the Telecharge site sucks – a mild rant

images-1Last night I spent more than 15 minutes attempting to buy two theater tickets on Telecharge.  I could be wrong but I believe Telecharge was one of the earlier companies on the web.  Makes total sense.  Why employ an entire group of people to answer the phone when you could build a totally user friendly streamless system online.   You could even have your own account and make life even easier.  Transactions could take place often and quickly.

I do have an account at Telecharge.  Here are the 5 security questions they asked me to get thru the firewall after entering my log- in ID 3 times until it took.

1 – what is your favorite color?  2 – what was the street you grew up on?  3 – where did you grow up?  4 – what was your first pets name? 5 – what is your favorite food?

I want to ponder those questions considering I had to answer them probably over a decade ago.  Hmm.  Favorite color?  I guessed.  I grew up on several streets so I wasn’t sure which one.  I grew up in several places too so that was a reach.  I can’t remember my first pets name.  My favorite food?  Depends on the season and the week.   Who the hell came up with these questions?

Let’s move on.  I finally figured it out and I ended up having to enter numbers 4 times to prove that I was an actual person.  Then I got the tickets and moved forward.  Question before paying was where was I staying and the number so they could reach me if something was changed.  Hmmm.  Well I live in NYC so I put in home and my number.  Did not work.  I put in I want to pick up the tickets at the theater.  Did not work.  Then I entered a random hotel and my cell and that did not work either.  At this point I had been on the site for 10 minutes and decided to call.

I called and got a very snippy man on the phone.  He told me that he could not find the seats that I wanted because now they were locked in the system for another 10 minutes even though I did not purchase them.  OMG.  I told him how frustrated I was with the site so he put me through to customer service.  A super nice woman who understood where I was coming from.  That took some time though because she had to enter everything in.  Arrrghh.

20 minutes plus I got my tickets.  Here is the only bonus.  When she told me that they have a deal with AMEX and they can actually use my miles if I wanted and I loved that.  Have miles that I never use.  Maybe more theater tickets in my future this year but my concern is that my blood pressure will go through the roof having to deal with the transaction.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Laura Yecies

    Maybe they are managed by the same people who run Comcast?

    1. Gotham Gal

      ha. exactly!!

  2. Jeff Jones

    What show are you going to see? I recently went to see Hedwig and really enjoyed it. NPH was excellent as Hedwig.

    1. Gotham Gal

      This Is Our Youth

  3. WhoKnows

    I like to use the wrong information for favorite food, name of first pet etc. That should make it harder for someone who knows me to guess & strangely make it easier for me to remember.

  4. LE

    I have an idea, that I want someone else to do, that I call “tell ceo”.It would essentially be a way to make, verify, and forward comments and critique such as yours and have it end up in the right place. The CEO. Because you know it’s really hard to believe that they would let things like this happen if they weren’t as shielded from it as they are.(I’ve had cases where I’ve written to people about things that bothered me and in one case was offered a free dinner as a thank you.)The trick is really making it a useful service for the company receiving the critique. So the filter mechanism is important so they aren’t bothered with useless trivia but it would allow them to keep on top of things. (They would pay to receive the info after the usefulness was proven by a few samples..)All of us run into these things every day. But there isn’t really a channel to complain and most people aren’t going to take the time to write some anonymous email account.Note: When I was a kid I know of a few larger retail stores that would post the telephone number of the President with a “we want to know what is wrong”. In every case the sign eventually disappeared. My guess is that they received an endless stream of people wanting exceptions to some company policy that they had already decided they needed to do. However “surly service” is never a company policy nor is “not find the seats that I wanted because now they were locked in the system for another 10 minutes” – almost guaranteed they’d want to know something like that.

    1. Gotham Gal


      1. LE

        One time my cable and internet went out on New Years day. So when I got on the phone with Comcast, after they told me to pound sand, and that they didn’t have someone (it was a holiday) I did this:I told them that I had graduated in the same class as Brian Roberts (was true) and that last time I had to call his secretary (not true) and that she was able to get something fixed for me. About 20 minutes later an area supervisor called (from his cell phone) and apologized and said someone would be out there that day. New Years day. And they were. I have a video on an old cell phone of it somewhere (was mid 2000’s). And they actually replaced outdoor cable and had a crew to do it (was a big deal). Then they said they would return to replace some other cable as well that week. But I had my service.Key to it was being convincing over the phone which I was. I never threatened either I just was really casual in dropping the info that made them take action.

  5. LE

    Here are the 5 security questions they asked meHave to point out that security wise it’s a bad thing to answer these questions directly. Instead, and unfortunately, you really need to make up random answers and then (unfortunately) store those random answers where you can find them if you need them.Most sites ask variations of the same questions. Consequently if a site is hacked (and it will be) they will know “your mothers maiden name” or “your elementary school” handily placed right next to your name and phone number. They can then use that somewhere else.As an aside I know of someone who was going through a divorce and then was able to easily gain access to someone’s email account by simply knowing some answer to one of those standard questions. (oldest cousins name or something like that..).

  6. P.K. Fields

    Security questions, I was helping my Mom with her iphone she had set up another one awhile ago. We had to call Apple as she didn’t remember her password. They asked: What what was her first school? She didn’t remember. Her first teacher’s name? She didn’t remember, Her first car? She didn’t remember. It could have been a scene from Seinfeld.

    1. Gotham Gal

      that’s hilarious and frustrating at the same time.