Friday, July 13, 2007

Change of address

My last couple of attempts to pump gas using my BP credit card had failed so I contacted BP the other day to find out what had been going on. It turns out I hadn't been paying my bills because they have been sending my bill to the wrong address.

I have been a BP customer for 15 years or more now and for some inexplicable reason, sometime after my April bill they decided to change my address and, by a strange coincidence, it happened to be the same incorrect address one would find if you did a search on Google for my phone number. It's the same number on a similar sounding street name in the wrong municipality and zip code but still incorrect.

So, I called today to investigate how this had happened and confirm whether or not BP verifies street addresses on the Internet.

I told the first person my story and she didn't know. She also revealed that the phone number I had given didn't match what was in my record. It had somehow reverted to a number that I had 7 years ago. Since I had called yesterday and had confirmed my account based on the phone number, sometime between yesterday and today my phone number had been changed. I asked to speak to a supervisor. I told him my story and he didn't know, asking if I wanted to speak to a supervisor.

"I had asked to speak to a supervisor. You aren't one?"

The third person was sympathetic to my story but didn't have any idea how my address had been changed.

"You see, that's the wrong answer. The correct answer is 'I'm going to find out.'"

She passed me off to a fourth person who said that address changes come from either the account holder (me) or the Post Office.

"So you're blaming the Post Office?"

She denied that she had said that.

"You just told me that these changes come from either me or the Post Office. I know that I didn't change the address therefore it must be the Post Office that is responsible. It's a simple process of elimination."

She still wouldn't say that it was the Post Office and eventually I was "accidentally" disconnected.

I called back. Got a fifth person and asked to be transfered to the fourth person. That apparently wasn't possible and I got a sixth person. I got to tell my story again and she was more willing to blame the Post Office. She said there was a flag on the account saying that the change of address had come from the Post Office.

"The previous two Account Supervisors I spoke with did not see that flag on my account and yet it magically appears between that call and this one. I'm am seriously questioning your data entry procedures. And so, if this entry appears in my account, what is the date stamp on it? When did this change occur and who authorized it."

She became counter-belligerent with me and continued to blame some sort of automated system with the Post Office.

So, I called the US Postal Service. They could find no record of a change of address request for me. Back to BP.

I spoke to a seventh person who transferred me to an eighth person (by now, I had spend and hour and a half telling the same story over and over). She tried to blame the Post Office but I told her that I had spoken to the Post Office and there was no change of address request.

"If this change happened then there must be some record or documentation of exactly when it happened and who initiated it. If not, then you are a multi-billion dollar international corporation who has no control over it's data and, in fact, appears to be verifying that data on the big, stinking pile of lies that is the Internet. If you can't manage or control your data, then I'm not comfortable with you having my data. It is a formula for fraud and theft."

She initiated an investigation and told me I will be receiving a letter in ten days.

In either case, I'm not going to be a BP customer anymore. My only consideration there is whether I just cancel the account or send them an extensive letter and my card cut up into tiny pieces.

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