Monday, March 9, 2009

Skype Customer Support

What a pain in the butt.

Skype refused both my personal and business debit card numbers, and of course, I use skype all the time for business calls because the cell phone reception in my neighborhood isn't good. My debit card used to work just fine with them, none of the information changed, and they just decided one day to stop accepting payment from it.

Instead of explaining why they refused both debit cards, they said it could be one of several things, including mistyping (I checked multiple times) and other nonsense. Contacting customer support the first time yielded "check with your bank". My bank had no record of the transaction attempt, much less denying a transaction.

I reported back to Skype customer support, and of course, I was assigned to someone new. Strike 2. She followed up with "try another payment method." I wrote back that this smacked of them trying to get me to divulge my bank account number or switch to paypal. No reply, just "try another payment method" again. Strike 3.

So I switched payment methods to paypal today after deciding I'm done feeling pissy about it. Worked fine, even though my paypal account is attached to exactly the same personal debit card.

I'm willing to bet money that paypal simply has a better deal with VISA because of the bulk transactions, so they want to route it through that and save some money. However, the method by which they have inspired the new payment method was complete bullshit. Give me some kind of incentive to switch, a temporary discount or a small credit, some portion of whatever it is they're saving on the back-end by my switching. That is how good business is done.

I am not a lawyer, but I wouldn't be surprised if that kind of nonsense is actionable. It reflects poorly on VISA and my bank as being the purveyors of a widely-accepted payment method. If not, and it is legitimately a failed transaction, then where is the evidence? Give me the damn reason so that I can do something about it.

This is a really poor way to do business, but I have to admit, it was a good refresher for me on how not to deal with people. I run a mailing list of over 500 people, and I am consistently tempted to do things by the numbers, because the work in hand-holding each request and issue can be overwhelming. But that right there is why doing support by the numbers sucks ass.

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