I have been known to have my issues with customer service representatives of big corporations. Just earlier this week, I was on the phone with my dental insurance provider. I had called to question the company’s refusal to cover part of the expenses from my last visit to the dentist. Before I could even talk to someone, I had to give the digits of my account number to a voice recognition software system that was — let’s say — way over par (sub par, after all, is a good thing). I said the numbers slowly, loudly, even tried to enter the digits by my phone’s key pad. Nothing worked for about 4 minutes. The wait wasn’t worth it. I heard a boilerplate explanation from someone with a distinctly foreign accent (I say South Asian) that let me know I was still out the money I had paid.
Today I had another adventure with a large corporation that manages part of the Hart retirement funds. I was trying simply to change the email address on my account because we closed out one of our internet service provider’s this fall and the investment company’s e-statements are no longer being delivered. After talking to three different customer service representatives — count ’em THREE! — I found out that my problems are far worse than a dead email address. It turns out that one of my accounts is jointly owned by the missus and that means that when I filled out change-of-address forms 18 months ago, that change did not include the account with my wife. In order to change the address on that account, she needs to sign the form and we need to have a notary vouch for our signatures. Bottom line — changing my email address on the account, either on-line or by phone, cannot happen until we change the address on this co-owned account.
When I asked the third representative I talked to why the company used such tight security on my accounts — especially refusing me access to the accounts that are solely in my name (with my wife as beneficiary), the woman, who was nice enough to put up with an exasperation I inherited from Ellen Marie Hart, told me the investment company was only following SEC regulations.
SEC REGULATIONS ON CHANGE OF ADDRESS FORMS!!???
I could not help laughing. After I apologized, I explained that earlier in the day I had seen a matinee of The Big Short, an account of the 2008 financial meltdown — very, very good, mind you — that showed how little scrutiny that the SEC and other regulators were giving to the banks who were giving away mortgages. But now, I’m — mmmmeeeeEEEE — supposed to comply with the SEC before changing the email address on my account information?
Why don’t I feel any safer (or calmer)?