A while back I started getting instant message spam on my cell phone, and had them block it. (I have an email account. The ability for random strangers to send me spam and have it cost me 10 cents an instance is very much an unwanted feature.) Unfortunately, it also means I no longer get the little "it's time to pay your bill" messages they used to send, either. Spending most of a month on the road means I forgot to pay my bill again, and of _course_ it cut out the morning I'm flying back to Austin, intending to phone Fade so she could pick me up from the airport.
On the layover in Houston, I spent 20 minutes fighting with my phone trying to pay the bill. It goes into an "we're intercepting this call to get money from you now, and this phone will be useless for anything else until that's taken care of". Entirely understandable, if annoying. What wasn't understandable is that it told me how much I needed to pay right at the start of the call, but never mentioned this figure again. After it transferred me to the actual payment system, it didn't seem to _know_ how much, and I hadn't written it down. Keep in mind that I had to fight off its attempts to be "helpful" to get to the actual payment part (After I press the "pay by credit card" option I do NOT want you to suggest that I use the bank account details I once used to do a check-by-phone thing THREE YEARS AGO, and I'm kind of annoyed that you have that stored and would like you to delete it. Congratulations for autodetecting that this credit card is actually a debit card, but automatically redirecting me to the ATM menu was annoying because I don't know the pin for using this card as an ATM, since it's not the same as my actual ATM card. There's a reason fighting my way to an actual payment amount entry took 20 minutes. And of course I couldn't speak to a human during any of this, nor did I have time to start over when I found it it wouldn't even _suggest_ a payment amount, because the plane would leave before then). So I guessed, and as it turns out I guessed $5 low. It didn't tell me this, it happily processed the transaction and told me it could take up to four hours to reactivate my phone.
Of course, on arrival in Austin and after collecting my luggage, the phone was still dead. Luckily my plane got in early (Southwest is good at that sort of thing) and I was able to catch the last bus to UT and walk home from there. (The suitcase was a bit heavy for that, but oh well.)
So today I wander down to the sprint store and find a human being to talk to, in hopes of giving them the last $5 and asking them to fix their darn payment system. The human says she has no authority and I need to call customer service. Not unexpected. Of course _how_ you call customer service when the phone is dead is an interesting question, but they have a machine there that takes cash. I fight with this machine. It wants a password for my account, apparently in case somebody wanted to pay my bill without authorization. "same as the website" (But I don't _use_ your website), which means it's still at the default, the last four digits of my Identity Theft number. Of course. So I fight with that, and it brings up a payment screen...
And that screen doesn't tell me how much the balance is either. Running total of how much money I've put in, sure. How much I _need_ to put in, no. It's apparently some kind of _policy_ not to show you how much you need to pay while paying. I fed it $140, which should be way more than it wanted and probably more than it wants for next month too. This is, obviously, what it wanted.
That was over two hours ago, and the phone is still refusing to actually place any calls.
Is Verizon this clueless? I'm actually pondering getting a land line in Pittsburgh. Something VOIP based...