Tuesday, November 19, 2019

SOLTuesday: Phone Contact

         My only encounters with other humans today was via commercial phone.       
        First, I’d gotten a letter yesterday from one of the companies where I have a couple of IRAs. The company is moving all of its accounts to one web page, which is its brokerage account page. The letter said all I had to do was go to the webpage and follow three simple steps. Well, not so simple. There was no link to something called “transition here.” So I looked for a phone number. No phone number on the letter, and no phone number easily found on various webpages of the company. Finally, I found a number, dialed, got a recording, waited on hold for maybe 10 minutes, then the call dropped. Called back, and this time the recording said I could leave my number and someone would call me back in 15-22 minutes. Okay, done. And the callback was only about 10 minutes.
            The first person I talked to said this change was optional, but after some discussion, it seemed maybe it was worth doing. And this person confessed that the webpage where I was supposed to make the transition had a lot of problems, so I should go through the process with someone else on the phone. Great (heavy sarcasm).
            I didn’t have to wait too long for this second person, who told me that, yes, this is optional, but it’s optional now, and will eventually become mandatory. In the middle of the transition process, I hit a page that gave me a “502 error: Bad Gateway.” When I reported it, this second person put me on hold, again. While I was on hold, I tried again, and this time, the click that had given me the error worked. Which I reported to my guide when he got back online.
            We finished the process, except that one of my IRAs sends me RMDs, and I need to reapply for the RMD, which I can’t do until 24 hours after this transition. Great (more heavy sarcasm).
            All of this took almost an hour.
            Second, in the evening, I got a text from one of my credit cards that some charges, for a total of almost $1,000, had been made at a Walmart, and I needed to let the bank know if these were legit. Well, they were not! I texted “no” immediately and called the phone number in the text, the fraud unit of my credit card’s bank. This process took less than 10 minutes, and the result is that this particular credit card is dead until I get a replacement card, with a new number, which means I will have to notify all of my automatic payments with the new number. I asked if there was any way they could trace who had used my card number, and they said no.
            Just another day of modern life. 

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