Customer support and how NOT to do it

Our Skype account was suspended, for reasons unknown to me - but understandable, since security is important.

(And no, it was not one of those pesky scam emails, and OF COURSE I tried to log in via Skype (on both my Mac and my iPad) and proceeded from there)

The problem is that, in order to unlock my account, I have to answer questions that I never knew I was going to be asked:

[i]For us to lift the restriction on your account, please provide us with the following information:

  1. In what year did you create your account?[/i]

WTF? That was AGES ago!

2) In which country/region did you create your account?

WTF? Can’t remember if I started using Skype when I worked in New Zealand, Scotland, or Germany.

3) What payment method did you use?

WTF? I think PayPal but I’m not sure - too long ago.

4) Tell us the details of up to three of your Skype contacts. You can use their actual name or Skype Name if you know it.

Is that ANY of your business??? Isn’t that kind of information supposed to be private???

Please be aware that if the information you will provide us are missing or incorrect, we are unable to verify your identity and process your request.

So after 10 (?) years we lost our Skype account and contacts in it.

I can’t even contact their support or the forum because - you guessed it - YOU HAVE TO LOG INTO YOUR SKYPE ACCOUNT FIRST!!!


The SOFTWARE isn’t very good, but the COMPANY behind it is simply atrocious! But what can you expect from Microsoft?!

What is really annoying is that nowhere, absolutely nowhere, am I being told what “unusual activity” is taking place. To be honest, I doubt there even IS any unusual activity - otherwise a simple password reset would have done it.

The ONLY way I was able to contact them was by logging in with my Hotmail account (which I did not really want to do as they are separate accounts). Thanks Microsoft - I guess that was the aim of this little exercise … still can’t get into our Skype account but now I can contact their “help” …

I got to “chat” with “Dan A.” who says “sorry” a lot and explains that management sets the bar for “security” very high. Asking obscure questions which users probably have forgotten isn’t “high standards”, that’s INCOMPETENCE!

After going through all kind of hoops we arrive at:

“I really want to help you on this since it is clearly your account, But since I have to follow our process with regards to account’s security, I really recommend you to go through this verification. I am sorry, I am just following orders. I am very very sorry.”

Unbelievable. There is a VERY lonely brain cell at the other end of the line …

So I ask for the problem to be escalated up the ladder. Answer:

“I hope I can escalate this, but since your account is blocked we need to verify your account first.”

I think that brain cell just self-destructed.

The sheer INCOMPETENCE at Microsoft is mind-blowing!

So I’m asked to fill in another Account Verification page, and shortly after get a reply by email saying - you guessed it - to fill out THAT Account verification page again.


Reminds me of my favourite error message: “No keyboard detected. Press F1 to continue”.

Nothing has changed.

And when you think it can’t get more bizarre - it does:

After I responded and told them that I had ALREADY filled out that form they now send three identical emails to … my wife’s hotmail account!

To be more specific, to the account she uses for competitions and promotions to cut down on spam.

To an account that never ever was associated with our Skype account.

Skype / Microsoft has just crossed the creepy barrier …

One company to rule them all.

Another prime example is Google. When password resetting an account, Google seriously asks for the previous password? Hello! That’s why I’m resetting it! If I knew the last password, I wouldn’t be resetting it! Google even asks the same questions as Skype like the recent emails, contacts, etc.

I’m a fan of Apple’s two-step verification for Apple IDs. I know other companies do this too but Apple have done it really nicely and seamlessly.

Of course, this doesn’t help Markus’ Skype account problem. I sympathize though, I recently had to deal with Xbox Live support in email and phone (I even tried on Twitter) when I decided I was going to magically create extra time to play games. I wasted an hour or two trying to get my account sorted before reality descended - I just have no time for games, never mind Microsoft customer support.

I hate contacting the bank, you go through their automated service and I always gets security failed and my call dumped, so I call back and spend 3 minutes swearing and cursing at the automated system, until it finally says “Transferring you to an agent”, to them be told they all fucking gone home!

Banks seriously need to learn customer service! Automated services are the biggest waste of time ever for a customer.

With some luck the bank still supports impaired users : simply do not punch anything, the system should automatically transfer to a live operator. Some As!@#$%les now require to punch star, though…

No keyboard detected press F1 to continue boot.

In the US… most automated phone systems will respond to the spoken word “AGENT” to transfer you to a real person… now that person MAY be in India… but still a real perso

Yeah I was calling a UK bank, where every time I said “agent” it would say, in order to speak to representative you must complete the phone login.

Thankfully calling the machine really digesting names, got me through to “I’m now transferring you to an agent”. At which point, they’d all buggered off home.

If the automated service had informed me at the beginning that real humans are not available, I wouldn’t have wasted my time and gotten angry with the electronic POS. I really hate the over computerization of modern today.

Cars now have over 30 computers in them, take longer to repair and in some circumstances as easy to steal as leaving your doors unlocked.

Not to mention bugs with speed control which end up in uncontrolled runs on freeways. They still make the TV news, but for how long ? Makes one wonder what will happen with driverless cars :wink:

How about the place I called which said ‘Your call is important to us. All of our operatives are busy at the moment. Please call back.’
Then it automatically hung up!

BTW: don’t these belong in the pet peeves post.? . :wink:

Some people try to circumvent the system.