SYSTEM

Why cruise ships need man-overboard systems now

Earlier this year, a passenger went overboard on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. And, as is often the case, no one noticed.

Here’s what makes this event so rare: Four hours later, a Disney ship came along and by pure luck saw the person in the water and rescued him.

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What to do about phone systems that treat us like idiots

Why do companies design Interactive Voice Response systems that treat their customers like idiots?

The systems, commonly called IVRs, let computers interact with humans through the use of voice and touch-tone input using the phone keypad. They’re also referred to as automated telephone switchboards and call centers.
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Dish’s billing system is broken and I can’t fix it

Shutterstock
Shutterstock
Dish deducted $94 from William Leeper’s account without crediting him. Now it’s turned off his subscription TV service for non-payment. What gives?

Question: I’ve been having a billing problem with Dish Network for the last three months. Dish deducted $94 from my bank account in June but it never posted to my Dish account.

I called back in mid-July when I saw my unpaid bill and asked the company’s payment research department to investigate. But by the end of July, the money still wasn’t in my account, and my account was closed because of non-payment.

At the end of August, I called the Dish executive resolutions department, and was told to send my bank statement in showing the payment. I did, but I received no response.
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ADT is stonewalling me — should I stop paying my bill?

Robinson/Shutterstock
Robinson/Shutterstock
Krishnan Ramanathan is being double-billed for his home security system. Should he just stop paying it?

Question: About two months back, we moved to a new residence. Our ADT residential security service is in my wife’s name, although I handle most of the activities, including payments. We called ADT before our move and scheduled an appointment (incidentally on the same day that we moved into our new home). The sales rep who met us told us that since we have been longtime ADT customers (about 7 years), the installation, activation etc. would be free of charge and I just had to pay the monthly charges.

Meanwhile in our previous home, we had been making semi-annual payments and the sales rep told us that our first statement would be adjusted based on past payments. The actual service activation for our new home was not until a month after we moved in, since they couldn’t find any earlier day that was convenient to us.

The installation and activation went smoothly until we received our first statement and discovered that the past payment was not adjusted. So I called ADT billing and after almost a hour of being moved around between the billing, move, and new customer activation departments, I was finally curtly told that since the account was in my wife’s name, she would have to call in to make any changes to the same.
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Hey, that’s no four-star hotel!

Question: I recently booked a hotel in Prague through Expedia. While perusing the hotels online, I saw an advertisement for an unpublished rate hotel. I clicked the advertisement and was presented with three four-star hotels from which to choose.
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