It did not go well.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:02:42 AM): Hello, My name is Tech how may I assist you today?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:03:12 AM): So, my PSN account apparently cannot actually charge credit cards.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:03:46 AM): I’m sorry for any inconvenience that you are experiencing with your account, I'd be glad to look into this for you today.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:04:11 AM): Just to confirm we are working on the right account. Is the Online ID you entered at the beginning of the chat the account you need help with today?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:04:43 AM): Yes.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:04:49 AM): email@example.com
Me (3/26/2017, 9:05:11 AM): Here's an overview of the problem; I'm the reply on this thread:
Me (3/26/2017, 9:05:13 AM): http://community.us.playstation.com/t5/PlayStation-Network-Support/Can-t-add-funds-to-my-wallet/td-p/46204040
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:05:21 AM): Let me ask you, are you trying to make the purchase from the console, or from the website?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:05:56 AM): I've only tried to make the *purchase* from the console, but I can't add funds to my wallet from the website, either.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:06:22 AM): Thank you for that information. Allow me to access your account and verify the events log, hopefully there is no lock on the account. Please bear with me while I check this for you.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:07:46 AM): I'm curious: if there's some sort of lock on the account, shouldn't the error message say so? All I keep getting is the "invalid credit card - check your information carefully" error, which at this point is starting to make me kinda stabby.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:08:01 AM): Thank you for waiting. After verifying your account events, the system shows that there are some failed attempts to add funds. These can happen when for some reason, such as miscommunication between the bank and PlayStation Network, the payment instrument is not accepted and gets rejected. As result, the system locks the account for a certain period of time; this is strictly, for security reasons.
In this case I will be sending you an email with suggestions that should help you resolve the issue once the block has been lifted. Again, please do not attempt to change your card or make purchases until the lockout period has ended.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:08:30 AM): ...And how long does this lockout period last?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:08:45 AM): Since I apparently have no way of seeing that the account is/isn't locked?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:09:25 AM): In some scenarios the lock usually lasts from 24 to 48 hours depending on the number of attempts made, my best advice is to not to try within that period of time to not to extend the lock time frame.
My system shows that the last attempt was made on 03/25/2017 22:14:20 PDT
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:09:42 AM): In the meantime, let me provide you an option that does always work for these scenarios, and personally is my favorite one. You can add funds by purchasing a digital PSN card code. These can be purchased online and you get the code right away after completing the purchase online, and there are no extra fees:
All you will need to do is redeem the voucher by logging in and visiting the following link and click on “Redeem prepaid card”: https://account.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com
Me (3/26/2017, 9:10:23 AM): So, check me on this:
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:11:13 AM): Sure.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:12:01 AM): I had a card on file. I'd used it make a purchase back in... mid-February, I think. I tried it again a week or so back, and it said the card info wasn't valid. I finally sat down last night, re-entered the card data a couple of times, entered data for a completely different card, and now my account is locked *because of me trying to fix it*?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:12:54 AM): I realize you aren't responsible for your billing software, and I realize that sometimes these are actually issues with the banks, but that seems a bit...
Me (3/26/2017, 9:13:14 AM): ...well, infuriating, actually.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:13:49 AM): And that's leaving aside the issue where the system doesn't inform me that my account is locked.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:14:04 AM): Keep in mind that the credit card needs to support the AVS system the address on file for the card needs to be the same as the one on the PSN account, I will recommend you to verify with your bank if the card support the AVS sytem.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:14:39 AM): All right, I can ask them about that. But, again, the card *was* working.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:15:17 AM): How long have you been relying on this AVS?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:15:47 AM): I totally understand It could be there some type of restriction on the cards that maybe was not there before.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:16:13 AM): We used this system for a long time.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:16:21 AM): I’d like to know if you have any other question or request I could help you with.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:19:08 AM): Are you still there?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:19:34 AM): Yes, I do have a request. Could you forward this to you IT guys, or whoever handles the billing software? I quick stroll through the support forums suggests that while the numbers aren't huge, I'm not the only one having this problem. And if the system is going to lock my account for security purposes, it should tell me A) that it has done so, and B) when I can expect the lock to be removed. I should not have to guess. But honestly, given that those same credit cards work fine elsewhere, this looks to me like a problem with the billing system.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:19:52 AM): Do you know for sure that my account actually *is* locked? I mean, is that something you can see?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:20:42 AM): I really apologize for the inconvenience this lock can take 24-48 hours to be remove i will recommend you that you try once the time pass contact us back with case number XXXXXXXX.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:21:23 AM): So you *can* see that there's a lock on my account?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:21:41 AM): Correct.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:21:52 AM): Dear God.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:22:57 AM): All right. What happens when 48 hours has passed, and I try this again, and your system still refuses to process my credit card? I'm not real keen on taking the extra step to go purchase some sort of gift card, import that, and then purchase things. I put a credit card on file so I wouldn't have to do that sort of thing.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:24:01 AM): If the issue persist contact us back and will try to help you so far due to the lock on the account you will be unable to make any changes.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:24:22 AM): Also, at least one of the items in my cart is on sale. I have no idea if it will still be on sale in 48 hours. It's probably no more than a couple of dollars, but...
Me (3/26/2017, 9:24:44 AM): Does it keep the price it was at when I first attempted to purchase it?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:25:07 AM): I recommend you to purchase the PSN cards and you will be able to made the purchase right now.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:25:14 AM): No.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:25:27 AM): Can you escalate this to someone who has the authority/access to lift the lock?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:26:09 AM): Ok. In this case Please wait for the system to remove the lock because this lock was made automatically by the system and will be remove the same way.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:26:22 AM): CAN it be removed manually?
Me (3/26/2017, 9:26:36 AM): Is there someone in your hierarchy who can remove it?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:27:05 AM): I'm really sorry but there is no option to be remove manually it was made automatically by the system.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:27:35 AM): And you have no higher level of support to escalate this to?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:29:04 AM): There is higher levels but since the lock was made automatically by the system this could have happened because of events that can interfere in the communication, such as high traffic on the servers, several purchase attempts from different sites (for example, console and website) which enable the anti-fraud system on the PlayStation account, locking for a period of time the usage of credit cards or PayPal accounts.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:29:58 AM): 'Cause if that's the case, SONY needs to give you guys better resources. There's no good reason why you should be unable to help, or to get me to someone who can.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:30:02 AM): It will be remove on time frame provided I'm really sorry since this can not be remove manually for you I am sorry since I did not help you in the way that you wanted I have done everything possible
Me (3/26/2017, 9:30:11 AM): I know.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:30:17 AM): You've been lovely.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:30:33 AM): And I understand that there are limits to what you can do.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:31:24 AM): But this is asinine, and if you have any sort of channel for passing suggestions to management, you should probably point out that neither of us should be in this position.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:32:27 AM): Is there a corporate contact/customer feedback phone number somewhere?
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:32:52 AM): Thank you for your feedback Edward for sure i have take notes of this situation and i wish i can provide to another option.
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:32:59 AM): Phone support is available at 1-800-345-7669 and our hours of operation are:
8:00AM to 8:00PM Pacific Time, Monday-Friday
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:33:33 AM): Is that technical support, or customer feedback? (Useful either way, but...)
Tech (3/26/2017, 9:35:38 AM): We take the feedback for you and provide the information as well
Me (3/26/2017, 9:37:20 AM): Okay. I'll contact them and let them know that neither of us should be in this position.
Me (3/26/2017, 9:38:21 AM): Thank you. You've done everything you can. I'm still pretty angry, but it's at SONY and this benighted system. You've been as helpful as you possibly could.
TL/DR: They can't troubleshoot my account because there's a lock on my account. There's a lock on my account because I was trying to troubleshoot my account. The system does nothing to alert me that there's a lock on my account, let alone when the lock will expire, and the tech cannot remove the lock or get me to someone who can remove the lock. The only available solution is to wait for 48 hours, try again, and then -- when the credit card still fails to work -- to try to get in touch with support again.
I am... not entirely satisfied with this.
I hope to hell that the poor support tech's day gets better from here. It sucks when your job is to solve people's problems and you aren't actually given the tools to solve their problems. (That being the case, I've removed the tech's name from the transcript, because none of this is really the tech's fault.)