This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part We Don’t Even Know Anymore

, , , , , | Right | February 21, 2019

(I work for a credit card company. The calls are frustrating, and honestly, I am tempted to close so many accounts and transfer the customer to Spanish. This woman calls in confused about interest.)

Me: “Thank you for calling. How can I help you?”

Caller: “My name is [Caller]. Why is there a $1.63 charge in my account? It says it’s a finance charge?”

(Looking over her account I see she is referring to interest; the company just marks it on the statement as a finance charge.)

Me: “Ma’am, I show this is interest because you only make the minimum payment.”

Caller: “Yeah, because that is all I have to pay.”

Me: “That is what you have to pay to avoid a late fee, but to avoid interest you have to pay the full statement balance. I show you have been receiving interest for the last ten months.”

(I am about to end my shift and don’t want to argue, so I am going to offer to waive three months of the small, $2 charges to try and end the call, but before I can offer…)

Caller: “No. I just have to make the minimum. That is how I avoid it. I’m new at cards, but I know that is how it works. So, you are going to waive the interest and make sure it doesn’t show up again on my account.”

(I really want to yell at her but I decide to try and teach her with sense.)

Me: “Ma’am, that is not how interest is calculate—“

Caller: “How the h*** am I supposed to know that? I want it in writing!”

Me: “If you have a copy of your statement, it says it there—“ *reads off the whole paragraph of info* “It also said it on your terms and conditions you received with your card and whenever you make a payment.”

Caller: “What if I didn’t understand It?”

Me: “You could call in and we can explain it to you; that is what we are here for.”

Caller: “What if I don’t know what I need to ask? Or find out what I need to know if I don’t know?”

(Confused and in utter shock at the level of stupid I just heard, I have had it.)

Me: “Then you call in and start the call with, ‘I don’t understand how credit cards work; please enlighten me.’”

Caller: “F*** you, b****!”

(I hung up and noted how rude and stupid she was. Someone ended up listening to it and my supervisor came and spoke to me about it. They told me I should have just given her what she wanted. I left the next week.)

Shut Up And Take My Money!

, , , , , , | Working | February 16, 2019

(My family is using a company for our cell phones, who in turn use a national carrier to actually provide the cell service. For a number of reasons — of their doing — we decide to close our account and change companies. We receive a last bill demanding “immediate payment,” which only offers the ability to pay online, in person at a store, or by calling a listed phone number — no mailing address. I attempt to pay online, but am not able to, as I don’t have an “active phone.” I decide to pay in person. This is the sequence of events, as I attempt to PAY my last bill. At the store:)

Me: “I need to pay our bill. We no longer have an active phone with you, so I couldn’t pay online.”

Customer Service Person #1: *looks up my information* “I’m sorry, but we cannot take your money. We no longer handle bills for [National Carrier] you were using. You can only pay by phone.”

(I go home and call the phone number on the bill.)

Me: “I need to pay our last bill. We don’t have an active phone, so I couldn’t pay online, and the person at [Store] said they no longer collect bills for [National Carrier].”

(I give him the account and the disconnected phone number.)

Customer Service Person #2: *collects my information from me* “I’m sorry, but we cannot take your money. We also no longer handle bills for [National Carrier], either. You have to call your old carrier.”

Me: “I have only ever used you to pay my bill. This is the only phone number on my bill, and I don’t have a [National Carrier] number. I have no one else to call, and I just need to pay my last bill.”

Customer Service Person #2: “Let put you on hold, so I can talk to my supervisor.”

(He disconnects me instead. I call back, and explain the entire story again.)

Customer Service Person #3: *recollects my information* “Let me put you on hold, so I can figure out what to do.”

(Five to ten minutes go by.)

Customer Service Person #3: “Unfortunately, you will have to call [National Carrier] to pay this bill, as we cannot take your money for [National Carrier].”

(However, this time she gives me a number to call which is not on the bill. I call the new number, which uses the exact same menu navigation, making me think it’s the same place. I explain the entire story again, and include the account and disconnected phone numbers.)

Customer Service Person #4: *collects my information from me* “I’m sorry, but I cannot take your money without an active phone. Once we suspend your phone for non-payment, you have to pay in person at [Store].”

Me: “Listen. It wasn’t suspended for non-payment. I cancelled my account with you, and this is my last bill with you. As I told you, the store already told me they couldn’t take my money, and that I could only pay over the phone. All I want to do is pay you what I owe you. Why can’t I pay you if I have the account number and old phone number, and you have access to my account?”

Customer Service Person #4: “Okay, let me put you on with my supervisor.”

(I’m transferred to the supervisor and explain the entire story yet again, with all the account information.)

Supervisor: *she collects my account information again* “I’m sorry, but I cannot take your money without an active phone attached to the account.”

Me: *explains to her entire story for a second time* “I don’t understand why this isn’t enough information to give you the money that I owe you, since [Store] can’t take my money in person.”

Supervisor: “Okay, let me see what I can do.”

(After a few minutes, she comes back on and asks me several new questions. Then she takes my credit card information.)

Supervisor: “Now, then, I must warn you that there is an additional fee, since you paid by phone, instead of paying online or in person.”

(I have had enough!)

Me:This is ridiculous! I will not pay a fee as if it is some kind of privilege to pay you! You wouldn’t allow me to make my payment online or in person, and are forcing me to pay you by phone! Listen. You have two options: take my money right now for only for the bill total, or I am going to hang up on you and never pay this bill. What can you do? Cut off my already deactivated phone? I cannot believe that you all have refused to take my money.

(She agreed to waive the fee and took only the bill amount. Who knew that trying to actually give someone money would be so hard?!)

Going Toe To Toe With Payday

, , , , , | Right | December 9, 2018

(I am working the reception desk at my vet clinic. Our policy is to not schedule appointments for clients who have large outstanding bills. I am relatively inexperienced at appointment scheduling, and I really should have asked the client’s name before telling her what we had available. This happens on a Wednesday. The phone rings.)

Me: “[Clinic]. This is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Client: “Hi. My cat may have injured his toe; do you have any openings on Saturday?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we are closed this Saturday, but we do have an opening on Monday morning at eight o’clock.”

Client: “I’ll take it.”

Me: “Great. Can I have your name, please?”

Client: “It’s [Client].”

(I pull up her account and see that she has an outstanding balance of well over $1000. Someone even flagged her account to make sure we don’t provide any more services to her until she pays us.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we unfortunately cannot schedule an appointment for you until you pay off a significant portion of your balance.”

Client: “I’m going to make a payment on Friday.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t schedule you until that payment is made.”

Client: “But I don’t get paid until Friday, and by then, that Monday opening will be taken!”

Me: “While that particular appointment may be taken by Friday, we have other openings next week. However, I cannot schedule you until you have paid off a significant portion of your balance.”

(This goes on for another two or three rounds of her saying she’ll make a payment on Friday and me reiterating that I can’t schedule her until she pays. Finally, I convince her that I’m really not going to schedule her appointment until she pays us.)

Client: “Well, I guess my cat will just have to suffer, then!”

Me: “Goodbye, ma’am.”

Blue Screen Is Caused By Lack Of Green

, , , | Right | December 6, 2018

(Before my recent retirement, I spent about three decades at a local TV station as an engineer. Viewer calls concerning reception problems usually get transferred to the engineering department. I take this call one day from a very nice, older lady.)

Caller: “Hello. Are you the engineer?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?”

Caller: “I’m trying to watch your station, but all I see is a blue screen and no sound.”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, so that I can narrow the problem down, are you watching us over the air with an antenna, or are you a subscriber to one of the cable or satellite companies?”

Caller: “I watch over [Cable Company].”

Me: “Okay. I’m looking at a TV set connected to an antenna, and our signal is fine there, so let me check with [Cable Company] and see if they’re having problems.”

(Fifteen or twenty minutes later, after a call to the cable provider, I call the lady back.)

Me: “Ma’am, this is [My Name] at [TV Station].”

Caller: “Oh, I’m so glad you called back. I found out what the problem was!”

Me: “Well, that’s great, ma’am. What was it?”

Caller: “I realized I hadn’t paid my cable bill in three months; they cut me off!”

Divorcing Yourself From Your TV

, , , , , | Right | November 25, 2018

(I work for a large TV provider in their billing department.)

Customer: “All of my TVs are showing [common error code that comes up for a variety of reasons].”

Me: “Well, that’s definitely something I can help with. Can I get your phone number so I can bring up your account?”

(I verify account information and see the account status is disconnected.)

Me: “It seems your account is disconnected; give me a moment to read some of the notes and see if I can’t find out what’s going on.”

Customer: “That’s weird. I just paid the bill and everything.”

Me: “I don’t see a balance due, so we definitely received the payment.”

(I begin explaining as I’m reading the notes, which in hindsight is a terrible idea.)

Me: “It looks here like a woman called in earlier and requested the disconnect for… oh.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “The note says she turned it off as part of a… divorce?”

(There is a long pause, where I can almost hear his heart breaking at the news.)

Customer: “W-what? I had no idea. That’s what it says?”

Me: “I’m so sorry. That’s what the previous rep said in their note.”

Customer: “She didn’t say anything. I can’t believe it. You sure that’s what it says?”

Me: “That’s all it says.” *awkward pause* “If you’d like, I can reactivate the account, or you can call back later. Whatever works for you; we are available 24/7.”

Customer: “Yeah, I’ll just call back later when I figure this out.”

Me: “I’m so sorry.”

Customer: “Don’t be. You didn’t know. Thanks for your help.”

(To the customer: prior notes on the account showed you were a pretty nice guy and treated my fellow reps well. I am truly sorry about how I ham-fistedly broke the news of the divorce, and I hope you found someone more worthy of your affections!)

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