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An Overage Of Politeness

| Working | January 7, 2015

(I call into my mortgage company because they’ve made several mistakes in paying my property taxes, resulting in my taxes being overpaid and them demanding I pay a large additional sum into escrow to cover their mistakes.)

Representative: “So how can I help you with your property taxes?”

Me: “You’ve been paying the property taxes on my home without considering the owner occupied deduction for over a year now. You’re paying the first line on the bill, not the ‘amount due.’ That has resulted in my property tax account being overpaid by several hundred dollars. I’d like you to only pay the ‘amount due,’ as well as file for a refund of the overpaid taxes from the tax office, since they won’t release it to me or you unless you request it.”

Representative: “I see your property taxes were $X this last half-year. We paid that as scheduled.”

Me: *sharply* “No, you’re not listening to me. You’re paying the wrong line item on the bill. Can you see the actual paper bill that the city sends to you?”

Representative: “Yes, I see electronic copy of the bill here. The first line is…”

Me: *again sharply* “Just stop right there. Look down at the bottom of the page. What does it say beside ‘amount due?'”

Representative: “Looking at that it says… oh, dear, it says that you owe negative $700. We screwed up, didn’t we?”

Me: *still slightly sharply* “Yes, you did. Now, can you please request that overage back from the city, and start paying the actual amount due?”

Representative: “Yes, we can fix this. I need to place you on a brief hold to talk to our research department and get them to fix this. Can you hold?”

Me: “Yes, I can hold. And thank you for actually listening to me.”

Representative: “I’m sorry, what did you just say?”

Me: “I said thank you and I will hold?”

Representative: “Sorry… I’m just not used to people saying thank you to me. Your tone was somewhat angry, and most people who call in like that just curse at me. Sorry, you just confused me with that. I’ll put you on hold now, and get your problem fixed quickly!”

(She puts me on hold and comes back after a minute to tell me that she’s submitted the request, who to call if it doesn’t get fixed, and when and what I can expect.)

Representative: “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Me: “No, that’s my only issue. I’m sorry for being short with you earlier, but this isn’t the first time I’ve called in about this issue. Most of the people I talk to act like I’m trying to get out of paying a bill I owe and are extremely rude to me, so I gave as good as I normally get. All I wanted was for this problem to be fixed.”

Representative: “No apologies needed. You were angry, but polite. Honestly, you’re the first person to say ‘thank you’ to me today, so you’re my number one customer in my book. Please note my name, and if this doesn’t get resolved, ask for me if you call back in. I’ll make sure it gets fixed.”

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