It started three weeks ago with an e-mail. A computer security company had this message delivered to my e-mail address:
Thank you for renewing your subscription. The following email is a summary of your order.
There was a small problem- I had not ordered any program from them. I called my brother, Scott, who HAD installed a different system on my laptop at Christmas to see if perhaps it was something he added. Scott told me it was a scam so I forgot about it...... until it showed up on my bill five days ago. I contacted Michael Fonville who has graciously purchased two laptops on my behalf and installed their security systems. He told me that I might have had it on my previous laptop, it wasn't on this one, and suggested I contact them to cancel it and hopefully get a refund. Easier said than done.
I called on Friday morning to an 800 number on their website. Immediately, I was connected to a lady who stayed with me until the end. To say I am an unarmed man in a gunfight when it comes to tech issues is the understatement of the century. But the woman, who was extremely nice, was patient with me and walked me through the process. Now this may not be a shock to you but to get this billing, WHICH WAS PERPETUAL, turned off, I had to log into their stuff and she carefully helped me with each step. She apologized constantly that it was taking so long. Once she had guided me through to get to the place where my order was canceled, she began on the matter of the refund which included another employee. While they were doing that, she ran a diagnostic scan on my laptop on my screen. It was like she invaded my laptop! She was circling things on her end and I could see them on my end. She pointed out some threats from the scan and asked if I would like her to take care of them. OF COURSE! She was explaining something called an optimizer and how helpful they are to ward off viruses. Would I like one? YOU BET! And then she puts the options for billing on my screen; one year at $149 or five at $349? HOLD ON! I THOUGHT THIS WAS FREE! Oh no, she explained. I told her I didn't want it, that I would let Scott make decisions like that for me. She informed me she had five years training and my brother did not. Well, I stood my ground and she backed off and in a minute, it was over. She told me the refund had been approved but would take 5-7 days of the billing cycle to be reflected. She was semi-curt as we ended our chat but not unkind. Sixty minutes had elapsed from dialing to hang up.
There were several things at play here. One is that the workers painting my apartment bathroom/kitchen/doors/baseboards came in the middle of the conversation which did not help my focus factor. But other parts of this vignette are typical of our lives. I had a problem I didn't know about because I was careless. I am pretty sure I've paid for that the past several years because I don't pay attention to my bills- I just write the check and mail it! And I almost ended up with a much higher bill than the one I called to get rid of initially! After all was said and done, the company sent me yet another e-mail with these words:
YOU ARE NO LONGER PROTECTED!
That wasn't true- I'm just not protected by them. But the biggest takeaway I had was that this nice lady wanted me to trust her and not Scott when it came to what was best for my computer. Look- I am not begrudging her right to earn a commission and she did get my refund/dislodge the billing mechanism, but I am nothing to her. On the other hand, I have known Scott since the day he was born and I trust him. I know he will always have my best interest at heart even when I don't comprehend what is going on with my laptop. It's like that hymn we sing. Fill in the blank for me:
" 'Tis so sweet to trust in ____________."
What would you write in there? Company A? Betty? (Not her real name!) The government? We know the answer- Jesus. And here's the great thing about my debt of sin when the bill came due. He paid it. And no service operator was needed to intervene.
Applicable quote of the day:
To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.
E-mail me at email@example.com
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org