This is Not Excellent Customer Service

My new city wants a letter of credit from an old utility that I have had over one year in order to waive the deposit on my new service.

Why they need this AND my social security and driver's license numbers, I don't know. Too cheap to pay the equifax all access rate, I guess.

So I call my old electric company.

This is the conversation.

This is NOT customer service. I'm not sure what it is, customer unservice?

Background: I tried to do this yesterday by phone, but they aren't open EXCEPT during Texas business hours. I should have known something would go wrong, because the voice message says, "If your power is out, please call your electricity provider. If you do not know your electricity provider, please look on the back of your last bill." (Texas is deregulated, you buy your electricity from Company A, but Company B services the lines for a specific geographic region.) I guess no one there has stopped to think that if you power is out after hours, you probably can't see to read the bill, if you can see to find it.

Anyway, back to the conversation.

blah blah blah press 4 for other options.

*Press 4*

"Hello, ----- ------ Energy Company, how many I help you?"
"Yes, I've moved out of the area, and my new water company wants a letter saying I paid my bills on time."
"Certainly, Ma'am, I can help you with that. Can I just get your account number?"
"Thank you, and to verify the account, can I get your billing address?"
"123 Main Street"
"The complete billing address please?"
"123 Main Street, Apartment 1, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27123"
"Thank you. And your billing phone number?"
"And for security purposes, can I verify the last four of your social security number?"
"Thank you, Ma'am. ----- ---- Energy Company doesn't send out letters of credit reference. Feel free to print your billing history out from our website and try submitting that to your new provider."
"**stunned silence**"
"Thank you and..."
"So, why exactly did you ask me all of that?"
"Our policy says we have to verify customer accounts first"

1. If I have the account number, ONE of those pieces of information should have been enough, should you have to verify me.
3. Things I am reminded of:
a. The HR department that wouldn't tell me what my husband's 401k benefits policy was (specifically, "after how many months of working at XYZ company is a person eligible to sign up for a 401k") because it would "violate HIPPA".
b. Somewhere on the net, the comment, "It is my policy not to do business with businesses who have policies against the customers." (Or very close.)
4. I have used their website before. It is AWFUL. 5 minutes to see a bill. I don't think so.

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