Refund Me For Your TIME

, , , | Right | August 27, 2018

(I work for one of the biggest energy providers in Germany; the company that employs us to work for them has people based in Germany, and two offices in Bulgaria. Because people tend to react funny when customer service agents are based abroad, we are forbidden from telling people where we are, and instead must name two German cities, according to the customer’s location. This customer has received contract information by mistake, and I’m calling him to ensure him he doesn’t have a contract or anything to pay. We aren’t allowed to hang up unless the customers get offensive.)

Me: “Good morning. This is [My Name] of [Energy Provider]. Can I speak to Mr. [Customer], please?”

Customer’s Wife: “Sure thing; just hold a bit. [Customer], get over here! It’s for you!”

(Greetings follow.)

Me: “So, Mr. [Customer], apparently you got some contract info which you returned to us with a note that it can’t be right.”

Customer: “That’s right. I don’t live on that address anymore, so it isn’t right.”

Me: “Okay. I’m just calling to tell you it’s been a system error that sent some people contracts for their old addresses, even though the customers have moved out more than two years ago, in most cases. I apologize for that. I want to assure you, though, that there is no new contract for you on that old address, and you don’t have to pay or cancel anything.”

Customer: “This is good to hear, because I wouldn’t have to do it, anyway. If anything, your company owes me money!”

Me: *confused* “Can you tell me more about that?”

(I am seriously thinking he has an incorrect invoice and we might actually have to refund him.)

Customer: “The old house, you know. I sold it to this company, and they use a lot of electricity for their computers and all, and I convinced them to sign up with [Provider]. They’re paying you a lot. So I deserve a bonus!”

Me: “Well, I’m not really authorized…”

(I can give a small bonus if a customer is upset for some reason, or a “loyalty” bonus for long-time customers.)

Customer: “You have to talk to your boss, then. You do have a boss, don’t you?”

Me: *stifling a laugh* “Of course I do.”

Customer: “Good. Then talk to them and tell them I want a thousand euro!”

(I wish I could say this is all of it, but no… He proceeds to tell me about the company that bought his old house, about the transformer built in the town, about the cables in his street AND in his old street, what his son has told him about it, all about his son’s job and where he studied and where he lives… All in all, it takes about fifteen minutes.)

Me: *managing to squeeze a word in* “Okay, Mr. [Customer], now that it’s all clear, I’d like to wish you a nice day. Call us again if you have any questions.”

Customer: “Right, right, will do. Just don’t forget about my bonus. Say, you’re talking funny; where are you from originally?”

(Another five minutes of talking follow…)

Me: “Okay, now I really have to hang up, Mr. [Customer].”

Customer: “Yes, absolutely, we’re hanging up… Where did you say you’re working from?”

Me: “[City not too far from his town].”

Customer: “Oh, right! Tell me, how is the weather there?”

(I look through the window. It is June on the Black Sea coast, so, of course, it is hot enough to fry an egg on the window sill.)

Me: “Well… It’s overcast and a bit rainy.”

Customer: “Oh, just like here. Okay. Thanks a lot!” *hangs up*

(My project manager was nearby and had laughed for the last ten minutes. He didn’t get his bonus, poor chap, although he deserved one for making us laugh. I guess I could say he was bored and wanted to talk to someone, but his wife was also there.)

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