"Important information about my account" and I can't get it

A bit of background: I have (had?) 67 shares of stock in MetLife. I worked there and had a retirement account there when they went public, so I got shares.

The wife and I are planning a trip to the beach in a few weeks, and I figured I’d sell those shares to finance the trip. So I log on to the appropriate investor Web site, provide my password and other sundry info, and put in the request to sell the shares.

Because I’m a careful person regarding money, a couple of days later I call the investment company that handles MetLife stock transactions. The helpful attendant checks her records, assures me the transaction has gone through, and I should be receiving a check in a few days. I’m happy.

Until last Thursday. That’s when I get home from work to find a message on my answering machine. Somebody named Jacquelyn wants to talk with me about my account. Minor warning bells begin to sound in my mind; perhaps there’s some problem. She leaves a number where she can be reached. Since it’s now 6:30 p.m., I figure there’s no point in trying to reach her at night; I’ll just call her tomorrow.

So I do. And I get her voice-mail. No problem; I leave a detailed message, giving her my name and the reason for my call and asking her to contact me at my office.

I don’t hear anything the rest of the day Friday. A little odd, but perhaps she’s taking a long weekend for the Memorial Day holiday. I call her back just before leaving work Friday afternoon, and get her voice-mail again. No sense leaving another message; she’s got the info already, from my earlier voice-mail.

I check my office voice-mail from home over the weekend, just in case she left me a message there. Nope.

So now it’s Tuesday, and I call her number again. Still going directly into voice-mail. I leave another message. This is becoming more worrisome to me; our beach trip is in three weeks, and if there’s a problem processing the transaction I want to know now, so I can make alternate arrangements to pay for the trip. I wait four hours, then call again. Voice-mail. I zero out, as the system instructs me to do, trying to get someone else who can help me. I get Irritated Guy.

Me: “Yes, this is Sauron, trying to reach Jacquelyn, who had called me regarding my account.”

Irritated Guy: “I can’t help you, and you shouldn’t be calling me.”

Me: “I didn’t call you. The system rolled me to you when I hit zero.”

IG: “It shouldn’t do that. I’m in a completely different building.”

Me: “Umm … okay. Who can I talk with regarding my account?”

IG: “You need to speak with Jacquelyn.”

Me: “But I’ve left several messages for her on her voice-mail, and I’ve received no callback.”

IG: “That’s not my department. Jacquelyn will help you.”

Me: “But she ISN’T helping me. She isn’t returning my calls. Is there someone else I can speak with?”

IG: “I don’t know. I don’t handle that.”

Me: “Okay. Can you transfer me back to someone in customer service?”

IG: “Not from this line, no.”

Me: “Wait a minute. The system transferred me to you from customer service; surely you can transfer me back to customer service.”

IG: “No, I can’t. Sorry.”

So, Jacquelyn has potentially important information about my account. I can’t reach her. I can’t zero out to speak to someone else, because when I do I get Irritated Guy, who apparently was just recently brought in from the company’s Siberian division and can’t work the phone system.

Perhaps Jacquelyn was just calling to let me know a check was being mailed. Perhaps she was calling to let me know that I actually had Enron stock, as opposed to MetLife stock, and that my beach trip will consist of buying a handful of sand at the local landscaping store and putting it in my backyard, where I can pretend to lay in the sun. Perhaps she called to let me know that one of my stock certificates contained one of the five Golden Tickets, and that my grandpa and I would be given a tour of the Wonka Factory.

Perhaps Mellon Investment Services should hire folks who will get off their butts and
[li]perform customer service[/li][li]learn to work the phones[/li][li]say “Hi” to Opal for me[/li][/ul]

All this will likely result in jack-squat; I’ll get home today and a check will be in my mailbox. Until then, I’m gonna be quite nervous about the money. I can put the beach trip on a credit card, but I don’t want to do that. The longer this drags on, though, the less likely it is that I’ll receive that check in time to finance the trip.

While Irritated Guy’s attitude could have been better, if it had been me, you would be in just as much trouble. I also work for a rather large private company - if you got rolled over to my phone, I wouldn’t know anyone in Customer Service, I wouldn’t know a quick way to find anyone in Customer Service (most of our directories are listed by alpha), and I wouldn’t know how to transfer the call outside of my building. I never needed to learn the ins and outs of the phone system, so I never did.

Yeah, but as a customer I have the right to assume if the voice-mail system gives me a zero-out option, it should zero out to someone who can actually help me. Or at least go to the company operator.

I also gave Irritated Guy the last name of Jacquelyn, so if he had an alphabetical directory he could’ve looked her up and found the official name of her department.

Moreover, I don’t believe that Irritated Guy couldn’t transfer the call to a switchboard operator or at least back into the voicemail hell. What kind of “line” in a major corporation can be answered but not forwarded? I’d make a WAG that it’s the line answered by an irritated bozo who just didn’t want to do something that he didn’t think was his job, even if it meant that a customer was given zero satisfaction in the bargain.


Have fun at the beach. Don’t let Jacquelyn the Beach drag you down.

It’s like clockwork – I go on and on in a whining tone about something, and my rant proves unnecessary.

Sure enough, the check was in the mailbox yesterday evening. I dunno what Jacquelyn was calling me about, but obviously it wasn’t a problem with payment.

I’m torn between calling her until I get an answer and just letting the whole thing go. I guess it’ll depend on how bored I am at work over the next couple of days.

“Jacquelyn the Beach” – heh heh.

Sauron I kinda went through the same bs with a financial institution on another matter, with the same results with a Jacguelyn type. When she finally called me back about two weeks later, it was to try to sell me another fargin’ credit card!!

If you are really worried or anything (which it sounds like you aren’t, now that you have the check), you could try calling the main switchboard (or some central number) and ask to be transferred to the customer service department.

It sounds like Irritated Guy was also a bit of an ass.


Well, well, well. Jacquelyn just called me back and left me a voice-mail.

Vote for me, folks: Do I call her back or just blow it off? I care not. It’s your call.

Blow it off unless she leaves you some specific information about what her call was regarding.

Otherwise, fuck it.

We played phone tag like this with an insurance adjuster working for The Other Driver’s Company. She’d leave a message. I’d call back, and leave a message on her voicemail telling her the hours I would be available at our phone. She’d leave a message (not during the hours I gave her). I’d call back, leaving a message asking her to call during the hours I’d be available, or leave me a message telling me when I could call her. 'Round, and round, and round . . . The claim never was settled.

About a year later, I got a letter from some state office notifying me that the company had gone tits-up. BIG SURPRISE.