It occurs to me that February is the month in which I started this blog last year. I know. Who cares? It's also the month in which I started working for my current employer 3 years ago. I know. Who cares? It's also the month is which I started my epic war against the-vendor-who-shall-not-be named. I know. Who cares? I do. This isn't the Serious Injury Inflicted blog for nothing. Things have been a little too rosy around here lately, what with new nephews and awesome velociraptors and all. That's about to change.
It all started 2 years ago with a simple request to The Vendor. Let me esplain... no, no, there is too much... let me sum up. We do not have the option of not doing business with this vendor. Otherwise, believe me, this vendor would have gotten the boot long, long ago. Anyhoo, The Vendor was sending some of our invoices to the wrong store. Since all of the accounting is done at my location, I politely requested that they change the mailing address.
"Absolutely!" they responded with glee. "Anything for our valued customer! We will change it immediately... although you might not see the change until next month."
"No problem!" I responded with equal enthusiasm. "Thanks for being a great vendor!"
That was in February 2007. In March, the invoices were again sent to the wrong address. "I'll wait another month," I reasoned, in a reasonable sort of way. "They might not have made the change in time. Surely, they will change it. I'm sure they don't want me calling every month saying I didn't get the invoices because then they have to reprint them and fax them to me. It's just more work for them." Confident that The Vendor would want to reduce their workload and mine, I waited patiently.
In April, the invoices are sent to the wrong address again. I called to request that the missing invoice be faxed to me and gently inquired about getting the address changed. After some investigation into the matter, they determined that the problem was entirely their fault. For some reason that no one could explain, the mailing address was corrected in the system, but was still printing incorrectly on the actual invoice. The Vendor promised to have their tech guys look into it and gave me a help ticket number in case I didn't hear back in a couple of days.
I waited patiently through May and June. Convinced that the problem had not been corrected (since I still wasn't receiving invoices), I finally called and referenced the ticket number I'd been given.
"Hmmmm... well, I see that ticket was closed in April," said the kindly customer service rep.
"Closed? So they fixed the problem? Because, I hate to tell you, nothing has changed."
"Well, no. It's just closed. I don't see any notes on what was done or what the resolution was. But they are not working on it any more. Actually, it looks like it was closed the day after you called."
"Well, there's still a problem. The same problem, in fact. Can you open another help ticket?"
"I'd be happy to. I apologize for the inconvenience. It might take another month to fix, though. Here's you ticket number..."
July and August rolled in, but the invoices did not. I called again for an update. They asked me to wait another month. In October, I called again. They asked me to wait another month. I told them I'd been waiting since February. They were shocked that it would take so long to fix such a simple problem.
Tell me about it.
"I'll tell you what... I'm going to forward this to a team manager. Her name is Vicky and she has a whole team devoted to resolving these kinds of issues. Her direct line is..."
I thanked him profusely and waited another month (or two) before contacting Vicky. She confidently told me that she had reviewed my ticket and it was scheduled to be resolved within 2 weeks. "We're just running behind on our projects. Please be patient."
In February (a whole year after my original complaint), I talked to Vicky again. She was vague and distracted. "Your ticket... uhhh... yes... I see it here. Hmmm... I don't know what the status is." I reminded her that she said it would be completed within 2 weeks from my last call. "I said that? Well, okay. We'll fix it this week."
Next month, I talked to Vicky, she pretended not to know me but she referred me to her supervisor, Jennifer. Jennifer was sympathetic and business-like. "I'm sorry this has been going on for so long," she said sincerely. "I'm the project manager for this whole department and I am allocating resources for your project right now. You won't have any more problems."
"When should I call back?"
"Three weeks. By the end of March it will be done for sure. You can call me directly if there's still a problem after that... here's my direct line..."
At the end of April, I called to report a lack of progress. She told me there'd been some reorganization of the teams and my project had fallen through the cracks. She assured me it would be completely immediately. I should call back at the end of the week.
(For those of you, like my husband, who have fallen asleep by this point, I want to remind you that all I want them to do is correct my mailing address...)
I called back for an update and she didn't answer my call, nor did she return my message. I called again a few days later. No response. I called and left a message each week for the next 5 weeks. Always the same polite message, "Just wondering if you have a status update for me." Maybe Jennifer is dead or has been fired, I thought. Maybe I should try to find out. I called the customer service desk and asked to speak to the supervisor. I was transferred to Jennifer's voice mail. I called the customer service desk back and told them that I was trying to reach Jennifer, but hadn't been able to speak with her for FIVE WEEKS. Was she okay?
"I think so. I just saw her this morning."
"So, she still works there? She's still the project manager? Do you see her now? Can you hand her the phone?"
"Ha ha! Unfortunately, no. I can transfer you to her voicemail, though."
I called Jennifer 12 times in total over the course of about 3 months. She never returned my call. I finally gave up.
Not long after I gave up, I received a notice from The Vendor. "Be advised that we will no longer be sending invoices to our customers. All invoices are available on our website at..."
You dogs. How many companies require their customers to print their own invoices? And Jennifer? You suck. You totally knew this was where your company was headed. You knew if you could put me off long enough, my problem would be a non-issue for you. Professional courtesy would dictate that you return at least one call just to let me know that I wasn't being ignored. But, I was being ignored. So bravo, for not sending me mixed messages. I guess.
But wait! There's more!
I go to the website to print my own invoices, and it doesn't work. The invoices are all garbled and incoherent and completely unusable. I called customer service to see if I was doing something wrong.
"No. There are some formatting issues we are still ironing out. We know about the problem. Hopefully it will be fixed soon."
"Well, how am I supposed to get my invoices? You guys have abdicated your responsibility of printing them and sending them to me (not that you were very good at that) but now you tell me I have to print my own, but don't even provide a method to do that. What am I supposed to do?"
"Well, what you have to do until the formatting gets resolved is pull them up one by one, then copy them into Word and then you can print them one by one."
"You're kidding, right? That's hours worth of work each month."
"Uhhh... yeah? YEAH? Is that all you have to say for yourself? YEAH?!?!"
"It's just until we get the formatting straightened out. Probably in the next couple of weeks it will be resolved."
"This is unacceptable. Who can I complain to?"
"You can talk to Jennifer... she's our project manager..."
Yup. The same phone-call-ignoring Jennifer from last time. That was many moons ago. Guess what I should be doing right now instead of blogging? That's right. Pulling up my invoices and printing them ONE BY ONE.
Yeah, don't think that wound doesn't get opened every single month when I spend hours and hours doing work that The Vendor should be doing for me. Serious, serious injury inflicted.