Friday, May 14, 2010

Two Extremes of Customer Service

This morning I noticed three unauthorized charges had gone through our home banking account within the last twenty-four hours via our debit card, totaling just under $50. The payments were made to Skype, the internet telephone service.

Now I knew I had signed up for Skype, but I signed up for the free service, not the paid service, and I never would have given them our debit card number even if I had agreed to pay them anything. In addition, we’ve never even used Skype. The program languishes on our upstairs computer.

But when you visit Skype’s website, they make it impossible for you to cancel your account (especially when you haven’t paid), and they give you no opportunity to contact them directly. The company seems to be based out of Luxembourg, and they provide no phone number for customer service or for billing errors.

A quick Google of “Skype billing fraud” turns up over 70,000 sites, and the top of the list is Skype’s own forum, where users have been complaining about what I’m experiencing for at least five years. Skype’s official reply is, “This ain’t our fault. Talk to your bank.”

So I went to our bank, which is Montgomery Bank, and dealt with Flery Langholz, Client Services Manager. She not only cancelled my debit card immediately, she also was smart enough to realize what I had missed – the charges were coming through on my wife’s debit card, not on mine. So Flery quickly reinstated my card and cancelled my wife’s, all done efficiently and genially, and though this took all morning, it simply points out the difference between good customer service and rotten customer no-service.

So if you’re on Skype, watch what you’re being charged. Even though this was probably fraud perpetrated by a third party, there seems to be a flaw in Skype’s security that they have for years been refusing to address. In addition, Skype has no system for interaction or support, and that tells you all you need to know about the kind of people they are and what they think of their customers.

And if you need a good bank, check out Montgomery Bank. They’ve been very helpful and friendly since we started using them, and this kind of customer service and attention tells you all you need to know about the kind of people they are and what they think of their customers.

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