Lawyers. I’ve been running one annually recurring project for the last six years. For five of those six years we plugged along, meeting leadership intent, and getting the job done mostly by convincing a bunch of other organizations to play nicely in this particular sandbox. The key, mainly, was in finding ways to make it easy for all of these other organizations to say yes when we asked for something. Enter the lawyers. This year, we seems bound and determined to create roadblocks where there were none before and actively seek out ways to get to “no.” It seems to me there’s a difference between cautious and diligent and being just another toad in the road. I miss the cautious and diligent advice we use to get.
Amazon. Today I talked to Amazon’s customer service line for the 3rd time about getting my account un-suspended. That’s after spending a few hours pinging tweets back and forth with their Twitter customer service team. Current status is that no one is apparently able to tell me why the people who manage charge back issues haven’t and/or aren’t able to resolve this. I’m told the issue has been elevated to the next support tier… and I should hear “something” in the next 24-48 hours. That’s all well and good, I suppose, until just after that conversation, when Amazon sent me another email claiming that I haven’t returned something they acknowledged I had already returned several weeks ago, so that will be a separate, unrelated fight with my favorite online retailer as soon as our primary issue is resolved. I’m expecting that to be some time in December based on the current rate of progress.
High water. There’s a tropical storm headed for New Orleans. The city is already flooding. Grand total of things that we have collectively learned about living on the low ground since Katrina: Zero.
As a result of the fraud found on one of my credit cards a few weeks ago, the credit card company “charged back” a series of purchases made on the same day as the fraudulent charges. Several of them were legitimate charges that I authorized. One of those legitimate charges was to Amazon.
Amazon contacted me a few days later, asking to get paid. Since it was a valid charge, I provided an alternate payment method and we all moved on. Or I thought we moved on… until last night when I received a notice that my Amazon account was now suspended, pending payment of this same charge (you know, the one that I’ve already paid).
Everything in my account is currently being held in purgatory, apparently – ebooks I purchased, purchase histories, wish lists, ebooks published and linked to that account, including access to tax statements generated by sales on Amazon’s platform. It seems there’s no way known to man to access that material again unless I pay Amazon (for the second time) $225 and assorted cents.
As I commented on Amazon’s Twitter feed yesterday, this isn’t a process to resolve account disputes, it’s good old fashioned extortion. Either you comply with their demands or years worth of your online presence is obliterated.
So I guess I’m at war with Amazon now thanks to their decision to act like third tier thugs instead of one of the world’s largest corporations.
A few days ago I got a notice from Google that one of my account passwords was compromised and the account was suspended. That’s annoying, yes, but should be pretty straightforward to correct. At least that’s what I thought when I started trying to recover my account. Now, of course, I know better.
The account I lost access was old. Very old. So old, in fact, that it dated back to the days when you had to be invited to sign up for a gmail account. It was my main email address until I unified everything under Google Apps a few years ago. Although now it’s mostly relegated to being a spam catcher, there are plenty of ancient messages archived there that I didn’t want to lose.
For what it’s worth, the account recover process Google has put in place is only slightly less cumbersome that assisting Dr. Jones in recovering the Holy Grail. Just now I appear to be stuck at the part where Google sends my temporary password to a secondary email account so I can register a new password and get back to business as usual. The catch here, because you know there has to be a catch, is that they have successfully sent this temporary password to a Hotmail account that I opened back at the dawn of the internet and in all likelihood no longer exists.
What I’m left with at this point is unlimited access to the Google “self help” forums and no way to talk to a real person in order to prove that I’m me. I’m not willing to consider all lost just yet, but the prognosis is looking awfully grim. Not optimal in any way, but it finally did encourage me to break down and back up everything Google is storing on my current accounts. Don’t tell me I can’t make the most of a day off.