Has anyone else had difficulty answering the new questions which are given to ‘authenticate’ you when you start a contract or new account?

The first time I came across this ‘new’ authentication practice was back in March when I was upgrading me cellphone contract with CellC. The entire process was pretty seamless, except when it got to the end. Just before handing my phone to me the cashier or contract sales guy told me I’d have to answer 5 basic questions just so that they know it is actually me who is upgrading.

My first thought was that it would be similar to when they ask you to verify your ID number on the phone so just nodded along. These questions are nothing like those. In fact, they kind of remind me of the little code boxes you have to fill in for most online forms, but the really difficult ones that you end up unable to read.

I failed the authentication first time around. I failed to prove to a machine that I am in fact me. How bad are the questions that I cannot answer them satisfactorily enough to prove that I am me while standing there with my old phone and ID book? Really?

It made me laugh at the time and I got another 5 questions which I managed to pass, but once I left I kept thinking about the ridiculousness of it. Besides the thought that we live in a country where this is what they think is needed as proof that you are who you say you are, how badly are the questions built?

I mean asking me if I have some random home loan when I don’t even own a house, or whether my current work telephone number is 011 xxx xxxx, which is in fact my old work number, does not prove anything. It just makes things difficult.

Needless to say I gave up last week when the final step of my Woolworths store card application ended with another round of 5 questions. I failed the first time and told them to cancel. It was ridiculous.

“Do you have an RCS Card?”
“Yes”
“Have you had it for 1 year and 7 months”
“umm… no. Not that long.”
“For more or less than 1 year?”
“Less”

“Do you have a contract with Nashua Mobile?”
“No… I did.”

“Do you have a number starting with 071…?”
“No.”

I mean WTF? I still don’t even know what I got wrong.

I asked the guy from CellC when I first experienced these questions what would happen if I didn’t get the second round right and he told me that he wouldn’t have been able to give me the phone.

Can you imagine that? “Sorry, you can’t have this phone because according to our system of stupid randomly generated crap, you aren’t who you say you are.”

I just can’t understand why a place like Woolworths would implement a system like that.

It was less painful going to the damn dentist. I was already frustrated because they had given me the run around before the questions, with two different people phoning me and telling me different things and going through the entire application (filled out online) all over again over the phone. The first person who called told me it would take 24 to 48 hours for activation, the second guy called to say he was activating it right now and I will be able to go into Woolies and get the store card immediately.

Um… no. That’s not quite how it works apparently. I went in to the store to be told it was pending. I was irritated enough by then and 3 days later I get a call just to let me know that it has been activated! Yay. All you need to do is answer 5 authentication questions….

Why is customer service so hard to get right?

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