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She’s Gonna Flip Over Your Phony Behavior

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: JE_25 | July 18, 2021

A few years ago, I worked as a sales rep for one of the larger phone carriers in the US. It was a slow night and the store was empty when this guy came in. He wanted to upgrade his [Phone #1], which he had just gotten two months ago on monthly payments. He was not on our upgrade program. He had already decided he wanted [Phone #2].

At this point, he owed about $550 on [Phone #1] and the trade-in value was only about $100. I told him about this and he said he didn’t care. He then went on for ten minutes bragging about how he had just gotten a raise and was making crazy money and could afford to buy five [Phone #2]s.

I just sat there listening to him. I then told him that I wouldn’t recommend trading in [Phone #1] because he would still have to make monthly payments on the remaining balance, plus another monthly payment for [Phone #2], which was a more expensive phone. He wasn’t the primary on the account — his wife was — but he was authorized. I asked if his wife would be okay with it and he said that he didn’t need her permission to do what he wanted. He ended up trading in [Phone #1] and getting [Phone #2] and he spent over $400 on accessories. All along, I continued to recommend that he not do this.

Before making the sale or trade-in, I got my manager involved so he could talk to the customer and make sure the customer understood what he was doing. In all, I told him seven times not to do it, and my manager did twice. He still did it. So, after the sale, following the cover-your-a** procedure, I made notes in the account detailing everything that had happened.

Fast forward two days. The store gets a call and they ask for me. It is customer service; they have the wife on the phone and she wants to talk to me.

Me: “What can I do for you, [Customer’s Wife]?”

Customer’s Wife: “Do you think what you did was okay?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what was that?”

Customer’s Wife: “Do you think what you did was okay? Taking advantage of my husband?”

Me: “I’m not sure what you mean.”

Customer’s Wife: “You convinced my husband to buy a new phone and you took his two-month-old phone and gave him basically nothing for it.”

Me: “I understand. Ma’am, I informed your husband many times about what would happen and recommended multiple times that he should not do that.”

Customer’s Wife: *Raising her voice* “That is bad business and it’s unethical. You should not have sold him anything! I am a business owner, and I would never take advantage of a customer the way you did. If you knew it was a bad idea, it’s your job not to sell it.”

Me: “Ma’am, I made—”

She cuts me off.

Customer’s Wife: “Seriously, what you did is just unethical and wrong. Do you understand that? What you did is illegal. You can’t sell it to him if you think it’s wrong.”

Me: “I know—”

She cuts me off again.

Customer’s Wife: “You should not have sold it to him. We want the phone he traded in back! We are also returning all the accessories you sold him on. This is so messed up.”

I’m getting annoyed for being blamed for this; it’s clear the husband told her a different story. I don’t mention to her. People do things like this at least once a month.

Me: “Okay. I made every effort to help your husband. He came into our store bragging about how much money he’s making and how he can buy whatever he wants, even five of these phones. That said, I even got my manager involved so he could hear it from someone else. You—”

She cuts me off yet again.

Customer’s Wife: “Oh, even your manager was in on it. Wait until I talk to corporate about your store’s unethical tactics!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am. At this point, there’s nothing I can do for you on the phone. You can return the accessories, and if you’d like, you can talk to my manager about what happened when you get here. Anything else I can do for you?”

Customer’s Wife: “Tell me why you sold the phone to him and thought was okay to do?”

Me: “Ma’am, as I told you, you can discuss this with my manager when you get here. Anything else I can do for you?”

Customer’s Wife: “Yeah, answer my last question. This is just bad business.”

Me: “Once again, ma’am, there’s nothing on the phone I can do for you. We will gladly help you in the store when you get here. Have a good day.”

I hung up.

The one thing I was not going to tell her over the phone was that once her husband had traded in the phone, there was no way to get it back, as all trade-ins are final. His trade-in phone was already shipped out.

The couple came in later that day and the wife was pissed. The husband, however, didn’t say a word. My manager backed me up the entire time he helped them return the accessories. I couldn’t help myself; I went over there and started repeating everything that the husband had bragged to me about, and I even added the line about how he didn’t need his wife’s permission. The look she gave him when I said that was the best redemption I could ever have. He tried blaming everything on me and now I was able to bury him for it. After that, she lightened up a little. She then returned the new phone, removed his name as an authorized user, and bought him a flip phone.

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