Well, They Were A British Colony…

, , , , , | Right | January 20, 2019

(I work in an outsourced call centre for a well-known mobile phone brand. I have a “received pronunciation” accent which means that, although I’m Australian, born and bred, I sound like I’m an upper-class Brit. Most callers like my accent, which can lead to very difficult conversations along the “thank God you’re not an Indian” lines. This time, though, was a bit of a twist on that conversation.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name] speaking. How can I help you today?”

Caller: “Are you in India?”

Me: “No, I’m Australian, in Australia.”

Caller: “No, you’re Indian.”

Me: “Do I sound like I’m Indian?”

Caller: “Yes! Yes, you do!”

Me: *laughing* “Well, then, I guess I’m Indian…”

(The caller hung up.)

You Give Nothing, You Get Nothing

, , , , , | Right | January 19, 2019

(I work at a call center in the e-Commerce — sales — department for a large American cable company that also provides other services. I am working chat support, which means the work is mostly non-voice, which comes in handy in case one of us has to vent or sound the occasional scream of frustration. While we mostly process customer orders and handle inquiries, we also process transfers of service, in the case of customers moving to another address and wanting to take their service with them. One day I end up with this bizarre chat:)

Me: “Hello! My name is [My Name]! How are you today?”

Customer: “I am moving and want to transfer my service.”

Me: “Thank you for letting me know; I will be more than happy to assist you with that today!”

(Usually, customers with existing service sign in and enter their info as well as the new address, which pops up in a form accompanying the chat. This customer left the form blank, and instead of her name, she only appears as “Guest” in the chatroom, so I need to ask for the missing info in order to pull it up in our system, check the serviceability of the new address, etc.)

Me: “In order for me to be able to assist you today, may I please have your full name, phone number, and your account number, as well as your current address and the complete new address you will be moving to?”

Customer: “No.”

(This is the first time I’ve had this response to what is a fairly standard request, and I get the feeling I’m in for something out of the ordinary. I nudge my coworker, who peeks over to watch the show.)

Me: “I will need to pull up your account, and I also need to check the status of the new address to process the transfer. And we need to request the information for verification purposes, as well, to ensure that the security and privacy of your account are maintained and that only the account holder or authorized users process changes.”


Me: “I don’t have access to your account. I don’t even have any information to pull the account up with.”


Me: *baffled and at a loss at this point* “I understand that you might have some concerns regarding your account’s security, but I don’t have your account up, as I have not been provided with any information I require to pull it up.”


(I’ve already let my team-lead know that I have a potential escalation, but our process requires us to at least try to de-escalate the situation before we pass it on to “the higher power,” who in all honesty aren’t able to do much more than the regular agents are.)

Me: “I understand that you would like to speak to a supervisor, but I assure you that I am more than capable of assisting you with your service transfer request, and I would just like to inform you that in order for a transfer to be processed, we will require your full details, which will mean pulling up your account. As no information has been provided, nothing has been pulled up or accessed. May I have the opportunity to try to assist you today?”


Me: “I’m afraid that is not possible. You might be able to move the equipment yourself, but the actual transfer of the service, such as cable, phone, and Internet, would need to be processed in our system.”


(I already have a side-chat going with the escalation team and have given them the general details of the situation. They are giving me the green-light for a transfer, but they want me to try one last time to get some kind of personal detail — a name, anything really — that I can pass on to them.)

Me: “I understand. I will be transferring you to my supervisor shortly. Before I do, may I at least have your name to pass on to them?”

Customer: “NO! TRANSFER ME NOW!”

Me: “All right. I am transferring you now; please keep the chat window open.”

(I transferred the customer and let the escalation team know that the customer had refused to provide any info. I later pulled up the chat file to find out how it had gone and found that the customer had provided the name “Jane Doe” after some persistence from the supervisor, and refused to provide any other information. She just kept insisting she would move the service herself before finally terminating the chat. Thankfully, I’ve left the world of call centers and customer service behind for now.)

Unfiltered Story #137021

, , | Unfiltered | January 18, 2019

(A customer has called to complain that her checking account has been over-drafted by a recurring monthly electronic payment, the first, and is insisting that the bank fees be reimbursed. This customer was female, but it could be either gender making the call)

Me: I see that you purchased the contract online from our website and chose the electronic payment option.

Customer: Yes, but I didn’t authorize the payment!

Me: When you chose the payment option you were presented with the payment method, dates and amounts. By agreeing to the payment plan you did authorized the monthly payments.

Customer: I only authorized the first payment. I never agreed that you would take payments from my checking account! Now I’m over-drawn, the bank has charge me fees and you need to fix it! Why would you take money that I never agreed to!? I was going to pay you later. You had no right to take my money!

Me: Your checking account was debited because you provided that account number for the monthly recurring payments.

Customer: I told you that I didn’t authorize any payments!

Me: From the possible payment options you, yourself, specifically chose the auto pay plan, clearly showing withdrawal dates and amounts. You entered your account information in the fields that indicated that the account was for the payments, and you typed your name and date on a legal form that you agreed to the payments. Did you not understand at that time you were agreeing to have the payments withdrawn electronically?

Customer: I told you I never authorized anything! Why don’t you believe me!?

Me: At several points, up to the final sale, we provided you with the opportunity to choose a different payment option, After the purchase was complete we sent you a payment schedule and a copy of the signed form and sent a reminder to the email you’ve already verified a few days before the withdrawal date. Each of these documents clearly indicated the payments were to be submitted for payment to the account number you’d provided. This was not our error so I can’t authorize reimbursement of the bank fees.

Customer: Are you kidding me? You’re calling me a liar! I work at a call center, too, and you can’t talk to me that way! Cancel my services right now and send me my money back!

(I canceled the service and advised the customer of the refund amount for the unused portion of the contract, the entire time being berated for my awful service. I don’t know what she thought she was agreeing to as she completed all of the required steps to authorize the recurring payments, intentionally repetitive so the customer should be aware. Unfortunately, this same type of call happens all too often. And we don’t take an automated payment when the customer has chosen a billed option, that’s our fault, too!)

I’m From Konnecycut

, , , | Right | January 14, 2019

(I’m helping a customer make payments on a number of different accounts. It’s important to know which state the account is in, in order to find it. I find all her other accounts, but the last one, which she tells me is in Connecticut, is proving impossible to find. After about ten minutes I get fed up.)

Me: “Ma’am, are you sure this account is in Connecticut?”

Customer: “Yeah, unless KY stands for something else.”

Me: *head-desk*

A Hurricane Of Extra Charges

, , , , , | Working | January 13, 2019

(I go online to make my cell phone payment. When I go to submit the payment, it takes way too long to process, but it shows the payment made. The next day I check my bank statement to reconcile my checkbook and see that the cell phone company processed my payment SIX TIMES. Thankfully, none other of my automatic payments have gone through yet, or it would have sent my account into the negative by several hundreds of dollars. I immediately call the cell phone customer service line, and after forty-five minutes on hold, I finally get someone and explain the situation.)

Rep: “Okay, yes, I do see where that happened. There must have been a glitch in the system. I will submit this to the department that handles this and they will refund the money.”

Me: “Great. How long will that take? I have bills that will be coming through.”

Rep: “It will take about six to nine weeks. Then they—“

Me: “WHAT?! No, I can’t wait that long. I have to have that money back now.”

Rep: “Well, I am sorry, sir. It will take six to nine weeks.”

Me: “No, that is not acceptable. Get me a supervisor, now. Please.”

Rep: “They will just tell you the same thing. You will be on hold for a while. You will get your money back; it will just take some time. You need to be patient.”

Me: “Listen. I am glad you have over $500 extra lying around. I don’t. I have to have that to pay bills. I can’t wait over a month for it.”

Rep: “Could you borrow it from a friend?”

Me: *stunned* “Get me a supervisor, now.”

(I wait another hour. Finally, I get one and explain to them that their online payment messed up.)

Supervisor: “It takes the department that handles this six to nine weeks to do all the research and make sure that your complaint is valid. But I am looking at this, and I don’t see it as a problem. I know it’s terribly inconvenient, sir, but please be patient.”

Me: “No, it is more than inconvenient. The bill was for $100. You took out $600. Now, my bank account will bounce and my bills will go unpaid because, unlike you, apparently, I don’t have that kind of money lying around so I don’t have to worry and be patient. I will come after your company for all of the bounced check fees, plus I will come after you for all the fees I will have to pay to reconnect my electric and water because I do not have the money to pay the bills now. Or, I can just call my bank and report the charges as fraudulent. Your choice.”

(I think the severity of my situation finally dawns on him.)

Supervisor: “Oh, I didn’t understand that. I thought it was just a double payment. I didn’t see where it was six times. Crap. Okay, I have to put you on hold for a minute.”

(After another thirty minutes.)

Supervisor: “Okay, sir, I am sorry for the hold. I took a chance and called our main office; surprisingly, someone was there. We are working on fixing this now.”

Me: “Forgive me for asking, but why would it be surprising? It’s 10:00 am.”

Supervisor: “Oh, our main calling center is in Florida.” *there is a major hurricane roaring through the state* “And all of the service rep calls have been forwarded to this office. The truth of the matter is…”

Me: “None of you are trained or have the authority to fix any problems.”

Supervisor: “You got it.”

Me: “I bet you are getting some mad customers.”

Supervisor: “You don’t know the half of it. But honestly, yours is the only problem that has come through that really could not have waited until next week when they think the call center will be back up and running.”

(He gave me his direct line and told me to call him back if the money wasn’t back by the next morning and if anything bounced. I checked that evening and everything was returned. I understand a company having issues due to a natural disaster, but what good does it do sending your customers to reps that aren’t trained to fix problems?)

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