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.