Not Your Standard Customer Service

, , , , , | Working | September 7, 2020

My parents booked a trip to the UK, but unfortunately, due to the current crisis, they can’t go. I am taking care of getting the different bookings cancelled and refunded. The first and second leg of their journey were easily taken care of. My dad himself mailed the company of the third leg on April second. He did get a confirmation but no answer after that. When he received a survey about how his trip had been, the trip he never went on, he asked me to check up on it.

To start off with, the company had closed its phone lines and all questions had to be done online. They had a live chat function, which I decided to use as I don’t like giving out my social media to companies. The conversation started off fine. I was completely honest, telling the employee that I was speaking on behalf of my parents.

Then, the employee asked a strange question. Well, for us, it was a strange question. They asked if I was the account holder. Normally, it should not be an issue if you’re not the account holder, but you have all the other documentation. I answered honestly, a bit baffled, that I was not and I thought my father was most likely. Then, the employee immediately said that they could do nothing for me and that I should get the account holder to talk to them. 

Now, I got curious. My dad speaks relatively good English — not as good as me, but my English is at C2 level which is a rare thing here — but he tends to take out any small frustration on the employees and he does not always clearly say what he wants, so I personally didn’t think it was a good idea to let him speak to the employee. As I’m quite sure this is a problem they encounter often, I decided to tell the employee that my dad’s English was not good enough to handle these situations.

To my surprise, the employee said that they still could not do anything for me. They gave me tips on how to find refund options on the website, but now I was mad — not at the employee, as I still at this point thought it was just a bad company policy, having never dealt with this particular train company before. I asked that if my dad gives his permission, I could then arrange things. No, that was not an option through live chat, apparently. 

I ended the chat by saying that this was punishing honest people, as I was quite aware that if I had lied and just said I was my dad, the employee would not have known the difference. I fumed for a bit and then went to the place where all frustrated people go: Twitter. I complained on my personal Twitter, politely but linking the company Twitter page, about the discrimination against people who do not speak English. 

Within minutes, I got an answer from a different employee, saying that if I had proof that I had permission, I should be able to get things sorted. I replied that I did have all the documentation and that my dad was sitting next to me — even though he was not, but I would have been able to get him there within seconds — but that the employee I spoke to had just completely blocked it. The other employee then told me to go into direct messages with him, and after a little while, I got an answer.

The proof this employee needed was very simple and very standard for the industry. Within minutes, my dad had a confirmation for a refund in his email. 

I really hope that the first employee gets a lesson in their company policies, as a lot of trouble could have been avoided if he had just asked for these standard things.

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