This is an email I got yesterday from AT&T, who provides my cell service and my long-distance service. I'm not going to quote it in its entirety -- this is enough:
"You are requested to submit the balance of $0.00. Without payment in full by the due date, your access to all AT&T services billed under this account number may be interrupted. To avoid any service disruption, please pay the balance due by logging into AT&T BusinessDirect(sm) at https://www.att.com/loginnow and accessing "Pay your Bills"."
You can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on branding, marketing, advertising and all kinds of cheesy messages about how much you love your customers, complete with appropriately multiethnic models (black women with very light skin tones seem to be a big favorite these days) but doing something like this just makes it all a big waste of money. Yes, we are dealing here with a huge, indifferent, lumbering, badly run company, who, when the day is over, are not particularly bothered by the idiocy of sending a customer a threatening email demanding payment of nothing.
And, of course, it's going to be my job to get on the phone with these idiots and straighten it all out. Because I have nothing better to do.