Why is it easier to set up a direct debit than to cancel it?
I RECENTLY disconnected my home internet service.
Which is a bit of a wally of a thing to do when you work from home and have a brain that wakes you up in the middle of the night because it can't remember what song Lloyd Dobler was playing on his boom box (In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel for those playing at home).
But I had some truly appalling customer service when I rang to complain about not having had a connection for three weeks, so in true grown-up fashion I chucked a wobbler and packed it in.
Actually, I've seen some pretty average customer service in a few different areas recently.
Mr "Oh well, if our internet isn't working for you that's not my problem and you can just cancel your account if you like" was just the tip of the iceberg.
Because two weeks after I cancelled my account, I received a bill for this month's service.
Here's the thing - if I cancel my account, I would prefer it if you didn't keep billing me. I would actually prefer it if you did your job properly the first time.
So another phone call was in order. I was told that one of the steps hadn't been followed by the person I spoke with previously.
I was then told that it shouldn't be a problem to remove my internet connection permanently, but they would have to speak with someone from the provisioning department.
Wait. What? It shouldn't be a problem to remove my service? I should hope not! What if it was a problem? Would I then be liable forever more?
And therein lies my biggest bugbear of our modern era - direct debit. I freaking hate it.
It's like the cool kid at school who you really want to hang with but then when you finally do she makes you shoplift a chapstick and when you get sprung denies all knowledge of the event.
When you sign up for anything, the carrot gets dangled - "we can just direct debit that from your account". Sounds so convenient, you think.
Until you cancel your service and are still paying for it. Have you noticed how much easier it is to set up a direct debit than it is to cancel it? How it can be established seemingly within a matter of hours but takes 30 days notice to cancel?
Being billed for a cancelled internet service is not an isolated event.
We had a personal loan once, which I thought we had finished paying off but the direct debits kept coming out.
It wasn't until we had paid back about $1500 more than we'd needed to that the bank contacted us to let us know.
I was still paying car insurance for nine months after I thought I had cancelled it. And switching off a phone service didn't switch off the direct debit attached to it.
Interestingly, my internet service provider usually sends a survey every time you call, but I didn't receive one from the very rude man who was absolutely no help whatsoever.
So here's your survey result - just because my kids are running feral in the background of my phone call to you, that doesn't make me a moron so please don't treat me like one.
I might have lost my ability to leave the house in clean clothes, but I haven't totally lost my marbles.
And if you are going to give a cranky woman an ultimatum, she might just call your bluff.