Hold music, testy customer service reps and complicated advice are unappealing to most, but a crew of good Samaritans want to bear the brunt for those in need.
Calling themselves A**holes on Demand, Erin Scottberg and Erik Martin are working with a growing list of volunteers who are willing to help anyone — but especially senior citizens, active duty military personnel and non-English speakers — with frustrating customer service calls and confusing websites.
“We’re like the X-Men, but for a**holes!” the site explains.
Martin said that almost 100 people, mostly from around the New York City area, have signed up to help people around the country struggling with cable and credit companies alike within days of launching on Dec. 5.
Some of them brag about having successfully dealt with Time Warner, others have survived calls with Con Edison. All of them, however, are willing to lend a hand to others at no charge.
The idea came about when Martin, 36, said he was put through wringer by a health insurance company in late October. He took to Twitter to half-jokingly ask for volunteer a**holes and was soon connected with Scottberg.
“I started to think about about all the people out there who don’t have the means or ability or savviness to tweet at a company or search for customer service numbers,” Martin said.
“A few of my friends told me about that tweet and immediately I said that was a great idea,” said Scottberg, 31, who built a reputation for herself for helping friends out of similar problems.
The two hope to pair requests for help with volunteers who can help with a Google search, share their own experience or jump in on a call.
“I was surprised not only by the number of volunteers, but how excited how they were to help other people,” Martin said.
And despite the project’s name, Scottberg advised that anyone who might be stuck on the phone with a customer service representative, not actually be an a**hole.
“That old saying that you catch more flies with honey is true,” she said. “The person you’re talking to is just doing their job. But remain steadfast on what you want and keep eyes on prize.”