Speedy Delivery

Last night, my wife was having some issues with her gaming laptop.  The one she bought when she needed a new portable computer and decided to get this fancy-schmancy one that can be used for gaming (or hacking mainframes I fervently believe) and is a behemoth.

For whatever reason, it was dragging in terms of doing what she needed for it to do online and she asked me if it was on the fastest connection we had.  I told her, no, it’s not.  For one thing, it’s on WI-FI through the house network, so it’s only able to go as fast as the wireless connection allows.  If it were connected via hardwire to the router, it would be able to utilize the faster connection the wire provides.  After checking the wireless connection I confirmed she was using the 2.4 GHz connection (Odin) instead of the 5 GHz connection (Loki) through the D-Link router.

She asked if I had the password to the faster connection.  Of course, the answer is yes, but I don’t have the password memorized.  I change the password every six months, so I can’t remember it each time, I don’t have that memory capacity, and have no desire to memorize thirteen character alpha-numeric plus special character passwords ad nauseam.  I have a password program that does the work for me.  I’ve been using it for ten plus years and it’s been working just fine for the jobs that I ask of it.  Too, I can access it from anywhere through my smartphone, so that makes it useful out in the world, whether I’m near or far from home.  So again, the answer was yes.  I just had to go get it.

Once I accessed the password and put it in, something rather odd happened.  The connection was faster than I expected it to be.  I checked the throughput of the SSID, and it was telling me the connection speed was 868.9 Mbps.  That wasn’t right.  I only say this because I’ve been paying for a 100 Mbps connection for the last four years, and while there’s an option through my provider for a 1 Gbps connection, that option is $15 more per month.

Being the curious sort, I went to my desktop computer that’s wired to the router and checked the speed there.  Sure enough, it was reading 1 Gbps.  Odd.  I checked the speed through an online speedtest and got the same result that I normally get, that the speed is somewhere between 75 and 90 Mbps.  Which makes me even more confuzzled, since that’s what I’ve been paying for.  I’m thinking there’s some sort of problem on my end, as I figure the ISP is correct, or else I would have gotten a bump up in my bill.  I highly doubt with the current world situation they would bump up everyone’s speed and put more stress on the system.  If anything it would be the reverse, they’d slow down everyone because so many more people are logging on at this time, with only certain people’s back at work physically and so many more are telecommuting from home.  Or outright not working and spending time streaming movies, or other things online to pass the time while we all wait for either a cure or the coronavirus to pass on.

Either way, it’s something new to keep an eye on.

Not cool Citibank, not cool

Over the last few days I’ve been attempting to re-acquire access to my online accounts using the laptop, since my desktop remains down for the count.  For the most part I’ve been successful, but my Citibank account has remained elusive in being accessible.  I encountered the first problem on Wednesday, when I attempted to log on, only to be told that there had been multiple failed attempts to access my account (more than likely by my continued efforts) and I needed to reset my password.

I went through the motions that the site said was necessary, having a code sent by text to my phone, and inputting it in the appropriate place when prompted.  At that point I was prodded to change my password and when I did, I was presented with a screen that said ‘the content you’re looking for doesn’t exist on our website’, or words to that effect.  I tried the same process twice more just to get the same response, so I shelved my efforts to another day.  Which turned out to be Friday.

Friday was the day that we were getting our vehicle (finally) inspected prior to the end of  our lease, so I had to be awake at 6:45 in order to make a call to the dispatch people to be certain the inspector was coming at the right time, to the correct place.  We’d been through the merry-go-round more than once with this and I wanted to be completely certain there weren’t any screwups this time.

After successfully handling that (vehicle came out clean, no issues) I took the time to call the 800 number referenced by Citibank when I was unable to access my account.  After navigating through the myriad of automated menus, I was finally able to speak to a real person.  I told the woman what my problem was, she asked for my checking account # and I told her that I wasn’t a member that had a bank account, I had a credit card.  “Oh,” she says, “you called the wrong number…this is the customer service arm for bank accounts.”  But…this is the number the website gave me.  She proceeded to apologize for the error on the website and transferred me over to the credit card customer service section.  Where I had to wait on hold for another 10 minutes.  No pleasant music on hold either, just dead air.

The next customer service rep asked for my account number and SS #, which I told her the account number but said I wasn’t willing to give out my social # over the phone.  She asked a challenge question and I answered it, these were preset when I originally set up the account 12 years ago.  Thank goodness for my password storage program, or I might never had remembered the Q&A.  But having been given the correct response, she asked what she could do to assist.  So I proceeded to relate my problem again.  To which she had no offering of assistance on her own, I was going to have to be bumped to the technical support people.  Wonderful.  I was beginning to get a little despondent of ever regaining access to my account.  The only lament I had been, my bill was due in about a week and I wasn’t completely positive I still had it on auto-pay, so if I had to do a transaction over the phone, they were going to charge me a fee to do so, because they always do.  It’s not convenient for me if you’re going to charge me more money for taking my money.

So it was back to holding.  And finally I reach tech support.  The woman who I spoke to this time, doesn’t have the information of why I called, but she does want to know my account # and social again.  I mention that I’ve already spoken to two different sections of her company and both have asked me the same questions and been rewarded with the proper responses.  She replies that she has no record of it, and do I want the help or not.  Seems a bit snippy to me, but what the hell, I wasn’t in a good mood at this point either.  So I give her the account #, and tell her I’m not obligated to give out my SS # and she accepts that.  Asks again my problem and I tell her.  She asks what browser I’m on.  Chrome, I reply.

Tech Support Lady: Do you have a different browser you can use?
Me: I have Microsoft Edge, but I’m not confident in its ability to do what I need it to do, which is why I have Chrome.
TSL: I see.  Can you try it anyway?
Me: Sure, but I don’t see the point.

I bring up Edge and attempt to go through the Citibank credit card website. I get the same result as when I was using Chrome. I relate it to the woman and she’s perplexed. Enough to mutter under her breath ‘It should work‘. I’m with you lady, it should have worked the first time.

She asks if I can delete my browsing history and cookies etc. from Chrome. I can, but I have to log out of Chrome so I don’t lose my history etc from all the other devices I use. She wants me to delete ALL of my browsing history, all the way back from when I first started using Chrome. Which admittedly was a while ago. I’m really not interested in losing all of that history. So I log out of Google on the laptop and proceed to delete the browsing history on that particular version of Chrome that’s running on the computer. And then Chrome crashes. Perfect. Have to reboot the computer so I tell the woman who it was going to take a while (truth), and if I needed further assistance I would call back. No sense me wasting her time while I’m waiting for an old Thinkpad to reboot. So I bid her good-bye and wish her a good day, anything to get her off the phone.

Needless to say once I rebooted, I still wasn’t able to access the account. I even tried to use the Citi app on my smartphone but every time I attempted to use either the old or new password, the app replied there was a ‘long wait time’ and kicked me out of the app. Finally this evening I tried a different laptop that hasn’t been used online in over a year. Again I got the same result, but this time I was able to change the password successfully. And when I did that, it all clicked and fell into place. I was logged on. About damn time. I checked my account, the auto-pay was active, so I didn’t have to worry about missing a payment after all. There was a blurb from Citi asking if I wanted to see if I qualified for a credit increase. Just for the hell of it, I clicked yes, answered their questions and was rewarded(?) with a $2300 increase in my limit. Granted the interest rate is still ridiculous, but just about any card is these days. Even if you’ve been a customer in good standing, the banks are inching up the rates little by little about every six months or so, knowing that people are inured to them with more debt so they don’t have a lot of recourse.

I certainly could have done without the merry-go-nowhere that I had to deal with, but anymore customer service is a crapshoot. I know many people who work in call centers, and they say that the people they deal with, have no patience. Well, when things go to shit and you get raked over the coals time and again, there’s a good reason. And this is coming from someone who works in the customer service industry.