Scamming You From Coast To Coast

, , , | Right | October 25, 2017

(It is the late 90s and I work in a call center for a large cellphone company. This company has both nationwide and regional plans. If a person leaves their coverage area, they are charged roaming fees that can be quite expensive. Many people getting hit by these fees call us to try and have them waived with a myriad of excuses. The most common excuse attempted is, “I was never in [Location]; your system is broken.” Whenever this happens, I show them on the itemized section of the bill how every call is listed, along with the location the call was made from. Almost nobody ever looks at anything besides the total. I then point out the very obvious path, visible on their own bill, that the customer took from their home to a place outside the coverage area, and, usually, back again. Even if there isn’t a path, most of the time there is an obvious break in calls that would easily fit within a trip from their usual location to where they were when the charges were applied.)

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

Customer: “Your computer system messed up and charged me roaming fees when it shouldn’t have.”

Me: “Okay, why don’t you bring out your bill and we’ll—”

Customer: *cutting me off* “I’ve already gone over the bill, and if you go to [page number] you will see that I have calls from home, and then not three minutes later it says I have calls from roaming!”

(Looking at the bill, it is listed exactly as he described. The roaming calls are located halfway across the continent, so this is definitely not simply an issue of him crossing the border in three minutes. In addition to billing issues, I am also tech support and have access to tower data. I look up the exact tower each call was connected to when a call was made, which is logged in the account for troubleshooting purposes. This information, however, is not printed on the bill. Bringing up the tower location details of his calls around the time on the bill easily answers the reason for the discrepancy.)

Me: “So, I have been going through the details of these calls to find the source of this ‘glitch’ you pointed out, and I noticed that the last call made before the roaming charges started was from a tower located within [Major East Coast International Airport], and the first call made when the charges started is from a tower located within [Major West Coast International Airport].”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Taking the timezones into account, that would be about the time it takes to fly between—”

Customer: *click*

Statement Of Recount

, , , , , , | Right | October 18, 2017

(A customer calls me on the phone in a panic.)

Customer: “Why am I still getting a bill for this line of credit? I thought you closed it! It’s ten pages long! I haven’t used it. “

Me: “I did close it, but I know you had some fraud, so let me call card services to see what’s going on.”

(I call card services.)

Me: “My customer is still showing a balance on her line. We paid it. What’s going on?”

Card Services: “We show no activity, but that card did receive a large payoff a month ago.”

Me: “Well, my customer is still getting a bill with a large balance…”

(I continue to argue with card services for 20 minutes before hanging up in frustration. I call my customer back and say they show no money owed so that statement must just not be printing correctly.)

Me: “Can you read exactly what it says at the top?”

Customer: “’Statement of Accounts’.”

Me: “That is your monthly statement.”

Customer: “Yeah, but it says I owe all this money!”

Me: “That’s your monthly account transactions and balance, not a bill! You don’t owe anything.”

Customer: “Well, why is it so long?!”

Me: “I don’t know, but it’s the same as you get every month; it’s nothing new.”

Customer: “Okay, thanks for checking for me!”

(I just spent thirty minutes arguing with people to find out my customer thought her monthly statement was a bill. I ask more questions now.)

Steve Me Alone!

, , , , , , | Working | September 22, 2017

(I am expecting a call from a hospital scheduling agent. Despite the fact that I normally don’t answer calls that show as “unknown” on the caller ID, I am answering now, in case it’s the agent.)

Caller: “Hi. Is this Mrs. [Last Name]?”

Me: “Yes, is this the hospital?”

Caller: “No, I’m looking for Steve [Last Name]. I’m calling about—”

Me: “There’s no Steve here.”

Caller: “But you ARE Mrs. [Last Name]?”

Me: “Yes, but my husband’s name is not Steve.”

(The caller begins a tirade about how he has to talk to Steve, I am hiding Steve, and Steve needs to pay his bills. I finally hang up on him, but he calls back a few seconds later. The caller ID shows a different number so I answer.)

Caller: “You cannot refuse to put Steve on the phone!”

Me: “Actually, I can. I suspect you are looking for my husband’s uncle, but he has never lived here.”

Caller: *now suddenly nice* “Oh, I’m sorry. Can you give me Steve’s phone number?”

Me: “No, actually I can’t. Steve died last spring.”

(The caller then began berating me about how Steve HAD to pay his medical bills. I hung up again. The scheduler called right after I hung up, so I went back to ignoring unknown calls. There were four different voice mails from this bill collector about needing contact information for Steve. I ended up filing a complaint with the attorney general’s office. I don’t expect to ever hear from them. The same agency calls and leaves voice mails for Steve at least three times a week.)

And The Light Bulb Goes On

, , , , | Right | September 21, 2017

(A customer calls complaining of a high electric bill. I look over the account and see that the usage is, indeed, pretty high. I then go through a series of standard questions, trying to determine what could be causing the elevated usage.)

Customer: “Well, I do run two refrigerators and a freezer. One fridge in the kitchen, freezer in the basement, and a second fridge in the garage.”

Me: *knowing it is winter time and far colder out than would require the fridge in the garage to run* “It seems unlikely the fridge in the garage would be running very much with it being so cold.”

Customer: “No, it’s running.”

Me: “Why would be running if it is not warm enough in the garage to require it to turn on?”

Customer: “Well, there is a light bulb in it.”

Me: “There is a light bulb in every fridge, but it only turns on when the door opens.”

Customer: “No, I put a light bulb in it on an extension cord to force the fridge to run. It is a very old fridge, and we are scared that if it shuts off it may not come back on, so we put a light bulb in it to keep it on.”

Me: “…so, you are using a light bulb as a heat source to keep the very old fridge running all the time?”

Customer: *very satisfied with herself* “YES!”

Me: *silent facepalm* “This is the reason for your increased electric consumption.”

Nothin’ Like Some Tough Lovin’

, , , | | Right | May 28, 2008

(I work for an Internet billing company that mostly does work with porn sites.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Consumer Support]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I got some charges on my card, and I wanna know what the heck’s goin’ on.”

Me: “No problem, sir. If I can get the card number, I’ll be happy to help out.”

(He gives me his card, and I go through the process of looking it up and getting his info.)

Me: “All right, sir, it looks like I have a subscription here to [Porn Site]. Is that familiar?”

Customer: “Yeah, I know that. Hold on a sec. RANDY!”

(I hear him shouting at someone in the background, and then the sounds of someone getting the ever-loving crap beaten out of them.)

Customer: “OK, I done took care of the charges. Can you cancel that for me?”

Me: “Sure… I’ve canceled it from further billing now for you.”

Customer: “All right. You have a nice day.” *click*

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