“On Us” – or, How Not to Customer Service, Part 2

A major cellular company is running ads featuring SNL star Kate McKinnon announcing that in celebration of establishing their 5G service, they’re giving everyone a new phone, “on us.”

The fine print at the bottom of the ad is so fine you can’t possibly read it, unless you freeze the screen and get a magnifying glass.

But hey, we all know that with the exception of rescuing a chipmunk and helping a lady stranded in a jeep that won’t move, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or a free phone, in this case.

So I wasn’t surprised when the phone store guy immediately agreed that although he hadn’t seen the ad, they aren’t in the business of giving away free stuff. There’s always a cost. But I hated the phone I had chosen hastily when my previous phone died. I wanted a new one. I expected to have to pay something.

$280.60 later (pay off old phone I hate) I became the proud owner of a really nice, sleek, 5G phone. The “on us” part allegedly took the form of a $200 “discount” on the new phone.



When one obtains a new phone, one must find a way to transfer all the contacts, files, messages, photos, downloads, etc. held captive on the old phone. There’s an app for that. Then you have to re-download all t he apps that for one reason or another won’t transfer that way.

Three hours later, after accomplishing said transfer on both my new phone and the new phone for Angelic Daughter, who kept asking for a new phone although she didn’t need one (close to an upgrade, though, only $46 and change to get her new “on us” phone), I got several messages confirming all my transactions and plans, including, I think, one showing me what my next bill would be.

And that’s when the real fun began!

I pay my phone bill through my cellular provider’s app.

Opened the app and logged in.

Or not.

I was absolutely positive I had entered the correct password.


OK, tap “reset password”

Wait for the push notification with a reset link.

Didn’t come.

Asked for an email instead.

Didn’t come.

Back to the Assistant.

Um, no, I can’t. That’s why I’m asking for help resetting my password. Let’s try again to get this bot to understand the help I need.

Oh, to hell with it. I know my password. Maybe I just typed it wrong. Try again.

Given my recent experience with my ISP, I wasn’t hopeful that I could penetrate this cellular company’s technical defenses and get connected to a human being. But, what the heck, worth a shot, right?

Note the onset of my gradual descent into madness. “Pasdwot” indeed.

OK, let’s get creative. Ask for help using the app itself. Let’s try that!

Not quite sure what a “password teset” is, but it sounds like a good design idea for a pot, cup, and saucer to brew and drink something soothing to regain sanity.

Eventually I tried the phone tree, and we all know how that goes. Probably tried the ploy of “billing question” because when it comes to anything having to do with money, I’m guessing these bots are coded to respond more rationally – like getting me to a HUMAN AGENT.

After ten minutes or so on hold I made it through to a HUMAN BEING!

After the usual confirmations of name, address, etc., the HUMAN BEING asked:


Oh. Oh God. What fresh hell is this?

“I don’t remember a PIN. I just need help resetting my password.”

“I can set a pin for you.”

OK, four random numbers later:

“Login in to your account…”


“Use the PIN we just set and then you should get a prompt to reset your password…”

Oh. OK. Maybe I should have tried calling first.

Suffice it to say that eventually, I succeeded in resetting my password.

I never write passwords down.

Let’s try a little test, shall we?

Stunned that I remembered it and got through to the “welcome” screen, I remain,

Your memorable password choosing, bot defeating, logged-in, human-being contact seeking,


2 thoughts on ““On Us” – or, How Not to Customer Service, Part 2

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