…..and my last word until further notice.
I received en email from “David Gow, client services” at paybyphone.com. He provided the phone number and the hours of operation of the authpority in Ft Lauderdale that handles problems with parking citations. Also, among his remarks in response:
I’m glad that you brought this to our attention because there should not be a feature that prompts users in Fort Lauderdale to text in parking information. There are certain locations around North America, Washington DC for example, that allows pay by phone users to text their parking extensions. This is a feature that is not available in the City of Fort Lauderdale and that is why the system sent back the message stating that the format was incorrect. My apologies for this confusion, we will be passing this information along to our developers so that they can look into removing this feature to avoid further confusion.
We are also looking into changing the wording on our text messages from Verrus to PaybyPhone. Our company was recently re-branded to PaybyPhone.com from Verrus.com. Verrus.com was acquired by PaybyPhone.com approximately one year ago.
If you visit the website paybyphone.com you will notice that under ‘paybyphone’ it says ‘a verrus brand’. You will also notice that if you visit Verrus.com and click on ‘Verrus for Consumers’ it will re-direct you to paybyphone.com.
He also provided a number for customer service, and his own email address. A decent response to which I responded with thanks and a few suggestions:
I looked in vain for some information about the company providing the service — not even its name is promulgated, let alone an informational web site. Why, when an account is established, don’t you send a text message or email that directs new customers to a site where we can read about the service, familiarize ourselves with options, review our accounts, etc.? How would I know about these services unless I ran into the kind of disaster that happened — when I saw for the first time there’s something called “Verrus.com”? Which turns out not to be the name!
Yesterday, visiting the website, I entered my cell number and PIN and was denied access. I assume I no longer have an account — if so, why would you not send me an email telling me this directly? It’s nothing short of schadenfreude to send me off on another journey of frustration, when next I pull up to a meter and attempt to use your system.
I also provided the website for this blog and directed him to yesterday’s and today’s posts, as well as the comments so he could see how well his service is being received by the true elite (like Diesel Fitter) in south Florida when they’re not locked up and medicated.
I doubt I’ll hear anything more — after all, I’m no longer a customer.
Is it cocktail hour yet?
Sooooooooooooo bright and surly today I call the number of the person at bark-by-fone to get the ball rolling. She checks the records and confirms that the parking had been paid for, and the ticket should never have been written. She gives me the number of the agency in Ft. Lauderdale to call, and says they can check on their own and confirm.
What if they can’t or don’t? Then what? Do you send me a record of my payment so I can forward it to them in an appeal?
She assures me this won’t be necessary, so I launch into the That’s what your little moron cockbite told me yesterday about getting a ticket, and EXACTLY what I was worried about yesterday, and EXACTLY what he said wouldn’t happen fucking exactly happened.
She corporately apologized.
Then I told her how ridiculously difficult it was to deal with her company, and by the way, I didn’t even find out the name of the fly-by-night outfit was Verrus until I got a bunch of text messages that didn’t respond to what I was asking.
“We’re not Verrus anymore,” she said. “We’re PaybyPhone.com.” (I go to the website later, and read that it’s “Pay by Phone / A Verrus Brand. See for yourself.)
I ask her why I got a text message from Verrus, why it told me first I was about to run out of time and then when I tried adding time it told me the location wasn’t eligible, and then I would no longer receive SMS reminders but if I wanted to reactivate that service I could go to — you guessed it — verrus.com
She’d never heard of this happening to anybody.
I asked her why, when an account is activated, new account holders weren’t directed to a website to read about how the process works, what features are activated, how to access records of payments, and in sum, Why doesn’t this shitcan outfit conduct itself like a 21st century technology-based service organization. And why isn’t the bleeding name of the company posted at least on parking meters?
She said she’d look into it.
I also casually and calmly informed her that 4 times in 3 conversations I’d been cut off in mid-sentence. I mentioned that after it happened again — talking to her.
She said she’s send an email to IT. Honest to Christ that’s what she said.
I told her I wanted an explanation and an apology emailed to me, and she said she would. I also told her I maintain a blog that gets about 500 hits a day, mostly from south Florida, and that I intended to trash her company unless I was satisfied.
She asked me the name of the blog. I was about to say, Stuck On the Palmetto (inside joke), but told her instead I would send her the URL when she sent me the email containing her contact info. She agreed.
I’m still waiting. So while I’m waiting, I’m trashing. I wait, therefore I trash.
Actually, she was helpful and kept her cool. I suspect she was honestly bewildered by what happened. I could have told her that 9 times out of 10, if there’s gonna be a weird problem with a website or a product, my history is such that it’s gonna happen to me. This shit follows me like a fart cloud. I’m not surprised this didn’t work. I’m the one who almost lost an eye from having Lasik surgery, This is why I don’t own a chain saw.
Anyway, I call the Ft Lauderdale agency and pour out my tale of woe. He checks the records and tells me that the ticket was issued in error, and unless there’s a further problem which he’d call me about, consider the matter closed. So at least THAT worked.
Finally — I just visited the Verrus website and tried to log in. It no longer recognizes me. I suspect my account has been closed. I wasn’t informed, of course, which means I wouldn’t find out until I was sitting in my car trying to pay and losing my mind all over again.
Thanks to all of you who posted yesterday with constructive comments, jeers, and stories of your own. Upshot: ALWAYS CARRY QUARTERS.
PS Happy Cinqo de Mayo! If there’s no post tomorrow, you’ll know why.