Hey, Robot...

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

We a few accounts with Florida Power & Light (FPL) for the properties, which we remodel for our clients.

I received the call from FPL. It was an automated service, and the robot told me that the service would be terminated, as of this coming Friday, and we needed to make a payment immediately. The robot gave the amount and the address of the property, but all I could figure was 20 and then the street name, which I did not catch.

No problem, I called FPL, explained the situation, and asked to clarify the address. Oops, they can’t. It is against their policy. This is after they grilled me, asking for Social Security, company name, address, everything. So they know that it is me.

And yet, no…

They suggested that I read them the address and they would say “yes” or “no”. I have quite a stack in my hand, and I am not going to sit and read through all this stuff. After all, they want me to pay, and I have the right to know what I am paying for.

Of course, they profusely apologize, but can’t help. They suggest they give me the account number, and then I sit and go through all of those, and see if I find a match. And then call them back and make a payment. Why do FPL people think that I have nothing better to do, but sit and surf through all this stuff, while they have it on their screen but would not give it to me.

You see, it is a policy, and policy is a sacred cow…

Guess it is in our best interests, and it is how FPL is protecting our… I do not know what. Obviously, not our sanity... Imagine somebody calling using my name, sneak into the system and… pays for me. What a disaster!

Couple of minutes before I called FPL, I received the call from them and the robot spit the address out, I simply did not catch it. So, this is the same company, same policy, same idea… But what people can’t do, the robot can…

I asked them if I can get this call from this robot again, but they do not have the control over this robot.

Interesting, robots at FPL do make way more sense than people at FPL. Probably it is a good idea for FPL to replace their customer service with robots. They are somehow smarter…

P.S. The fun part is that it turned out to be not our account for the last 3 years. There are tenants. But FPL keeps on file our phone number and calls us when they did not get a payment. So I called the guys and told them about the call. And they were puzzled. "I just got the bill from them 30 minutes ago" told me the tenant. And there is no unpaid balance, just the payment for one month. And they are already threatening to turn off the power?

Maybe they could let robots run the show.

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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Jon - We run into those confidentiality policy problems all the time on behalf of various clients, and it's infuriating. I think I'd settle for the "yes or no" option, but we've never been offered that. And these companies wonder why they have terrible reputations for customer service.

Jul 22, 2015 04:47 AM #1
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Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

Sounds about right for power companies across the country, they are just lost for the most part and have no idea what is going on.

What you said about someone calling them and wanting to pay your bill yet they would not let it them reminds me of something I learned at the bank a few weeks ago. Apparently you cant deposit cash at chase anymore into somone elses account even if you have their name and account number. It made me glad not to be with Chase, if someone had my name & account number and wanted to deposit cash, please by all means accept the transaction.

Jul 22, 2015 04:51 AM #2
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Dick Greenberg - the whole thing makes little sense if any. They refused to give me the address of the property for which they wanted $143.01 and were ready to accpet the money, but they gave me the account number. Next I went into their website and put in the account number and voila, I was in someone's elses account, and that's how I saw the address of the property.

Funny, but they wouldn't give me the address, but let me get into someone's account - no problem. And this is not when I was trying to do something that could hurt people, like cancel the account. It was about payment.

Crazy

Jul 22, 2015 05:18 AM #3
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Stefan Winter - when you bring money to the Bank abnd they do not let you do that, it is funny.

If someone robs the bank, the policy is not to fight and give them the money.

next time you simply tell them that it is a heist, and you demand that they take the money or you will hurt them. Probably, that would make it for them an allowable event, when they were forced to take the money.

What a crazy world!

Jul 22, 2015 05:20 AM #4
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Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Jon. the next time the robot calls ask if it would like to be a landlord or property manager. I think they've got the right mentality to be successful there. I've been in those same shoes you're wearing a few times over the years. Got to love FPL!

Jul 22, 2015 05:43 AM #5
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
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Kevin J. May - I sure will. These robots' only problem is that they read the street names the same way the GPS in your car does, where unless you know the street name, you would never guess it. :)

Jul 22, 2015 05:59 AM #6
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Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

A little more lead-in would solve the problem, by the time I'm finished with "Hello" the robot is saying "Goodbye". 

Jul 22, 2015 06:06 AM #7
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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Jon,

Sounds like there are a few tech issues to handle here.  Very fascinating series of events.  A

Jul 22, 2015 06:48 AM #8
Rainmaker
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Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Jon - I don't know what it is about utilities, or the cable companies, but they are the hardest businesses to work with. Their policies just don't make any sense, and talking to the lowest people on the totem pole gets you nowhere.

Glad the issue was resolved with you, but now the tenants have to figure out what is going on with their account.

Jul 22, 2015 07:06 AM #9
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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Gah, what a pain in the butt.  I recently had to go into my local office to get power turned on to prove *I* did not owe the past due bill at that address.  

Jul 22, 2015 03:20 PM #10
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Automation gone amuk.

I recently discovered that it's a lot more complicated to sell a home today than it was to buy it 9 years ago.

 

Jul 22, 2015 09:03 PM #11
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William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I had a client that called and told me the garbage collector was discontinuing their service for non-payment...they had moved in 4 days earlier.

Aug 16, 2015 09:13 AM #12
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

William Feela - could it be they were after the previous owner?

Aug 16, 2015 10:01 AM #13
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Lenn Harley - I somehow missed all these comments, I apologize.

It a bit funny to hear it from you, as even though you work with buyers, you are not new to the field. So, it tells me how this part has changed. I remember someone was telling me that your contracts are what? 45-50 pages? I can't imagine it. Ours are 11 pages, but when I remember that we went from 3 pages to 11 in my time in real estate, which is only 15 years, it is scary

Aug 16, 2015 10:19 AM #14
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Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Jon, I had a tenant call earlier today to tell me her water got cut off today. I am pretty good friends with the water company so I called them and asked them why my tenant's water meter got cut off today. She said it was not because of an unpaid bill but part of the dep had not been paid as agreed(over 4 pmts). Long story short my tenant had made that payment early and the real person forgot to check before cutting her off. They came right back out and turned back on.  I bet the lady in the office felt stupid.

Aug 08, 2017 03:05 PM #15
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Mike Frazier - don't they create more work and confusion for their overloaded CS by doing it? Just saying... :)

Aug 09, 2017 05:55 AM #16
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