How a Thunderstorm Fried a Prometric Location’s Computers and Ruined One CPA Candidate’s Day

Oh lookie here, we have ANOTHER sad Prometric story. This time, nature made it far more dramatic than it had to be; however, Prometric obviously did not have a plan in place to A) prevent such a catastrophe and B) clean it up after the fact. I am still soliciting Prometric horror stories (they don't have to be life-ending terrible, just minor annoyances are also welcome), so please get in touch with me. The time to revolt is now, we can't do that if you all don't speak up.

I apologize in advance if this is TL;DR. Er, no I don't. Read it.

Adrienne,

I wanted to share my Prometric experience as well.  I was ready to take my last section at the same place I had taken all the others. This place was pretty nice for all my other sections.  It was never too crowded and they always let me start earlier than my appointment.

For this last section I arrived as usual only to find that all the lights were off.  We had a bad thunderstorm the night before, and the transformer was struck killing the power to the building.  I understand this had nothing to do with them so I took the card they gave me to call (I couldn't do it online because they couldn't process me in the system without power), rescheduled and went on my way.  After being on hold with Prometric corporate exactly 59 minutes, they hung up on me.  I tried again with the exact same result (that's now two hours I've wasted listening to horrible elevator music). So I drove back to the site to get a new number since this one would never put me through to a real person.  When I got there, I found three other candidates with the same problem. 

The lady working the desk tried calling a few numbers for us, but they all fed into the same corporate line we were routed to and she didn't have any direct numbers.  At this point I was more than a little frustrated, but at least the power company showed up and reset the transformer. She then offered to let me sit once they got booted up.  I was worried that the hassle might have distracted me, but I was more than ready to take this test.  I accepted and waited for them to get up and running.

Unfortunately something was wrong with the computers and they wouldn't boot properly.  I then waited an hour and a half for this lady to speak with IT going through the usual procedures (yes it is plugged in; no, it is not in the off position).  Long story short they had plugged the server directly into the wall socket when they had a surge protector right next to it so it was fried in the thunderstorm. 

By this point we had found a working number to reschedule and the owner of the place had shown up.  I spoke with her about rescheduling this week and she assured me they would be up and running in two days.  I pointed out that it wasn't just an IT problem – her hardware had been fried and she needed a new server.  She said that corporate was really good about this stuff and would ship it next day air with a technician to set them up.  I rescheduled for later in the week, only to be called the day before my exam to let me know that they wouldn't have the equipment in time but I could reschedule the next week and be fine. I couldn't believe how incompetent that woman was.  She promised me three separate times that my concerns were unfounded, only to prove me right two days later, and when I told her that she just said, "oh you must have misunderstood, I said we wouldn't be ready until next week." 

I rescheduled in a different city about an hour away and charged Prometric for the mileage for all the inconveniences I had.  I will forgive the power outage, but a business founded on electronic testing not using a surge protector when they have one, giving out a bad number to all the candidates that came in that day, and making all the false promises and lying about it, is just unacceptable.  Luckily I passed the last section and I hope to never deal with them again.

P.S. I realize this is way too long for a post, but it felt really good to write it all down.  Thanks for being my sounding board.

Now, thunderstorms happen. I know first-hand what can happen when your power company sucks (hi, Pepco!) and you're in the dark for three days because of a few flurries. But sweet jumping Jehoshaphat, don't their IT people know to USE the surge protector? Even I know it doesn't work if you don't actually plug into it. DUH.

Oh and OP, you are welcome. Sorry you went through that but congrats on being done.

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