Yesterday I had to call the Internet.
No, really. I had to call Yahoo. I had to call Yahoo on the telephone. The more I think about this, the more strange it seems. You don’t simply call Yahoo; that’s absurd in the year of our Web, 2011 – heresy even (I did call Yahoo with Skype though, which makes it slightly less so).
Of course, I could have conducted my business with Yahoo via email, and I’m sure my problem would have been addressed eventually. But I’m not a patient man; if I have flaw – one among many, actually, but if there is one thing I could actually change, it would be my lack of patience. A lack that multiplied exponentially and consequently scattered about the room in its component parts when shot through a prism of anger in the small hours of the morning.
I wanted to renew my Flickr Pro account. Even though my photography has been languishing as of late, and will for the immediate future before it becomes remedied with a new camera body and lenses – damn you Saigon pickpocket; damn you to Hell! – I wished to maintain my Pro account. I went to Flickr – owned by Yahoo – logged in and proceeded to renew it. I filled out the information, double-checked the number on my credit card, expiration date, that little number on the back, etc. and so forth. Yahoo proceeded to tell me that my information wasn’t correct.
I double checked my address and phone no. Tried again. Yahoo says it’s not correct. I tried this no less than 14 times; in addition to being impatient, I am also stubborn to a fault – two character traits that do not exactly complement one another, to be sure. At one point I logged into my bank and looked up my account information just to make sure that I wasn’t being an idiot, and I was not; all my info was correct. It was when I happened to be logged into my account that I noticed 14 pending transactions for $24.95 for Flickr Pro …
It is a testament to the structural efficacy of the arteries and veins in my brain that I live to write this. Surely if there was an arterial weakness somewhere in my head, presaging a bloody aneurysm, it would have burst at this moment, this paroxysm of frothy red anger. It is also fortunate that
- a) I currently have no upstairs neighbors, because I would have wakened them my shouted curses;
- b) That there were no small, annoying yapper dogs in the room, as I surely would have kicked them.
Not that I condone violence against animals; quite the opposite in fact. I’ve even been known to march on behalf of their rights. I was just that angry. It is also fortunate that I have never been exposed to an excessive amount of gamma radiation; as I undoubtedly would unleash the green inner beast.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have tried to repeatedly renew my Flickr Pro account, true, but then there was nothing leading me to believe that the transaction was actually being processed.
Calling Yahoo 5-600
In my anger, email would not suffice. I wanted to speak to a human being. I would not harangue them, I would not abuse them – but I wanted to to speak to a human being, in real time. I wanted shit sorted, RFN. While you will not find a customer service number anywhere on Yahoo’s multiple sites, a quick Google – yes, dripping with irony, this – for the terms customer service, billing and Yahoo reveals a blog posting from someone with a similar issue from 2006, along with a number for Yahoo. A further search of Flickr’s user forum reveals the same number posted by an actual Flickr forum admin.
Unfortunately, it was, by this time, the small quiet hour before dawn – when it’s darkest, if the literary clichés have it truthfully – Eastern Daylight Savings Time. No one was home at Yahoo Customer Service. This is the price one pays for being a creature of the night. No one is ever up and doing business when you are.
The next afternoon, however, yielded results, once I arose from my crypt. I actually talked with a human being at Yahoo Customer Service. The automated response that answers the initial call actually names billing for Flickr Pro problems by name, among others, among its options; this is, perhaps, telling.
Anyway, according to Ms. Yahoo – who was very nice, incidentally – while these charges would show up on my bank account, she assured me they would drop off after several business days; the final processing of the 14 charges would not be completed because the verification had failed. Indeed, if I log into Flickr it shows me as still being a Flickr amateur, and asks me to renew my Pro account.
It seems Yahoo is still convinced that I don’t actually live where I do. This apparently stems from the fact that I have old, expired cards in my Yahoo Wallet – I didn’t even know there was such a thing until my conversation with Ms. Yahoo – with my old address in it. Even though I was trying to use a new card with my new address, this conflicted with the old data stored deep in the bowels of Yahoo’s servers and causing the consequent conundrum. At least I think this is what happened; Ms. Yahoo couldn’t say.
Maybe it was gremlins. Maybe it was a ghost in the machine; perhaps I inadvertently upset Motoko somehow and this was her revenge on me. And I find it curious that even though I never signed up for, or consented to use Yahoo Wallet, Yahoo has apparently squirreled my financial info away whenever I paid my annual fee for Yahoo Mail Plus (but apparently not Flickr).
But this is life in the modern age, I suppose. Live by the electronic transaction, die by the electronic transaction.
Anyway, my actual point in recording all this – aside from my own edification, as always – is to put this out there in the digital ether for the next poor bastards that find themselves in a similar situations and decide to go the impatient route – and call Yahoo. So, without further ado, here is the Yahoo billing customer service phone number:
In the meantime, I still haven’t managed to update my Flickr account, and at this point … not sure I want to. Methinks it might be time to investigate alternatives and vote with my dollars.