Thursday, July 11, 2013

Grief: 752, Widow: 1

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, 
but the triumph over it.
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, 
but he who conquers that fear.
~  Nelson Mandela 

During a time of mental, emotional,  physical distress, and overall discombobulation that encompasses bereavement, for me, that's the loss of my husband (read My Man), everyday problems, like household expense issues, can arise that seem insurmountable in your ability to handle for fear that you'll make the problem worse because your head and heart are so messed up and functioning at partial capacity (read Remedial).  

I was warned early on, that there are actually people/businesses out there in the world who pray on the vulnerable widow, knowing how fragile they are, manipulating them to take advantage for profitable gain, or advancing a personal agenda, at the emotional or financial cost of the widow.  This terrifies me and turns my stomach.   I'm on high-alert, as I institute my own version of a Homeland Security Threat Advisory, this alone is exhausting.  Not because of any distrust I have of others, but the fear I have with my spontaneous and fleeting mental misfires and fragility (read Tipping).  

On June 30th, after watching our satellite bill progressively increase since Boomer died,  and me watching less TV than ever, I was reminded of his relentless complaining of the expense and never making the changes he constantly threatened to make, I cancelled the service, made other arrangements and am now saving $65/month.  Last Monday, I was called to DEFCON 1 when I received a bill from DirecTV for $320, representing an "early termination fee."

I immediately called customer service explaining the situation.  The agent told me that a service call made a few months back for equipment failure resulted in an equipment upgrade and automatically initiated a service contract renewal.  Uh, that would be a big fat FALSE and soooo not cool.   You can only imagine how upset I was - - questioning in my mind, "Is this my Fleecing The Widow experience?"   Time to step back, cool my head and heart, and assess my next course of action.  I hit a quick Facebook update with what had transpired that produced comments like:

"I call Bullshit on this. Tell them you want to speak with the Manager."
"Go up the ladder get a manager and keep fighting"
" No way, don't pay!"
"Aa screw them, that's what we all would LIKE to say!"

I appreciated this aggressive verbal support, but I also know hosility and anger are not going to help my cause in the resolution I seek.  Escalating the matter, I agree, was the next right step to make.  To a Manager?  Nah.  I've spent enough time in corporate america over the years to know most managers have very little decision making authority.    A little voice began whispering in my ear, "SMO, Go Big or Don't Go."   

While I ruminated for two days, I found a reconditioned HD receiver from DirecTV, new in the box, that my late-husband had hoarded in a "stick it to the man" action protest;  the unattractive dark side to his increasing personality transformation caused by his disease (read Reality, Bowing, and Maya).  I continued to hear the whisper, "SMO, Go Big or Don't Go."

I was clear on the resolution I wanted, confident mistakes where made, and certain a cool, calm head from me could prevail as Victor.  I sent an email to DirecTV.  Specifically addressed to the Sr. V.P. of Customer Care, copying the CEO: 

"Dear Ms. Filipiak:

I am extremely dismayed by the level and quality of the customer care I have received from DirecTV since I first made personal contact on December 18, 2012 - - 34 days after the death of my husband, the original owner of the above referenced account.   To summarize... 

...What I have experienced in the last several months is not Customer Care.  Sadly, what I have experienced is Share Holder Care - - at the emotional and financial expense of this vulnerable grieving widow. 

Next, while sorting through my deceased husband’s belongings, I discovered a piece of DirecTV equipment... DirecTV gap:  Lost track of their own equipment?

I’m asking DirecTV to step up, demonstrate professional integrity, and do the right thing here and care for this customer: 
A.       Waive the $320 early cancellation fee and close the account.
B.       Refund the $95.69 credit back to my credit card as stated would be done on 6/30/13.

In turn, today, I am shipping directly to your attention, DirecTV’s  lost receiver - - at my expense.

May my experience here be an opportunity for DirecTV to review customer care policies/practices and employee training as it relates to dealing with the death of an account owner, and the spouse left behind.  I know I’ve learned a lot from it.   

Thank you,
Shannon M. O’Regan"

Within 1-hour my phone rang - - it was DirecTV.
  1. An apology was made.  
  2. Condolences for my loss were expressed.  
  3. ALL the fees were waived and refunded.    Yup!  ALL the fees.
Today, this widow was the Victor.  A giant leap from where I've been in recent weeks (read Choking and Turbulence).    An encouraging sign that when I often feel juggernaut that is grief slaughtering me in defeat, my the strength of character, integrity, and ability to step back, step in, and go big, from a place of calm resolve rises from the ashes and I move mountains - - or get fees waived.

Happy dance and high-fives for SMO.   I know Boomer's proud of his girl today - - make that most days.