August 11, 2009
Asurion (CNA Insurance)P.O. Box 413866Kansas City, MO 64141-3886
Dearest Asurion Insurance Company and Your Equally Aggravating Conspirator, AT&T:
I've had the unique pleasure of spending the last several days on what seemed like a series of no less than two-hundred and fifty-thousand grueling phone conversations with your ace customer service team regarding my defective Blackberry 8700c. The experience was akin to the most excruciating torture imaginable. In hindsight, I'd prefer the luxury of water-boarding, splintery bamboo shoots being shoved up under my fingernails or high-voltage electrodes attached to my reproductive organs by overzealous, mega-caffeinated CIA goons vying for promotion. Quite frankly, what I had to endure, dispensed by the script-sticking zombies at both of your fine and upstanding firms would make the most hardened member of The Third Reich cry out for his Mama.
On the bright side, I sure do know the drill, backwards, forwards and sideways now. "Thank you for calling the new AT&T about your wireless service." Then comes something in Spanish like, "Donde esta el shampoo? Estas Susan en la casa? Primero numero dos." Then, of course you get a menu, to which you can respond by pressing the numbers 1 through 4 on the phone keypad, and then finally…you get a real live android on the other end of the line. They ask you…again…for your Cell number, address, last four of your social, name, rank and serial number. But, before your grunts in the trenches could even utter the repetitive question log…after passing me around your system like a drunken crack *** dwarf at a gang-bang *** shoot…I would clearly, confidently and calmly, restate said data, much to their surprise. They thought I had ESP. That was fun. I was helpful. This, by the way was after three (count "˜em…three) trips to the AT&T store. The only heroes in this nightmare by the way were two Indian expats Jiwan and Nav at the AT&T bodega at Varick and Houston in NYC. They were the only people that went way out of their way to try and get to the bottom of my problem and actually help me. For the record, I wasn't even a customer of theirs. They were just being nice guys. And, I walked away with a fabulous chicken vindaloo recipe. All was not lost.
Back to the issue at hand: I have a defective Blackberry 8700c. Not defective as in I dropped it in the toilet while tripping my face off at the Phish concert in Central Park. Not defective from me flinging it out of my window on Exit 11 of the New Jersey Turnpike, doing 80 in a 55…and having it run over by a Smart Car with 18" rims. Not defective in that my chubby pal Louie tried to salt, pepper and eat the *** thing…just defective, all by itself. Oh yes…and only one month after the warranty expired. Ain't that a kick in the head?
Thus far, all a relative cakewalk as I'm sure you'll agree. It is at this particular juncture of my story that the real tyranny begins. AT&T refers me to the insurance department. I naively believe this is actually a division of AT&T. That's just ignorance though. I slap myself on the back of the head, Italian-style for being such a stunod. Turns out…things are far worse…it's Asurion, a division of CNA Insurance. (cue the silent movie villain piano music now)
AT&T tells me that all I have to do is call, make a quick claim and voila…they'll send me a new replacement phone right away. Simple right? I mean…what could possibly go wrong? I was so relieved. Did I mention that my livelihood is high-pressure sales in the financial sector? Without my Blackberry…my sole connection to the universe, I'm little more than roadkill on the superhighway of life. A shell of a man. A mere shadow in the midst. Um, in other words…totally screwed.
So, I called Asurion. It was a real treat to speak to the folks that I've been paying $4.99 a month to. Made it seem a little less like my hard-earned cash was being sucked into some useless black hole in another dimension. The kind gent on the other end of the line said the same thing. His speech, pretty much verbatim is like this, "Sure. We'll be happy to send a replacement phone to you, Sir. You may want to grab a pen and jot these items down. All I'll need is a notarized sworn affidavit and proof loss, a copy of your most recent AT&T wireless bill, a copy of your current driver's license, a valid proof of purchase, a photocopy of your sales receipt (the documents start flying by the sides of my head in various colors like at the end of "˜2001 A Space Odyssey' when Dave Bowman is zooming through time and space in the Astro-Pod) the electronic register receipt, the purchase receipt listing the ESN or IMEI and make model, the packing slip…Are you getting all this, Sir? And or a photocopy of the numeric barcode from the side of the box which the phone came in." "Is that it?" I ask. "Oh…and a skin graft from the underside of your left testicle. That will do it, Sir."
At this point it's Tuesday which means I have to beg my wife to dig through her files to find the myriad holy grail of documents that Asurion demands, then find a Notary. (and a licensed Physician as the last time I tried the skin graft procedure on myself for the NJDMV, I made a real mess of things. Here's a tip from your friend Tony…a sharp, clean blade helps tremendously. Not my finest hour. Let's just leave it at that.)It will take 2-4 days for Asurion to get my dossier of documents…process them and ship me a replacement phone. That's a week I'm stuck with my defective Blackberry…Or worse still, if it checks out completely, which it keeps threatening…no phone at all!
To make a long story short (Entirely too late for that, I realize) you bastards are holding me captive and I don't like it! This letter is going to the Better Business Bureau, The NY State Attorney General, to RIM, the manufacturer of Blackberry and to everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter. Heck, I'm all for sticking it to The Man…as long as The Man is not frigging me!
Kindly resolve this now and reexamine your procedures and methods. Ugh. You have wasted my most precious resource…time. Hours that I'll never be able to retrieve. They flew out the window of my 12th floor office and at this pace quite frankly, I'm ready to join them. I'm sure you behemoth conglomerates could care less about my plight. You might want to keep in mind though that there is safety in numbers and with the technology at hand, mountains can be moved.
Harsh letter to follow.
Tony AAn Extremely Unsatisfied Customer
Product or Service Mentioned: Asurion Cell Phone Insurance.