Unfiltered Story #200604

, , | Unfiltered | July 11, 2020

I work in tax collections for a municipality. When a customer pays with a credit card, they are charged an additional convenience fee, about 3%. Naturally, they are not pleased with this bit of information. This conversation occurs on the telephone. The customer sounds like an elderly woman.

Me: Collector’s office, can I help you?
Customer: Can I pay my real estate tax bill with a credit card?
Me: You may, but the bank does charge a fee to use a credit card. It’s about 3% of the bill.
Customer: You’re charging me a fee?
Me: The bank is. We are not. It’s like when you use a credit card at a store. The credit card companies charge a fee to use the card, but the stores can absorb the fee and build it into their prices. We can’t do that, so when you pay online or over the phone, which it the same as online, the bank passes on the fee to you.
Customer: Okay, how much would the fee be?
Me: I can look it up. What is the address?
Customer: [Address].
Me: Okay, [address]. For [name?]
Customer: Yes.
Me: The bill is [$amount], so the fee would be $27.50, about 3%. The total would be [$amount].
Customer: You’re charging me a $27.50 fee? Why?
Me: *Repeats information from before.* But if you want, we could do it through a bank account using your routing number and account number, and the fee is only $0.25.
Customer: But it’s not a credit card.
Me: No, it’s not a credit card.
Customer: I don’t have that much money in my account. I need to use a credit card.
Me: Okay. *Goes through transaction.* So before I process the payment, the total will be [$amount]. Should I go through with it?
Customer: Yes, it’s due today, so I have to do it.
Me: Okay. I will mail you a receipt. Have a good day.
–End call–

*Five minutes later*
Coworker: *on phone* Okay, I will have to ask my supervisor. Let me put you on hold. *To assistant manager* Capital One is on a conference call with a customer. She is saying the credit card company charged her a fee and she wants to know how she can get it reversed.
Me: [Name]? She didn’t understand what I was explaining. I told her .
Asst Manager: Okay, I will talk to her. *Conversation*.
Me: How did it go?
Asst Manager: The Capital One employee knew what was going on before I talked to her, but she didn’t understand her explanation either, which is why she decided to call us. She’s confused, but it should be all right now.