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Acting Like Children About Children’s Accounts

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: redacted-username- | March 3, 2022

I don’t work at a conventional call center but rather a department of the university dedicated to the billing of the students. I’ve worked both the front and the call “pit,” so I’ve dealt with just about everything in the three years I’ve been working there.

Today, I am working the phone, and because billing just went out, we’ve gotten an influx of calls dealing with everything from incorrect billing to scholarship issues (which aren’t even our department).

A man calls asking for information about his son and daughter. This is fairly standard but requires something called proxy access. Once you turn eighteen and are legally an adult, you’re entitled to financial privacy. I look up both kids. I notice a couple of issues: namely, one kid doesn’t even have proxy set up, and the other does but didn’t check any boxes to be able to discuss anything anyway.

Me: “It appears that there is no available proxy access. I cannot discuss anything specific about either student’s account.”

Father: “I pay for everything. I’ve got all their passwords and usernames.”

Me: “I cannot verify any of that information. I need the passphrase for proxy to be able to discuss account specifics.”

Father: *Humorless laugh* “This is why [University] is going down the tubes. This is why no one is attending. It should just be common sense. What’s your name?”

Me: “My name is [My Name].”

Father: “All right… [My Name]…” *Said with extreme prejudice* “What can you tell me?”

Me: “Any nonspecific information which is applied to all students or is common knowledge.”

Father: *With sarcasm and contempt* “Fine, whatever. Well, I can see here my son’s account statement, but my daughter’s is not here. Why is that?”

I respond with several seconds of stunned silence. He’s asking for a receipt that is automatically generated that we have no control over.

Father: “I know it’s on the screen. Do I have to tell you how to do your job?”

At this point, I’ve decided that courtesy can take a backseat.

Me: “All right, sir, I’m a twenty-one-year-old student.”

I know you aren’t supposed to give age, but I am banking on the fact he is a grown-a** man acting like a brat, and this might put it in perspective.

Me: “I will be talked to with respect. I didn’t make you make payments. You are not entitled to information that is not your account. I can either discontinue this call because I have no reason to talk to you, or you can go on hold, and I can find what little information you are allowed to know.”

Father: *Quietly* “Okay.”

The rest of the call resulted in him being walked through how to get proxy setup.

I hung up on him when he started saying payment should equal access and didn’t give me a profuse apology for being a child.

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