Monday, June 21, 2010

"Ma'am, You're Using Your Card to Buy Petza"

I love the idea of a debit card for expenses related to health care; co-pays, prescriptions, physician bills, hospital bills. A convenient way to use pre-tax dollars to pay for medical expenses, I put aside monies into the "Health Care Account" at the start of the calendar year and off I go. My only wish about halfway through the year is that I'd allocated more money into the fund as I always seem to use it up too quickly.

The companies that take on the job of monitoring these accounts, WageWorks is just one of many, must be scrutinized closely by the Feds. Clients in no way, shape, or form may use these funds for purchases/bills not related to health care. I get this. Totally. These are pre-tax dollars that go in to the fund. Oversight is critical in order to avoid fraudulent usage. hackles go up when all of a sudden my card is frozen and no amount of inquiry gets me anywhere. I still have dollars to use for payment of legitimate expenses but have no way to do so. After accessing the ubiquitous phone tree and the most annoying phrase of all time, "Your call may be monitored for quality assurance or training purposes" (How many times do we have to hear this in our collective lifetimes?, Who the hell cares if I'm being recorded? Do they think I'll mind my tongue if they admonish me up front?), I finally end up talking to a customer care representative.

Curiously, the four times I've called I've had a different answer as to what is going on with my account. Curiously, the person on the other end of the line sounds the same each time. English is not his first language. That's OK with me as long as we can communicate properly, my problem gets solved and I'm not left with the feeling that he really has no clue what's happening with the account.

The first time I called he tells me, "Your card will be reactivated after midnight tonight."

The second time I called he tells me, "It takes time, Ma'am. Sometimes it takes up to 72 hours to reactivate your card."

The third time I called he starts in on some insanity about how I had not submitted the proper receipts for purchases from a mail order pharmacy (C'mon, the beauty of this card is bypassing the need for receipts; if used at a pharmacy for prescription meds, it's a legit use of the card!). I asked for his supervisor at that point and found her to be much more helpful; acknowledging my frustration and actually taking the time to research the issue instead of spouting off about what I needed to do. She told me she would put in an investigation order and someone would get back with me with 48 hours about my card.

Disappointing....nothing happened. My card was still dead plastic.

The fourth time I called, the same guy (yikes! Do they only have one customer service rep?) recites the same story about lack of proper receipts and documentation. When I tell him "NO WAY", he pulls out the big gun.

"Ma'am, the problem is, it seems you've been buying petza with your card."

large pause....

I knew exactly what he meant by petza but I couldn't help but asking him what in the world he was talking about.

"Petza, ma'am, you used the card to buy petza."

The last time I bought pizza with a credit card was months ago and I've my Visa bill to prove it.

I gave up at that point and wrote a letter to their customer service department. Guess what? I still have a dead card and no response.

Anyone want to come over to share some great petza with me?


  1. OMG what a giant headache! I live in fear of customer anti-service reps - that's all there is nowadays. Maybe your pharmacy has a side business you don't know about yet.

  2. Sausage or pepperoni??? This is so true and would you believe I just got a bill from Merck Medco saying I owed them $$$ and they have my "flex" card number on board. So I have to go through similar tomorrow! I called Ed to come in and read this and he is rolling on the floor laughing! (Well, I am exaggerating a bit).


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