#255–Dealing with the big guys . . .

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I’m still dealing with the ramifications of being scammed.

Since all my bank accounts––personal checking, business checking, and savings––were frozen, they reopened days later with new account numbers. Well, that means the six automatic deductions and three automatic deposits would need to be notified. Everything would automatically move to my new account—at least for awhile. But I needed to call and let each know what is happening.

The biggest of the big guys.

I would be dealing with the big guys. Nothing is bigger than the Social Security Administration. But some of the companies I would be calling are not small—Lockheed Martin Corporation and Wells Fargo Bank. Those are the automatic deposits. Then there are the medical deductions. Mutual of Omaha is my Medicare supplemental insurance provider and SilverScript handles my Medicare Part D prescription insurance.  Then the special insurances: Ameriprise—long term care, Aflac—cancer, Physician’s Mutual––dental, and Ameritas—vision.

I love calling up a business and talking to a real person, and within minutes, talking to the person who actually helps. One of the joys of living in a small town.

Well, forget all that when dealing with the big guys. First, is the voice mail that can go on and on before handing you off to a representative. That’s what you want. But first you’ll get to be “on hold” with music and a voice that interrupts with either a we’re sorry message, advertising, or suggesting you go online. None of this is news to anyone who has had to call a large company. But normally, you only have to deal with one company and you plan for it. You do it in the morning when you have the most patience and your stress level hasn’t been raised yet. And you have something to do or read when put on hold. I had that times nine!

So I started last Friday morning after I did my grocery shopping between 7 and 8 a.m. That’s my Friday morning ritual during the Coronavirus pandemic because there are few shoppers, lots of parking spaces, and no lines at checkout at that time. I got home and sanitized all my groceries except the produce which I washed. I was advised to do that last March, and I’ve done it ever since. So it was about 10 a.m. when I got started with my phone calls. I continued after lunch and then most of the day on Monday.

Ameriprise is one that needs a form filled out.

The first three––Mutual of Omaha, Physician’t Mutual, and Ameritas––went surprisingly fast. Voice mail, hold of 10 minutes or less, and a representative that could handle it all by him- or herself. I thought that maybe I’ll be done by lunch time. Ha!

SilverScript was next. First try, during the handoff to hold, the call was dropped. Second try, I made it to hold, but it was all gobblety-gook like chickens squabbling over their feed. Third try, the handoff to hold went well. But I had to wait 45 minutes before getting a representative. Fortunately, he was able to handle it all by himself.

Ameriprise went well with wait of about 10 minutes. The representative, however, was not able to handle the change. He would be sending me a form by mail to fill out. It arrived within a couple of days, and I filled it out. But I have to put a voided check with it from my new account—just like starting a new automatic deduction. The new checks are on order and haven’t arrived yet. So this one is pending.

My favorite insurance company took the most time to change the account number.

Aflac is my favorite insurance company. When I or my late husband had cancer (twice for him and once for me), money came through within a few days upon answering only a few questions over the phone and sending only a couple of signed pieces of paperwork from the doctor. I think I was able to do it in one day. I anticipated the same quick response to this request, but, alas, it was not to be.

I started on Friday afternoon by being told that the wait time would be 1 hour and 5 minutes or have them call me when they were free or me tell them a good time to call me back on Monday. So I picked the third option and typed in 11 and was told that that was not an actual time. So I typed in 10 and received the same message. When I typed in “10 o’clock” and received the same message, I also was told that I only got three tries and was put on hold with music playing. So I hung up and went online. After finally setting up username and password, I got into a loop situation and quit in frustration. By then, it was 5 p.m. Time to quit.

Monday morning, I called Aflac early in hopes that the wait would be less than 1 hour and 5 minutes. I made it through voice mail and was told that the wait time would be 50 minutes. So I had my project in front of me and waited. By the time I got a representative 45 minutes later, I could say all the recorded messages by heart that were interspersed every minute or so with music. Fortunately, this representative could do it all by himself.

Still waiting for the required form to arrive in mail.

By now, I was ready for anything. Lockheed was next. It went well. Very short wait on hold and the representative had an answer for me immediately. He said he would send a form for me to fill out, and it would need a voided check from the new account. It has been five days and no form. I just knew there would be a glitch; the call had been too easy. So this one is pending.

With Social Security, I made it to hold relatively quickly. Then after about 15 minutes on hold, I got a busy signal, then a pause, more busy signal, pause. I hung up and went online. It took forever to go through the sign-up ritual. When I was done, I got a message that they were unable to help me now and to return later. But I didn’t leave, I went to section after section until I found the right section to change the damn direct deposit account number. When I was finally done, I couldn’t believe it.

The most hoops to jump through regarding the required form.

With Wells Fargo, I would be dealing with the brokerage division. I didn’t have to wait very long on hold. The representative told me that In order to change the account number of the direct deposit that they send each month, I would need to fill out a form. So he sent a form to my email. I filled out what I could and then ran it off. I will need to take it to the bank and have the bank manager, no less, as well as an associate manager sign the form and witness me signing the form. And it will need the voided check from the new account. So this one is also pending.

After the better part of two days of phone calling and some online work, I have six done and three pending with forms to return. Hopefully, Lockheed will send their form and the new checks will arrive soon, so I can get these three taken care of.

AARRGGHH! The fun continues!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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