Finding a human at a corporation that repels all boarders

Few things in modern life are more frustrating than navigating a punch-a-button telephone maze (these things are called “phone trees,” BTW) when you have a problem that needs the attention of a human being. By the time you reach an actual person, you’re peeved as all get-out. No matter how polite you try to force yourself to be, the poor wretch on the other end of the line hears your annoyance in the tone of your voice and responds in kind. It turns doing business with major corporations into a predictable exercise in rage.

And if you’re already enraged…well. The late great fight with Qworst was hugely complicated by the difficulty of getting in touch with anyone who knew what to do and who had the authority to do it. I finally found a snail-mail address for the home office at The Consumerist. After the dust settled, I posted a list of ways to reach a human being at a company that doesn’t want to speak with us troglogytes.

Here’s a site that does me one better, though: FIFTY ways to hack your way through to a live person! Check it out. Also check out the comments; one commenter is a former customer disservice rep who has some enlightening things to say about a few of these hacks.

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Steph March 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

Hi, my name is Steph, I work for Qwest, I am sorry you’ve been going through this frustration. Did you already resolve your issue, or can I assist you with something? If you would like my help please email me at and put “Steph” in the subject line, and any/all pertinent details in the email, and I will start working on this for you. thank you


funnyaboutmoney1 March 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Hello, Steph–

I did resolve the issue, by canceling my service with your employer and, by dint of complaining to the Corporation Commission and to the company’s senior management about the deceptive sales trick that trapped me into all sorts of conditions I had not agreed to and did not want, also managing to get rid of the cell phone contract. These events happened months ago, beginning last August and extending, horribly, through November. Qwest executives knew I not only was complaining to Arizona regulators and the Better Business Bureau but also was blogging at length about the situation. Qwest needs to find a way to get an actual human being — preferably one who resides in North America, speaks English, and does not try to cheat people — to speak with its customers.

It used to be miserable to have to deal with the monopoly that once was AT&T. But newer communications companies outdo their ancestor, with gusto! It’s very sad when corporations do not understand and do not care that prompt, courteous, and honest dealings with their customer base are the underpinnings of long-term competitiveness.

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