I’m Not Paying These Piggies

That’s MiMi and a good time to look at my phone.

I’ve been fairly transparent here on No Facilities that I am an IT (eye-tea) guy. I manage the department that buys, configures, installs and develops and supports software for our company’s servers, computers, iPhones, iPads and phones.


Yes, phones. As in Voice Mail. Yes, I’m the guy, well, historically, I have been the guy who programs our company voice mail system.

Don’t hate me.

Our voice mail isn’t horrible.

What defines ‘not horrible’ these days? Well, for one, if you don’t know the extension of the person you want to talk to, you can say their name. It works pretty well, even with a name like mine that is pronounced differently from the way it is spelled. And, if you don’t even know the person’s name, you can speak to a human being. You can ask to speak to a human. You can dial ‘0’ to speak to a human being, or you can remain on the line and a human being will answer. If you call after our office is closed, you can leave a message – with – a – human – being.

It almost makes you want to buy our insurance, doesn’t it?

Why am I telling you this?

Because, I’m mad.

I received an automated call from “piggy boats” seeking payment of an overdue invoice. Piggy Boats isn’t a real company, but it’s how our voice mail system’s ‘Speech-to-text’ option interpreted the name of the real company that left the message. I’ll keep their name out of this, except to say that they make postage machines. I don’t need to use their real name. As far as I’m concerned, they are Piggy Boats from this day forward.

Piggy Boats sent us an invoice for $96. We didn’t know what the invoice was for. After crawling through their 100% non-human voice mail system, I hung up and sent an email to the woman who negotiated the lease for the postage machine. The cost was for insurance.


Yes, insurance. If your building is destroyed by fire, we need to know that our postage meter will be covered by insurance.”

$96 a month? According to the commercials on ESPN, I can get $50,000 of term life insurance for less than that. Besides, we have insurance on everything in our office.”

I sent my Piggy Boats salesperson the name of our insurance company, the policy number and some other insurancy stuff. She verified the existence of the policy and told me that she would take care of the invoice.

Which is now overdue.

The speech-to-text technology isn't perfect
The speech-to-text technology isn’t perfect

The voice mail I received from Piggy Boats included a phone number that I could call to pay our bill with a credit card. I called the number, with the hope of being able to correct or at the very least complain about this matter.

No – such – luck.

Piggy Boats’ voice mail system is impenetrable. You can pay an invoice, or you can request a copy of an invoice, but you can’t dispute an invoice or ask a question about an invoice, or ask a question at all.

I tried pressing ‘0’ – “OK, let’s start over.”

I tried saying: “Representative” “Operator,” and “Human effing being!” – “I don’t understand, please press ‘1’ for Billing.”

I pressed one for billing, which is how I know I can pay an invoice or get a copy of an invoice, but not speak to a human being. Not even an unhelpful human being in a far-away land.

I could make our voice mail system impenetrable. I know how. I could program it to sit silent when you ask for an operator. I could reroute you to the main menu. I could hang up on you if you say: “operator” “representative” or “human effing being!”

I could.

Instead, we pay a small amount of money, less than the amount that term-life policy would cost, to have some nice human beings in Florida answer your call.

To all my fellow voice mail people: “There should always be an option to let your money-paying customers speak to a human being!

I emailed my salesperson, the one who’s going to regret talking me into leasing this machine, and I dropped this mess into her lap. Maybe she can find a human being.

For the record, my use of the term “Piggy Boats” is in no way meant to offend, insult, or cause any upset to piggies, or boats. As the gallery shows, I like both piggies and boats.


  1. Now my Monday is started off on the right foot. I LOVE Piggy Boats and have no trouble with the interpretation. I think you hit on the subject of customer service, or lack of, that all of us have had to deal with and are frustrated by. You are lucky because you have the current experience and knowledge to allow you to recognize such a blatant scam. But, then you brought closure with some beautiful photos. The row boat, third from the last, is my very most favorite. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re on board with me, Judy (pun, kinda intended).At least I have a new name for them. So many of these kinds of bills just get processed through the routine mechanisms in companies. It’s scary how hard it is to stop being charged for something you didn’t order and were never told you would be charged for.

      That row boat is in a pond behind a working water-powered flour mill near Ipswich. From my brief visit to England about 4 years ago. It’s one of my favorites, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems to me that at that insurance rate, you could buy the damn machine.
    … and how it is they can tack on a charge that wasn’t agreed to in the contract?
    Their lack of basic customer service appears to say it all – they’re pigs trying to sink your boat.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ha ha – good observation, Joanne. I’m sure the language that allows them to charge this is buried in the contract, somewhere. But they never asked me to show proof of insurance, until we questioned the charges. This was a lease renewal. So, yeah, at $97 a month, I think I could buy a 3-yr-old postage meter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t even begin to tell you how much our department dislikes Piggy Boats and the frustration I went through and time spent with a prior postage machine company over billing. The prior company tried to charge $2,000 in late fees at one time. No, we were not late. They gave customers a very narrow margin for payment, which meant we could never be on time. I fought to get those late fees removed and eventually found a live person who sympathized.

    Most of our offices have gone to on-line postage services, like Stamps.com, that have minimal cost. It might be a little extra work, but it’s a time-saver in that we no longer have to deal with Piggy Boats. I hear very little to no complaining now about postage machines, billing and late fees.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love the fact that if you cuss them out over the phone in response to one of their inane questions (or so I hear), they are programmed to say, “I’m sorry. I did not understand your answer. Let’s try again.” Hitting that “0” cannot come quick enough. This is nuts. Haha! Send them down here Florida–I’ll answer your calls!

    Liked by 2 people

    • They didn’t even have a human being call me. I listened to the voice mail, and it’s a recording/automated voice. Not even a real piggy! Yeah, “Let’s start over…” was met with “Let’s not!”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I recall how happy I was to learn that pressing “0” was a way of short-circuiting the, um, circuit, and a way to get to a human type. I also recall feeling betrayed when the “0” didn’t work – I uttered some foul words that day, trust me.

    This kind of dystopian tangle gives me the willies. It’s a nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a nightmare, Maggie. When they don’t even acknowledge the possibility that they might be wrong. Especially with something as suspect as unexplained and overpriced insurance. They should hope that they never need a recommendation from us.


  6. How frustrating those type of call numbers are! Quite some time ago there was a list put out that had numbers for a whole lot of major and not so major companies that listed the phone number to reach a live person rather than the custom service center that never let you talk to a real live human being. I have it on my hard-drive, but it’s so old now I bet all if not most of the numbers on it are no good. I wonder if there’s been a new list put out in cyberland?

    That little row boat in the canal with its reflection is just lovely! As is the salvaged sail boat, and a conference activity on a sailboat sounds fun and creative.

    I smiled and nodded when I saw you found cranes in Ipswich. :) Lastly, I like the scale and contrast between the sailboat, and cruise ship.

    I hope the call to your insurance company gets everything taken care of with Piggy Boats too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah. The row boat is one of my favorite photos. I should have given it a more prominent position, but WP galleries aren’t the easiest things to manipulate. I also have a better piggies photo, somewhere…

      Last fall, you could reach a human if you just hung on the line and said nothing. They seem to have “corrected” that. I haven’t heard from our sales rep. I guess the only choice I have is to wait until a human being calls me. I remember a list like you describe, but I’d bet they plugged all of those loopholes, or laid off all of those people. What a way to treat long-term customers.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I hate those automated answering systems. What if your question doesn’t fit into any of the categories listed? What if being trapped in an endless electronic loop gives you nightmares? Just get me to a human being who can answer a simple question, dammit. By the time I’ve trolled through all the recorded options – usually several times – I’m willing to speak to anyone, even someone who normally speaks a different language and has trouble understanding mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So you set up the voice mail system, eh?

    Tell me then, are you one of those horrible people that make us listen to terrible tracts of music that sound like they were produced by a flood ravaged speaker from a 1973 Chevrolet Vega while we wait for a person to talk to us?

    Oh hell, I know you, you couldn’t be THAT terrible. :) :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, I can say I never did that. As bad as that music is, you have to pay for it in order to “broadcast” it. The best option ever was offered by a company I wrote about last year, whose voice mail system said: “A representative will be with you in – 5 – minutes. To wait in silence, press 2.” That’s someone that needs to be cloned!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I do believe the entire interior of my home, basically everything we own, including those (‘extra insurance for’ items) are insured for less than $96 a month. Pthththbbbbt on Piggy Boats!

    As a human employee who spends a fair chunk of her working time dealing with phone menus, I second the horrors of not not being able to speak to another human. I’ve recently dealt with a department that does not allow incoming calls. I have their direct number, but when called, a voice specifically gives directives to other voice mailboxes depending on my reason — the last option is that if my reason was not listed, I may fax a request for a phone call. FAX A REQUEST FOR A PHONE CALL. I faxed my request for a phone call and a human did call me. Still, I kinda hate that department.
    I get super excited when a human answers a phone. I really do.
    And if you call our office, a human will answer, 24/7. It won’t always be the desired human, but then that human will tell other humans and…

    Excellent post :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Fax a request for a phone call? That’s ridiculous. I think I’d kinda hate them. Piggy Boats doesn’t even offer that option :(

      I do get excited when I call and a human answers. It’s like winning phone lottery.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Speak, Dan, Speak. Companies that refuse to provide a real human option when you call them should not survive. Next up on the list … companies that make it almost impossible to find contact information on their websites. No, I don’t want to send a message via your contact form because I know that chances are I’ll never hear from you and I want to talk to somebody about my problem now so the resolution process can start. Customer service. Who needs it? And then next up on the list … companies where each rep you talk to tells you something different. Had a question for my auto insurance company about a year ago. Every single rep I talked to told me something different. I’m still not sure if I ever got the right answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ROFLOL. Good one, Dan! Such a Pit(ne)y for that VM but I feel your pain. Sometimes getting your wish for hooman contact is no better when the customer service is out of the country and the hooman you get to speak to masks their accents but have no clue what you’re talking about. Your best bet would be to leave a VM message and say your check is in the mail via the postage from their machine and let them fight with the US Postal Service about lost mail. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha that would be good but I couldn’t even leave them voice mail. If I have to call again, I’m going to pretend I want to buy something and get some sales person all spun up. I’m pretty sure a warm body will pick up if they think I’m spending money.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I understand your point and pain. Enduring stupidity is worse than a horrible headache. I got my first ever credit card to register as a business account on PayPal. I bought nothing with it, but I got billed for 2000 bucks. I went to the bank but no one would listen. Finally the smart guy Mr Bank Manager said Sir you bought goodies on PayPal for which you used your credit card. I was like do you even know what PayPal is. I then asked him can you tell me what did I buy on PayPal. He looks into a long sheet and my credit card bill and says Sir it says the product is Classified. And I was like yeah I just bought a effing bazooka on PayPal. I went to his superiors and got the matter solved and told them to please hire professionals who can differentiate between PayPal and eBay. The manager called me and apologized and we amicably resolved our differences.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Just had a similar experience with a web hosting company…I change hosting services for my website last November….canceled the service with my prior hosting company….it has taken me up til yesterday to resolve the fact…all via email as there wasn’t anyway to talk to a human….ugh….and they wonder why I switched hosting companies….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Those IVR systems drive me crazy, especially when you have to use the keypad on the phone sometimes and speak other times, and I hate when I can’t figure out how to speak to a human being. I run into that a lot with health care companies.

    I think Piggy Boats is worried they’ll become unneeded with more people getting their bills online. $96 to insure a postage meter? Geez…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. These computerized voices are driving me nuts, Dan! It is getting harder and harder to speak to a HUMAN. I’m facing somewhat of a dilemma having been told a certain amount of money will be deducted from my charge card for my cloud storage. I don’t pay for cloud storage and never have I paid for it. I get a certain amount free on my phone and when I go over I refuse to pay. These scams, and these phony plastic voices drive me bananas! I understand why you are mad. Thank goodness you like boats and pigs to which I say I LOVED your gallery. Good luck with your dilemma! Exasperating our techo has become! Why oh why does everyone have to be so darn greedy???? <3

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Need more proof you like piggies. Funny, the middle offspring asked me if it was alright to go somewhere last night to see a piggy. I said I needed pictures and a story for my blog. The pictures were shown to me, but I have not received them via text or email.
    I must say, I greatly appreciate being able to talk to humans. Had a struggle to find one earlier today, but did FINALLY get one. Good luck with your quest for sane business practices.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And, how do you feel about the, Laura? It’s really inexpensive to put someone at the end of the line. Compared to the frustration you cause your customers? I’d think it would be worth it for everyone.


  17. Okay , Dan , first : calm down ! For all I know , the way things are going these days , the Piggie system my have been secretly developed by your company . Not that I’m blaming you . I’d check with the Florida phone people . See if they’ve heard any scuttlebutt . Some government agency has all the info , I’m sure . Unless, once again , it’s that overweight guy lying on his bed in the basement in New Jersey hoping for another sucker to sent him the money .( Glad I could help .)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I agree – wouldn’t pay! Unless there’s a possibility to send them an email, so you have it in black and white, and also give them a piece of your mind:).
    A random question: Do you know that your Gravator says that you’re a woodworker? But here you’re obviously an IT. Or are you both?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. My husband is usually the one working through the voice mail maze. He yells “customer service” and “representative” a lot and doesn’t sleep well at night. This sentence was the highlight for me: “There should always be an option to let your money-paying customers speak to a human being!”

    Liked by 1 person

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