Glitches, Breakdowns & Failures Are the New Normal

Despite increasingly powerful enterprise systems and software, business glitches, breakdowns and meltdowns seem to be on the rise. Here are a few of the irritating and maddening problems I’ve encountered over the last few weeks and how the companies involved responded to them.

Chase: I attempt to pay for a bottle of water at a vending machine using Apple Pay, and the bank rejects the transaction (even though I’ve used Apple Pay successfully elsewhere). I spend nearly 45 minutes navigating three levels of phone support, and I’m told the problem won’t happen again.

Then, a couple of weeks later, I attempt to use Apple Pay at a Michael’s store, and the bank again blocks the transaction, even though the regular credit card works just fine. After another 20 minutes with a Chase representative, he finally admits that this is a known issue. Grade: C-

Apple: Normally, Apple delivers stellar support. But twice, after downloading a ring tone from iTunes for a member of the household, it vanishes. I decide to make my own ringtone and ask for the $2.58 refund.

We send iTunes a note asking for a refund. No reply. We send it again. No reply. Two weeks later, I’m forced to call and waste 27 minutes of everyone’s time for this measly sum. Grade: D

Wells Fargo: Suddenly, my Health Savings Account (HSA) disappears when I log onto online banking. When I call the bank, the representative tells me the account is closed because I’m three months and $9 behind in paying monthly service fees.

However, I had already spent all the funds in the account on medical expenses, and the site wouldn’t let me deposit anything more, thinking it was a contribution above my annual limit. I figured I would simply add funds after January 1, and the bank would be happy. But, no, without a letter, email or phone call, the bank just shuttered the account and reported the so-called delinquency to credit bureaus.

Fortunately, the rep is able to open a new account, but can we say huge H-A-S-S-L-E? It’s incredible that no one would review the account or situation before taking action, especially since I’m a premiere customer. This is clearly a case of automation gone wrong and analytics MIA. Grade: F