I must say that I am quite disappointed with a new local taxi company that started up in 2010. I had used them several times and never had a problem. I liked that they were able to get going, despite some underlying bad blood with the original two companies, and deal with the customers and give them what they wanted for years (example, Interac option). However, I was very dismayed the other day to discover that the owner decided to put his phone line through to an overseas company! WHAT? I had 3 minutes left on my prepaid cell phone and wanted a cab home from my grocery store.
I called and said what I always have for many, many years "Can I have a taxi to Safeway at the Mall?". The woman said "okay hold on" in a very thick accent. Then she said "Is your number blah blah blah?" (something new, Ive only been asked that in severe weather situations), to which I replied Yes. Then she said "one moment please" and I was already thinking "what the hell is this??".... then she said "Okay so is that the Safeway on the south hill?" and I said "NO! At the mall!" as I am listening to my phone beeping that a minute has gone by. She then says "What is the street address of the Safeway you need?". I do not know the street address - I never have lol. There is only one mall in my city. There are 3 safeways. Mine is at 'the mall'. The two minute beep went off and she again said "I have a Safeway on" blah blah 6th street or whatever.
I got upset, knowing my phone was going to die in less than 30 seconds, so I said (quite rudely, I fully admit) "What the hell country did I just phone????? I am never calling this company again!" and I hung up and then went to the payphone and called another cab company instead.
I got home and wrote an email to the owner. I have not had a reply. I told him that while he might have thought it would save a few bucks instead of hiring a local dispatcher, this is not Calgary or Edmonton or Toronto. It's a small city and people should be able to call and ask for a simple cab ride that does not take 2.5 minutes of phone call to complete. I am SO glad I did not spend $20 on their client card which would have given me a discount on all future rides because I would have lost that 20 bucks down the drain. I also told him that I am NOT impressed my pre-paid cell phone number is now in the hands of an overseas company that I have no way of knowing the ethics policy of. I don't mind the local cab company having my number on file, but I would rather not have someone in a far overseas country tucking it away for future swapping and dealing.
I am all for businesses to run how they like. I am not going to ask the City that they mandate how this guy answers his phones, but could he not have used a little common sense?! Seriously - Alberta has been hit by job losses and hiring out to Bangladesh or something is not going to win him any long term customers. I was very disappointed in his decision and I hope that when the contract he probably signed with them is up, he goes back to locals who actually know what they are talking about.
Of course in the long run, I guess I can thank govt regulations for their help in the matter. Raising minimum wage every time we turn around, fiddling with the system left and right, and even threats of unions drawing their black cloaks around everyone - all of that leads to companies outsourcing their phone lines and even product. I understand this new dude wanted to try something else, it probably saved him some cash - but he has lost more than one regular customer because of it (I have since heard others' complaints) and in the long run - he might actually lose money instead of gain.