Saturday, June 11

SAVE ME...from Greek Customer Service

We all need car insurance, unless you live in Athens, Lamia or the other Greek cities that make needing a car the equivalent of owning a moosemusk in your bathroom.
You need it, of course, because you have accidents.
Or, to put it another way, Greeks have accidents to you.
Often.

It could be the tractor on the motorway that suddenly catches you by surprise.
Or the Albanian, celebrating he’s recent migrant legitimacy by buying an old banger and that sometime in the future he’ll add brakes mirrors and lights to.
Or the scooters that play a death wish game with you. Or, the woman who yesterday reversed backwards, the wrong way down a one-way street. Into me.

That’s when car insurance comes into it’s own. Pretty handy when your front - end has been pushed a couple of metres towards your rear-end & your won't move any longer.

It’s a simple procedure from then on. Simply take three weeks off work and start calling your insurance company.

Stupidly, I didn’t have my insurance certificate with me to show the police officer attending my accident. An immediate fine, worth more than the crash damage, but I could fix it by faxing a copy of the certificate to the police station within the hour.

‘Hello’, I said to the insurance company’s switchboard, ‘I need to speak to someone about….’
‘Please hold while I transfer you to our Information Department’
‘No, wait, I only want…..’
Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
Information Department, what would you like?’
‘Oh, hello, I’ve had an accident and I need to…’
‘You need Claims Department. I’ll transfer you’
‘No. Please listen, ……’
Click. Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
‘Good morning, Claims Department.’
‘Hello, I’ve had an accident. I don’t want to make a Claim, I just want to fax a copy of my insurance …..’
‘You don’t want to report a Claim?’
‘Later I do. First I need the certificate faxed…’
‘This is Claims Department. For people who want to make a Claim. Please hold while I transfer you….’
Click. Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
‘Hello, Information Department.’
‘Hello, I spoke with you just now, and you put me through to…’
‘Yes, about your Claim…’
‘Yes, but I don’t want to Claim, I want..’
‘You said you had an accident. So you do need Claims Department’.
‘No. Well, yes, but later. First, I need to..’
‘Just tell them that. Please hold while I transfer you’
‘Claims Department’.
‘Before you transfer me, please listen to me.’
‘Of course’
‘I’ve had an accident and need you to fax a copy of my insurance certificate’.
‘You probably need Information Department then. Just tell them what you want. I’ll transfer you…’
‘NO! Just get someone….’
Click, Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
‘Information Department’.
‘Now PLEASE listen to me before you transfer me again! All I want is my certificate faxed to a telephone number I’ll give you, and …..
‘You need a different department’.
‘Which department?’
'I don’t know. Please hold while I transfer you….’
‘How can you transfer me when you don’t know….’
Click. Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
‘Reception?’
‘All you people do is transfer me!’
‘That’s my job. I’m the switchboard’
‘Well, listen to my problem please and then transfer me to the right department..’
‘Well, what’s your problem, then I can transfer you to the proper people…’
‘Simply that I want you to fax a copy of my insurance certificate to me’
‘I can’t do that, I’m the switchboard. I put calls through to the correct department. You probably need someone in the Information or the Claims Department’.
‘I not asking you to do it. I’m asking you to put me through to someone who can and who doesn’t transfer me. But, where ever you transfer me too, they don’t agree they can, and they keep bouncing me elsewhere.
‘You're choosing the wrong department then’
‘Look, let me speak to a manager, please, can you find one for me?’
Click. Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
‘Hello?’
‘Hello. Are you the manager?’
‘Yes’
'I need a fax of my insurance certificate sent to me. Nobody in Information or Claims or Switchboard knows who can do it and I’ve been bouncing around between them for the last 20 minutes’
‘We can do that here’
‘Great’. These are the details (details).
‘There's a €4 charge for doing this'
‘No problem’. Take my credit card details’
‘We don’t take cards. But we can accept a fax of your card details’
‘What’s your fax number, then?’
'We dont have a fax here. I'll transfer you to someone who has.'
Click. Canned Thank-You For Holding Message…
‘Hello, this is Claims Department……’

The upside of all this was three-fold.
First, my Greek improved through the practise. The Greek for Claim, Information and Fax is imprinted on my psyche.
Second, my mobile phone bill clocked up even more bonus points so I’m even more convinced I can upgrade next December and get an even bigger handbook with, hopefully, a built in fax, photocopier and resident Greek language teacher.
Thirdly, we couldn’t move the cars until the police came, so I had a wonderful two hours blocking the traffic, arguing with the occasional angry bus driver, meeting the gathering crowd, being served coffee roadside by the locals, and making a host of new friends. Including a woman who reverses down one-way streets, a policeman, and a woman with a dead sexy voice who records Thank You For Holding messages for my Athens insurance company.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So,so familiar!.

11 November, 2005  
Anonymous Maria Velos said...

I like the way you bring out the best & the worse together. Nice one.

11 November, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the way you compare the bad and the good of Greece within the same blog. Some of them are really good!

13 November, 2005  

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