Skip to main content

The stupidity of systems

A couple of weeks ago, I called the customer service at PayFlex. PayFlex is the company used by my employer to manage our Flexible Spending account. Usually the threat of losing unused money kept me away from participating in the plan. But since I was gonna have kids last year, I participated. So on December 31st, I realized that I had some money ($43.34) left over in my account. Well it was 10pm and everywhere was closed on New Year's eve. So I went online to CVS and bought qualifying items using my PayFlex debit card. The receipt was time stamped 10:49pm. Boy was I lucky to have remembered before midnight.

Forward several weeks later and I get an e-mail from my company's HR person saying I still had $43.34 left over. After I got over the shock, I searched my hotmail account and luckily I still had the order confirmation from CVS. I pdf'ed it and uploaded it to PayFlex. Thinking that was the end of it, I checked this morning and low and behold I still had $43.34 left over. Turns out they paid the CVS claim from this year's plan.

I called their customer service said their system shows CVS processed the payment on 1/6/2010. I said that's great but I have a receipt that shows I bought the items on 12/31/2009. Anyway to cut a long story short, her position was this:
  • If I had used any other credit card, merely submitting a claim with my receipt showing 12/31/2009 would have been good enough to get the claim processed in the correct year
  • However, since I used my PayFlex MasterCard, they have to go by the processing date from CVS. So essentially, by using their debit card I am subject to the whims of CVS.
Took me a while to explain the absurdity of that point of view. Eventually, she left, consulted with others and came back with "You have to file an appeal by fax". Yes by fax. In 2010.

I understand the need for organizations to have systems but I hate that people seem to surrender their ability to think. At least in this case, they had a procedure, albeit one that relied on archaic technology, in place. The last time this happened to me, I spent an hour on the phone with VA's DMV trying to make the woman see that their system was wrong. In the end, I got a letter of apology, a free record of my driver's license history and a massive headache.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Teenage Years Cometh

If you're lucky, a few days after your twins are born, the hospital just let's you walk out with them. In fact, they insist you take them with you. No training, no classes, no probation...they really just let you walk out with 2 humans. #fatherhood — Tundey A. (@realtundey) November 28, 2021 This was me 12 years ago: And now look at them. In a little over 6 months, they'll be teenagers!   Every time I look at them, I am reminded of Obama's quote on being a parent:  "One of my favorite sayings about having children is it's like having your heart walking around outside your body." — @POTUS — White House Archived (@ObamaWhiteHouse) October 21, 2015

Does InfoPath (still) suck?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post titled "InfoPath & SharePoint (Part 1)". Back then I had just started working on a project using InfoPath 2007. So, expectedly, the post wasn't very complimentary to InfoPath (or SharePoint). In fact, I said: InfoPath sucks and SharePoint is the most expensive piece of crap ever. InfoPath, as a development environment, has absolutely no redeeming value. It's worthless.... ( more ) Since then my opinion of InfoPath has changed slightly. It still suffers from all the flaws I pointed out in that post. However, I think when used right, InfoPath can be an OK tool. I think it's well suited for designing one off forms and not for anything that requires complex logic or multiple iterations (like most software development requires). Alas, most CTOs fall in love with its point & click simplicity and integration with SharePoint that they try to use it to replace more developed technologies like ASP.NET. What do you get? A h

How long should a blog post be?

A couple of times, people have accused me of writing really long blog posts. While I know that I have written some long ones , I think a blog ought to be more than a tweet or a facebook status update. This has been a problem for me because sometimes I want to write about a topic but I either can't quite write enough about it to justify making it a blog post or I just don't have the time to flesh out all my thoughts. So my blogger dashboard is littered with several unfinished blog posts that I started but didn't finished. For example, I had some really strong opinions on the Trayvon Martin case (back before Zimmerman was arrested). Mostly it was about how the case resonated with minority males (especially fathers) in a way in which non-minorities can't fathom. Not because they are insensitive but because they just can't do it. It's like expecting a 3rd world military dictator to understand the US Constitution. Oh yeah, where was I? Right, about writing really l