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August 4, 2008 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Seemingly, customer service isn't what it used to be, if you can even find them. Well, no more hiding. Enter Hard to Find 800 Numbers, an alphabetic list that eliminates the scramble for contact information. Waiting on hold for customer service or tech support is painful enough.
posted by netbros (30 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sure, but where is the number for MetaFilter?
posted by HuronBob at 6:27 AM on August 4, 2008


1-800-PANCAKE
posted by BeerFilter at 6:32 AM on August 4, 2008


This is so useful and yet so boring.
posted by smackfu at 6:35 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: So useful and yet so boring.
posted by Mister_A at 6:41 AM on August 4, 2008


HuronBob: according to the whois entry, it's (503) 616-2680.

then again -- I have given fake numbers to all sorts of people, so if you end up calling the incontinence hotline...
posted by krautland at 6:47 AM on August 4, 2008


Yeah. That really pisses me off.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:00 AM on August 4, 2008


"the incontinence hotline..."


actually, if you have that number...I'm getting a bit older, it might be useful...
posted by HuronBob at 7:25 AM on August 4, 2008


How to get a real person on a 1-800 call:

Immediately begin cursing angrily into the phone. Use the word "fuck" a lot. Do not press any buttons. Most modern voice-recognition systems detect angry callers and automatically route them to a live service queue.

If this doesn't work, you at least have the consolation of having cussed out the voice-mail robot.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:30 AM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Consumerist also has a stash of Executive Customer Service contact information.
posted by ekstasis23 at 7:31 AM on August 4, 2008


Pony request: A link to the whole list, cached?
posted by lalochezia at 7:44 AM on August 4, 2008


I also use gethuman.com.
posted by ericb at 7:46 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Immediately begin cursing angrily into the phone. Use the word "fuck" a lot. Do not press any buttons. Most modern voice-recognition systems detect angry callers and automatically route them to a live service queue.

I'm having trouble believing this. Are you aware that a lot of phone systems default to a general service queue when the caller doesn't choose any options?
posted by DU at 7:49 AM on August 4, 2008


Yeah, no touch tones = rotary phone.
posted by ryanrs at 7:54 AM on August 4, 2008


You're right, DU, that no input results in flipping the call to the default queue in many cases. But the technology exists and while it isn't implemented everywhere, it's getting more and more common.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:22 AM on August 4, 2008


I want the home phone number of the sadistic technician who designed the options that cycle me around in an endless loop, taunting me with the prospect of speaking with a real person but never allowing that. Anyone have that number?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:28 AM on August 4, 2008


I can confirm that I have been transferred directly to an operator by saying the word "fuck" and that was after being told by the automated phone system that "operator" was not a valid option.
posted by milarepa at 8:37 AM on August 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


I can confirm that I have been transferred directly to an operator by saying the word "fuck" and that was after being told by the automated phone system that "operator" was not a valid option.

Hitting "0" repeatedly usually works once you get past the language selection menu.
posted by ryoshu at 9:19 AM on August 4, 2008


Finding Comcast's phone number has never been the problem. The problem is that they just don't give a shit.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:23 AM on August 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Immediately begin cursing angrily into the phone. Use the word "fuck" a lot. Do not press any buttons. Most modern voice-recognition systems detect angry callers and automatically route them to a live service queue.

This is unnecessary. Most systems will route you to an operator if you simply don't provide answers that meet their scripted options. Some systems (like Verizon and Duke Energy, for instance) will directly respond to you saying "operator" by either transferring you right away, or saying something amusing like "Ok. I'll be glad to connect you with an operator. First, let's try to narrow your request. You can say account info, billing, or technical support." repeat operator, "Ok. I'm transferring you to an operator."
posted by odinsdream at 9:40 AM on August 4, 2008


Seconding Comcast and Time Warner Cable ultimately building a system designed to thwart your attempt to talk to who you need to talk to.

Anecdote: once I was calling TWC to protest my cable being turned off due to an "unpaid bill" which I had records saying I'd paid. If I called from my registered telephone number, the system detected that fact and routed me only and exclusively to their pay-by-phone system which has no operator option, no amount of pressing 0 or other tactics would get me a human or even to the top-level menu. I had to call from a *different phone* in order to eventually make my way to a human who, irony of ironies, was *extremely* helpful and apologetic and fixed my problem thoroughly and completely. Fuck. Time. Warner. Forever.
posted by abulafa at 10:02 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, sure. Hollering "fuck" is totally unnecessary and in most cases simply saying "agent" or "operator" will do.

But it's much more satisfying to yell "fuck".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:27 AM on August 4, 2008


The amusing/condescendingly pleasantry-dispensing automated systems are even more infuriating than the robotic ones. I would rather have a robotic system and the satisfaction that I am indeed dealing with a non-human entity. On the other hand, at least the automated systems are semi-coherent, whereas the human operators are seldom anything but worthless.
posted by blucevalo at 10:45 AM on August 4, 2008


But it's much more satisfying to yell "fuck".
posted by BitterOldPunk


Eponysawwwwright
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:32 AM on August 4, 2008


I hate to break it to you, but your call is actually not very important to them.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:53 AM on August 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


Can I ask a stupid question? Why do they even HAVE 800 numbers if they don't advertise their existence? I'm imagining a huge customer service phone bank sitting around twiddling their thumbs because no one knows the number to reach them....
posted by JHarris at 3:10 PM on August 4, 2008


Can I ask a stupid question? Why do they even HAVE 800 numbers if they don't advertise their existence?

Because many companies (e.g. Amazon) today prefer that consumers contact them via e-mail. Such interactions cost less than "live" telephone interactions.
posted by ericb at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2008


Yeah, and if you don't want people to call your secret customer service number, why do you even have it?

Companies that really don't want calls make their customer service numbers toll lines, and then put you on hold for 30 minutes.
posted by smackfu at 5:24 PM on August 4, 2008


ericb, to paraphrase Dr. Strangelove, the entire point of such a number is lost if you keep it a secret.

Is it some federal regulation that requires a toll-free CS number, but they don't have to tell anyone about it? Does it look good on a stockholder report or something? Is it something they only tell to very special customers? Is it a subtle way of paying off well-liked employees to give them a job where they purposely try to give them little to do?
posted by JHarris at 7:15 PM on August 4, 2008


Amazon used to be the poster child for not having a phone # listed, but now it's pretty clearly posted. Help > Contact Us > Phone. They do want to call you, rather than you calling them at an 800 #, but my hunch is that's due to the cost of toll-free lines, especially when someone is just sitting on hold costing them money.
posted by smackfu at 7:24 PM on August 4, 2008


Can I ask a stupid question? Why do they even HAVE 800 numbers if they don't advertise their existence? I'm imagining a huge customer service phone bank sitting around twiddling their thumbs because no one knows the number to reach them....
posted by JHarris at 3:10 PM on August 4


a lot of companies, especially financial institutions, outsource their customer service to third-party call centers. some of these places handle customer service for multiple (related) companies. my guess is that the fewer people know about the customer service number, the fewer people they have to hire to field calls. hold times are already bad enough for those of us resourceful enough to find the number in the first place.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 7:08 AM on August 5, 2008


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