Wednesday, August 13, 2008

STL Rising - Consumer Advisories

In a brief departure from our usual STL issues discussion, STL Rising has two consumer advisories for today's readers.

AVID micropchip service for pets is a safeguard measure aimed at reconnecting lost pets with their owners. If your pet gets lost and is taken to a shelter, the shelter scans the pet to search for a microchip embedded under your pet's skin.

If found, the chip reveals a code, which is tied to a database. The database connects the code to the owner. The shelter contacts the owner, and voila, you get your pet back. Great system, right? Yes. But there's one hitch.

Last night I phoned the AVID company after learning there were some mistakes made in the original data entering of our dog's ownership information. I'm on the phone with the nice lady entering info on her computer. We added my wife's name as a second contact person for recovery purposes; we added my cell phone number, my office number, and my wife's cell phone number. That's all well and good.

About five years ago, we moved to a new house three blocks away from our old house. So we have a new address. I wanted to update the database with our new address. To change our address, the AVID representative wanted our credit card number and a $6.00 charge for this service. And if I didn't like the policy, I was free to discuss it with her supervisor.

In the amount of time she took explaining the charge to enter a change in address, she could have updated her record. Add a person, add multiple phone numbers, all that, no charge. But to update an address on an existing, prepaid account (this service costs around $30 at the outset), they want a $6.00 fee. I suppose I could understand this charge if there was a change in ownership of the pet, but for the same owner?

AVID's mission is to connect lost pets with their owners, but they'll charge you to update your address in their database. Is that great service, or what? Which leads us to our second consumer advisory...closing time of the 6th street branch office of the US Post Office...

Yesterday I left the office about 5:45 PM. I missed the last scheduled pickup at the mailbox in our building lobby, but I remembered that the 6th street branch was open til 7:00, so I walked over there.

The mailbox in front of the post office had a final pickup at 5:00 p.m., so I walked inside. The clerk behind the counter, the person sitting behind the hand-written, taped-on sign which read something like "approach the counter only when called upon" (nice touch), says to me, "You might as well put that in the box outside".

"But that one already had it's last pickup."

"That's right, and if you give it to me, it won't go out till tomorrow either".

Huh? What is the point of keeping a post office open if you can't get your mail out in today's mail?

1 comment:

LisaS said...

AVID has got to have the most incompetent keyboardists around. It took 3 rounds for them to get our information correct for our cats--and this was when they were very young and getting out of the house all the time!