(Posted Wednesday 9-29-99) I really don't think that SMARTALK Teleservices can talk? I had a problem with three different phone cards (on Monday 9-27-99) so at 11.00am I called up their 1-800 number (1-800-811-4763) for customer service. A recording informed me that the call may be recorded or monitored for quality assurance. Shortly after a lady came on the line by an odd name that began with the letter "M." I briefly explained to her that I personally found it rude and an invasion of my privacy to be monitored or wiretapped and if she wouldn't mind could she take down my phone number and have someone call me back on an untapped line. She said that someone would call back. No one ever did!
Twenty four hours later at 11.00a.m Tuesday morning, I called again and left the same information with another operator named Sandy. 'Someone would call back,' she informed me. Again, no one called.
Forty eight hours after my first call and now talking with a third operator, Shicare, (that is how I would imagine one would spell an unusual name like that,) I asked if someone could call me back. I briefly explained the situation and my disapproval at being wiretapped and monitored. "Oh, you're not being taped or monitored," she told me. I still didn't trust that information and with that she took down my phone number and said that someone would call me. I then asked her the address of their company so that I could file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, because to me they obviously had 'a selected preference with which customers they would talk to.' It was obvious that if a customers wish was not to be listened to by their monitoring devices then they wouldn't get a call back if one was requested. Hence this was a no win situation for the customer.
Keeping me on hold for a good five minutes she returned by giving me an address for a P.O box in Victoria, Texas. I stopped her after the words P.O and said that as far as I knew the BBB wanted an actual street address when a complaint was filed. So she put me on hold again for another five minutes. Upon returning she informed me that she could only give out that address. She asked me again if I could give her more information about my card. When I told her that I didn't appreciate their third party listening issues she said, "well we have no control over which lines are being listened to." "You told me earlier that this line was clear?" So I politely asked her to get someone to call me back. "Oh we are UNABLE to call you back," she replied. "And what is the reason for that?" I asked. "If we knew the reason why, then we'd call you back?" I told her that I had given two reasons to each operator every time that I had called. Firstly, I didn't appreciate their recording and third party listening techniques, I feel that it is an invasion of my privacy and secondly I explained that it was a phone card issue. "Well we can't call you back," she replied. "So you mean to tell me that you are a telecommunications company and that there is not one phone in the whole of your building that can be used to call a customer back?" "We are unable to call you back, unless we have a reason." "And who told you this," I asked. "Oh, I don't remember now," she said. "Well could you please go back in the other room where you were five minutes ago and find the face that told you this so that I can have a name." So she left once again and returned with the name, Janie! I thanked her and got off the phone.
So I have waited two days, have asked three separate operators to have someone call me back and not once was I told that their supervisors or even operators were unable to call me back until I probed into this further. This is unacceptable? What kind of a company is this? So basically there's no way to sort out any problem that you have, unless you are listened to by a third party or you're being taped. You may be lucky to catch one of the lines that is unmonitored but again, you'll never know. This needs to be looked into, there is something very wrong with SMARTALK'S approach to customer service.
Thanks for your reading, Johnny Anderson.