekend I want to go. Sometimes security just makes things worse.


    • I know they mean well, but it really IS awful. And worse, trying to explain it to the people at mint to JUST CANCEL EVERYTHING because it’s a mess and I need to start over — AND because Garry actually requires an iPhone to work with his upcoming (end of March, beginning of April) new hearing apparatus, I would have needed to change the phone from a Samsung to an iPhone anyway. It’s the only one that works with hearing aids. Even the simplest, least expensive iPhone is more than I can come up with out of current operating funds. I could barely manage the Samsung.

      Between dealing with the bank and trying to cancel (another) order (they are dribbling in one order at a time (sigh)) — and trying to talk to a guy who had a very heavy Spanish accent — and this is complicated to explain to anyone much less someone with limited English … I was ready to bang my head into a wall until my brain stopped working.

      There’s GOT to be a better way. Some banks are more aggressive about “security” than others. BOA is one of the most aggressive, possibly because they have become the biggest bank in the country. They weren’t when we started with them. They also closed our local branch, so finding a human to talk to is nigh unto impossible.

      I THINK I got it straightened out, but I’m not sure. I guess I’ll find out, hopefully before I need to pay the mortgage for the month.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you got through to these people. Otherwise 1 X 3 orders would’ve been too much.


    • The orders are dribbling in one at a time. I cancelled what I thought were ALL of them yesterday but another one popped up today. I needed to explain to someone who had native English to just cancel ANYTHING with my name on it. What a MESS.

      I get that they are trying to protect us from hackers and scams, but there’s got to be a better, less intrusive way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes there should be a way for customers to contact the bank personally and tell the people there the issue


        • I finally got them to give me an actual customer service number! Imagine that! There IS a customer service number, but it’s a secret.

          Liked by 1 person

          • How weird for a bank to operate that way.


            • They have become so business oriented they have forgotten the rest of their customers. Unfortunately, that happens. A lot of banks are now coming back the other way because it turns out, regular people actually earn money for them in many ways that businesses don’t. Chase has come back a LONG way. I hope they work it out. I would change banks, but it’s such a pain to have to do all that organizing so if I don’t have to move, I won’t. Unfortunately, this isn’t my first run-in with them. I really hope it’s the last.

              Liked by 1 person

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