Friday, May 25, 2012

Rant: Voice-activated phone systems.

Apparently it's been five years since the last time I chose to “opt out” of receiving “prescreened offers of credit.”

Today I received two such offers at my new apartment in San Diego, forwarded from my old address in Illinois. (Good to know that my mail forwarding request is fully in effect!) After grumbling about wasting my time for a few minutes, I decided to call the provided toll-free number to remove my name from the list.

Cue voice-activated automated phone menu.

It understood me for the first few bits. It got down my address with no problems, and was able to discern from my zip code that I do, in fact, live in San Diego, California. But it had some big problems with my name.

Voice-Activated Phone System: Please provide your last name, by speaking it first and then spelling. For example, if your last name was “Smith,” you would say “Smith, S M I T H.”
Me: (Says last name, then spells it. Not going to put my last name here, but if you don't know it, it starts with an 'S' and is rather Italian.)
VAPS: I heard (repeats last name a little differently than I said it, and inserts an 'I' into the middle of it.) If this is correct, say “Yes.”
Me: No.
VAPS: Okay. Let's try again. (Repeats initial last name instruction.)
Me: (Says last name, then spells it.)
VAPS: I'm sorry, I don't think I heard you correctly. (Repeats initial last name instruction.)
Me: (Keeping, my frustration contained, says last name, then spells it.)
VAPS: I heard, Guerrero. G U E R R E R O. If this is correct, say “Yes.”
Me: NO!

Sigh. I hate those things. Ultimately, it had me leave a message (I think), presumably to be interpreted by an actual human. Will the human be smarter than the machine? Have I successfully opted out from future prescreened offers of credit?

Probably not. But should I decide I want a second credit card or to refinance my mortgage at historically low rates, I shall presumably have plenty of opportunities to do so!

1 comment:

  1. The mysterious MRS GUERRERO!!!!!!!!!!!! Your pseudonym ... randomly selected by a machine.