Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lane Bryant loses a customer.

For those of you who don’t know, Lane Bryant is a clothing retailer for ladies of the Rubenesque sort… Zaftig per say… curvy ladies. I fall into that category; and I happen to love to shop there on the most part. It’s one of the few places I can find that carries bras that are of proper size to contain my rather generous heaps of womanhood.

Recently, I got a Lane Bryant credit card. It had a minimal balance, which is good because it was easy to pay off in one fell swoop at the end of the month if need be. We were good about it, hubby had it in the bill-paying rounds, paid it off in full every time I accrued charges, and it was never an issue…



Apparently, we made a payment over the phone once, and in part, were charged $5.00 for an over-the-phone fee. That’s okay… Fine. The automated system asked us if we were aware of this charge, we agreed to pay it with the billed amount, and we pressed the requisite buttons (or so we thought) and larked along on our way, happy in our delusion that we’d paid off our bill in whole and there was zero balance to worry about.

Some time goes by and we get a bill in the mail and a nastygram threat to close the account. We look at it, and there’s $5.00 on the account. I call LB, pay it immediately over the phone. Frankly, at that time, we had no idea what the $5.00 was. We thought it was some sort of finance charge or something. I just paid it, no biggie; going through the same process of paying the additional $5.00 for an over the phone fee; making the total $10.00 (or so I thought).

The next month… ANOTHER BILL WITH $5.00!!! OMG!!! I’m miffed, but I’m not quite furious yet… I was going to call LB today to find out what the heck this recurring $5.00 is about. In my mind, I’d paid those extra fees so what was this extraneous $5.00 charge doing there each month?

Just before I am about to call, I get a call from my credit union loan department (we’re looking into getting a small loan)… and she wants to go over something on my credit report. “There’s a late fee… for a charge with Lane Bryant.” At that moment, I feel like those veins on my temples are about to burst, and I’m about to do a crimson lawn-sprinkler all over my desk. We are trying SO hard to keep our credit clean and improve it, and to hear this, well, cranial-explosion was nigh.

So I call Lane Bryant ‘Customer Service’. I put customer service in quotes because I really think it should be ‘I hate My Job and I’m Tired Of Listening To People Bitch At Me Day In And Day Out; So You Can Hear the Attitude In My Voice Even Before The Barely Navigable, Time-Wasting Automated Answering System Eventually Sends You To My Line, And I Am Only Going To Infuriate You Further By Not Listening A Thing You Say, And Instead, Talk Over You, Interrupt You, And Then Do Nothing But State Policy And Then Segue You To The Payment Process So I Can Get You Off The God-Damned Phone And Never Hear From Your Sorry Ass Again Service (While Loudly Typing With My One-Inch Painted Solars)’.

I find out what the fee is, and to put it... mildly, I was annoyed. In all honesty, it feels like extortion. We’re paying phone-payment fees on phone-payment fees. But what really lit my rockets and sent me careening into Lividsville was Miss I-Couldn’t-Give-A-Bigger-Sh*t About Your Tarnished Credit; who delighted in pointing out in her grating, mannish voice, that we as customers, were given an opportunity to add the charge into our payment (??? Uh.. wha…?) and that it’s MY fault the charge wasn’t applied. Can you believe the brass barbells that one’s got? Apparently, when automated Sally is asking you to confirm that you are indeed aware of an additional $5 pay-by-phone charge; it’s not really adding it onto the payment you are making, as implied, but instead, just tacking it onto your balance without your knowing. You’re thinking; “Ahh… bill paid...” as you hang up the phone... They’re thinking: “NOT! Psych!… Ahahahahahhahaha.”

And that about sums up the experience with LB Customer Service. I paid the final five dollars (my preferred payment method of taping $5 to the toe of my right shoe so the snotty CS repo could take payment when break my foot off in her ass wasn’t really feasible, so I used my debit card instead) with the assurance that they weren't going to add a pay-by-phone charge again without telling me. I was so disgusted by the whole thing, and how cold and uncaring is that my credit was unnecessarily damaged by their crappy payment system, that I wrote them the nastiest letter I’ve ever written to date (and I’m a practiced complaint-letter-writer, trust me), and have decided that I will no longer shop at that store. Their people and policies show that they have not even the slightest respect for long-standing, really good customers. I can’t believe my credit took a hit for Five Freakin’ Dollars. And LB Customer Service isn’t in the slightest bit interested in hearing why customers might have a problem with their non-intuitive, ridiculous phone-payment system. Unbelievable.

As a result, I chopped up the card and activated my Avenue card instead. They have cute bras in my size too, and they’re less expensive anyway. Adios LB. And Bite Me.

(Can you believe this is the same person who draws pictures of chipmunks and cutsie things, and who dreams in Regency....? It's like Jekyll and Hyde. You don't need potions to turn me into Monstro-Steph tho... just really crappy Customer Service, treating children or animals badly, or invoking my road rage''ll do it.)


elfkin said...

somehow you manage to make even the most frustrating, heinous experience "funny". You have such a way with words :)

Samantha said...

When stuff like that happens, which it frequently does, my husband asks to speak to the manager, and reports the situation, and somehow manages to finagle something out of them by threatening to close his account. He has a customer service speech he usually batters them over the head with. And he's totally calm about it. It hurts to listen.
But I would probably have done what you did, errrr.


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