Security Theater

More than three weeks ago today Everaldo Canuto gave me his Nokia N800 developer discount code after discovering that he would not be able to use it. He is definitely more deserving of this device than I am and I really feel bad that he wasn't able to order it. On the other hand he didn't have to go through more than three weeks of trouble to get it ordered.

When I first ordered the device the website accepted the coupon code and my credit card and then said that something went wrong and I needed to call them to get it resolved. To make a long and boring story short: this went on for weeks. They got the code reset and tried again several times. I had direct phone numbers to their sales manager and a few supervisors. In the end they finally got something straightened out and they called me during the several hours wait for commencement to place the order. This was on Thursday exactly three weeks from the first attempt, I was told the shipping would be two business days. But the fun didn't stop there. . .

Saturday I got an email from Nokia's order fulfillment partner LetsTalk:

Dear Customer,

Please call us at the telephone number below as soon as possible. Your order cannot be shipped out until we obtain additional information from you.

Sincerely,

Customer Service

So I called and was presented with the biggest load of BS I've had to deal with in a long time. They said they needed to ask me a few questions to verify my identity to prevent fraudulent orders. Immediately I knew this wasn't going to be good. How could they possibly establish my identity beyond the fact that my credit card matched the name and shipping address I gave them. They asked me three questions:

  1. Who did you purchase the property at [...] from?

  2. Can you give me one of the previous addresses you lived at in [...]?

  3. How old is [...]?

To each of these questions I responded with an infuriated complaint at the utter stupidity of trying to verify someone's identity by comparing their answers with public records. If I am trying to impersonate Andrew Jorgensen and I've succeeded far enough to have not only an American Express card but also a new home in his name it would be a very small thing for me to pay for a public record search on the guy so that I can answer these kinds of questions.

To top it all off I got the answer to #3 wrong. I tried to count up in two to three year intervals from myself through my older siblings but I somehow skipped one.

In any case the device just arrived and I'm grateful to finally end that saga. I also left a message for James, the sales manager at Nokia, telling him how LetsTalk is ripping him off and harassing his customers for no reason.

Everaldo, I owe you one. If you ever need a favor from someone in Utah, USA please let me know.

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