Friday night I called the insurance company to make a claim and pay the $50. When the agent asked me if it was lost or stolen, and I said I wasn’t sure. I had it one moment, I didn’t have it the next, but I couldn’t say whether someone took it or it fell in a trash can somehow. Then he asked me if I had already filed a police report about the incident. I laughed out loud and said of course I hadn’t. He said he couldn’t complete my claim until he had the case number, officer’s name and badge number, and I hung up on him.
I spent the rest of the weekend playing out the conversation in my mind that was going to take place when I called up the Las Vegas PD’s Special Missing Cell Phones Division and alerted them to this latest baffling case that certainly would burden the already overworked crack team of cell phone sleuths combing the strip. They've assigned four more detectives to the case…got us working in shifts!
I was mentally prepared for the call by Monday morning when I got to work. There was a voicemail, however, from the insurance company’s automated system telling me that there has been a change to my claim and I should go online with my claim number to find out where it stands. I log on, and the website says the claim on my lost cell phone has been approved so all I need to do is give my credit card number and I’ll have a replacement the next business day. No case number, no badge number, no embarrassing call to the LVPD. My tracking information says my phone will be at my apartment after 3pm.
During the obscene amount of time I spent on hold waiting to talk to the button-presser who told me to call the police, a recording cheerfully told me I could visit their website for more help and information bladdity blah blah and I just got annoyed because I assumed the website would run me around in circles and eventually tell me to call this number like so many customer service websites do.
Remember: they want to talk to you as little as you want to talk to them. Calling 800 numbers should be your last resort. Make sure you can’t accomplish what you need without speaking to another human being before you try, or you may just end up doing something stupid.