Recently, I’ve been in an unfortunate position where I’ve had to deal with businesses where I’ve needed to get in contact with them in order to resolve legitimate issues. In a perfect world, this doesn’t happen, but as we all know, this world sure as shit ain’t close to perfect.
In the past, I’ve often times felt fairly confident that if I can get a live human being on the phone, I can typically make it to a satisfactory solution. Given the circumstances of my latest scenarios, I felt good about my chances at being able to get resolution, provided I could get someone on the phone.
The problem is, that in both instances, both companies have made it impossible to get human beings on the phone that are remotely capable of providing any sort of resolution. And I’ll go ahead and name them, I’m talking about RunDisney and IKEA here, as prime examples of businesses that operate in what I’m calling phone ghosting, or the act of making it impossible for customers to even have the opportunities to resolve their issues over the phone.
So let’s start with RunDisney; as anyone who’s ever done a Disney run in their lives knows, registering for RunDisney events are expensive, frantic, chaotic, and tend to happen in the blink of an eye. Every run they produce inevitably sells out, and they always need to be registered for, months in advance.
Mythical wife and I both registered for the Dine & Dash Wine & Dine Two-Course Challenge; back in March, because we go to the Food & Wine Festival every year anyway, and we’re both runners, and we’ve both developed this taste for collecting Disney run medals. But I reiterate the March part, because the run itself doesn’t take place until November.
Naturally, a lot of things can change over eight months, like getting married and knocking up my new wife and having a baby on the way; and we both are astutely aware of RunDisney’s pretty iron-clad rules and regulations when it comes to no-refunds/no-transfer of run registrations. But even those have some flexibility in them, especially when it comes to medical things, like being pregnant and being not medically cleared to run 13.9 miles over two days in Florida.
And in the past, in a time when RunDisney didn’t hide from phones, I’d actually gotten them to bend their own rules and managed to allow for a transferal, despite their staunch rules against them. So I knew it was possible, if I could just get someone with some authority on the phone.
But the thing is, despite the fact that RunDisney advertises a phone number for support, nobody at that number has any authority to make any sorts of decisions or rulings, and all representatives are trained to send people to an online form to explain their issues. To where, unsurprisingly, shielded by the anonymity of email and the internet, it’s easier to tell people NO, that is after 48-72 hours of waiting for them to actually get back to you, because the internet is a breeding ground for people to become less-human and de-humanize people with legitimate situations and tell them to fuck off and pocket their money.
Long story short, I’m having to eat some substantial costs, because RunDisney is operated by a bunch of spineless fucks who phone ghost. This is where I’d like to say that I’d like to be forever done with them, but I know that that’s not true. I still like going to Disney, participating in their events, and I still want to collect medals. But it’s definitely going to make me really cautious about dealing with them, and I most certainly need to not go knocking up my wife again the next time we decide to plan on a future RunDisney event.
So then we have IKEA, who fucked up on a delivery, because they practice another shitty business practice, outsourcing their deliveries to third-party couriers. Ultimately, mythical wife ordered some cabinetry, that was supposed to come in 22 packages. We received 18.
Attempting to contact IKEA after the fact was a similar deal, in which IKEA advertises a phone number for customer support, but in like 90% of the decision tree ends up in an automated message saying their lines are too busy and they can’t take your call, before hanging up; probably because their customer support is so shitty, it just makes people madder and madder, and they clog up worse and worse, from people tenaciously calling back over and over again.
I got a screener with zero authority on the phone at one point, and explained my situation and that I wanted to speak to someone, but don’t want to get hung up on again. As nice as they were, as they have no authority, they were able to provide nothing but some words of encouragement and them filling out the email form for me, and now we’re waiting the requisite 48-72 hours for someone to get back to us, to likely challenge the fact that the shippers claimed 100% delivery on the manifest, when we’re telling them they didn’t, which means it’s going to be yet another fucking fight on our hands.
The point is, I think it’s one of the most insufferable and despicable business practices to phone ghost, and I’m extremely disappointed and infuriated with these two particular companies for practicing in it. I understand that the impetus to doing it is ultimately loss prevention, because once people actually communicate on the phone, that pesky shit like “humanity” tends to kick in, and lots of companies probably lose money on that inconvenient concept of “making the customer happy.”
Sure, there are probably a million bad apples who have abused it and made fraudulent claims, which has made big businesses clam up and phone ghost, but in my particular cases, mythical wife and I are trying to play it straight, but getting penalized by the systems all the same. We didn’t want refunds from RunDisney, just some solution that either deferred our registration for 2020, or failing that, then a refund. Because of a medical exception. And from IKEA, we just want the furniture that we paid for, nothing more.
But because of both of these companies engaging in phone ghosting, not only are our resolutions in greater jeopardy, we’re also going to have to wait absurd amounts of time for spineless fuckfaces of the business world to take their time to try and drag it out and hope we’ll go away, which we won’t, and will just become more irate and hostile the longer it goes.
Chalk this up as another thing that’s this way, because of the world we live in, and it just leaves me feeling this helpless fuck-all feeling that hates all business, and makes me want to support nobody, but that wouldn’t be reasonable, because then I’d starve to death, because every business out there does despicable shit. 🙁