One of the most frustrating aspects of life for American consumers in the 21st Century is trying to complete a transaction or obtain information from a company over the telephone.Whether it's ordering a new pair of shoes, checking the status of a utility bill, or seeking help with a computer problem, the experience can be both exasperating and mind numbing.

Often, consumers have to endure a lengthy and time-consuming menu of options that invariably omits the one item that they called about. Then there's the irritation of wanting to talk to a human being-a customer service representative-but not being given that option. Or the humiliation of being asked to give an ID number or password over and over during a single call.

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