Annals of Appalling Customer Service

Ever since UM switched employees to Humana, I've tried, when we needed some sort of medicine, to use the online pharmacy for mail-order delivery. Cranking up mail-order delivery is a pain as you have to fill out a form and mail (not fax) them the actual prescription. It's supposed to be cheaper. And, once you have it in their system, refills should be easy, just use the web form.

Not.

I've gotten the same error message Every. Single. Time. Over a six-month period.

This feature is currently unavailable. Please check back with us again shortly.

You may also contact our Customer Service Representatives at the number listed on the back of your ID Card.

So yeserday when I got the emailed reminder to go to the web site to order a refill and AGAIN it didn't work, I called customer service not just to order my refill by phone but to find out why their pharmacy is always down at any time of day or night. I had to speak to three people, the last of whom said a fourth would call me back. (Humana's online presence may be appalling but their telephone customer service people are actually unusually nice and even at times very helpful. They're certainly better than most computer companies.)

And indeed, someone did call me back in less than half an hour. But she couldn't reproduce the error. Yet, I could. “What version of IE are you using?” she asked. “I'm not,” I explained. And that, it seems is The Problem. And there's no work-around except to use IE. And they've known this for a long time.

I think in this day and age, with Firefox having a significant market share, and IE so notoriously insecure, it's pretty bad not to support Firefox. But why I'm blogging this complaint is that nowhere on the web site, no not even in the error message do they explain what the problem is. It would not be hard to detect the browser and say, sorry, our site only works with IE. It would have saved me and no doubt countless others a lot of time and frustration.

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12 Responses to Annals of Appalling Customer Service

  1. Mojo says:

    Bill Gates is the devil. And Humana is the HMO of Hell. (Although I agree that their telephone customer service reps are unusually nice and helpful.)

  2. scott says:

    It’s horrible, lame, and unsurprising.

    Have you tried User Agent Switcher?:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/59

  3. aidan says:

    Michael you were trying this for SIX months!? I run Firefox and I’ve run into this glitch a few times on sites. When results aren’t forthcoming I always switch browsers (to the dreaded IE) and bingo. What bugs me is they don’t post WORKS WITH IE ONLY in bold upper case, in order to save customers time and trouble.

  4. aidan says:

    Michael you were trying this for SIX months!? I run Firefox and I’ve run into this glitch a few times on sites. When results aren’t forthcoming I always switch browsers (to the dreaded IE) and bingo. What bugs me is they don’t post WORKS WITH IE ONLY in bold upper case, in order to save customers time and trouble.

  5. Gaylad says:

    Another recommendation for User Agent Switcher here. My bank’s site at least has the good sense to detect the browser and say that IE is required.

    But, of course, IE is NOT required. I just use UAS to have my browser (Firefox) lie to the site that it’s really IE.

    Works like a charm…

  6. Michael says:

    I usually do stuff like this around midnight, after I’m too tired to work. And customer service isn’t open then. And during the day, I tend to forget, or be in a rush and just order the refill and let the other stuff go.

  7. pink bunny of battle says:

    And so here again we meet the fundamental dilemma of social science.

    Do we behold:

    (1) conspiracy

    Humana has no interest in processing claims; therefore, even CGI Joe is instructed to weave deeply confusing bits into the code;

    Or,

    (2) incompetence

    We have a reached a level of social evolution in which we rely on ultra large-scale systems, which (by definition) are unstable, liable to normal accidents, pervaded by institutionalized incompetence, and worse.

    — He who was once known as the Pink Bunny of Battle, until he turned Blue (2004)

  8. If you haven’t already, give IE Tab a try.

  9. knalaska says:

    making life easier is probably not a priority for humana. driving potential expenses away is. frustrate a persosn enough and they give up, even one of the above commenters shows this human weakness. Companies know that with enough hassle most people will just give up and go away. You showed unusual persistance. good on you.

  10. Michael says:

    Not to defend Humana, which is odious in other ways, but surely it’s cheaper for them If I use the web than if I call in the refill (which is what I’d been doing in the past)?

  11. Joe says:

    Michael:

    Why bother? If UM has a contract with Humana, and Humana doesn’t provide all of the services promised in the contract, why don’t you just firmly declare a breach of the contract and move on? After all, there must be other faculty members of all of the schools at UM who had the same problem.

    Joe

  12. Brett Bellmore says:

    Gaylad has identified the flaw in the way you state it: “it’s pretty bad not to support Firefox.”

    It’s not that they don’t “support” Firefox. They anti support Firefox. There’s something in the code that’s actively looking to see what browser you’re using, and refusing to function if it’s not Microsoft’s.

    It’s a conspiracy, but Humana is as much a victim of it as you are. They were sold deliberately crippled software.

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