The Great Filipino State Of Oregon

, , , , | Right | September 16, 2019

(The call center I work at does tech support for software. I am in the USA but customers can be routed to any of our call centers around the world. My specific site has a policy about not telling customers our exact location.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Product] support. My name is [My Name]. Can I get your first name, please?”

Customer: “Where are you located?”

Me: *slightly thrown off by the response* “Um… I’m in the USA.”

Customer: “What part of the USA?”

Me: “I’m in the Pacific Northwest.”

Customer: “No, you’re not.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “No, you’re not. I know you’re in the Philippines.”

Me: “Sorry, but you are mistaken. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my whole life. Besides that, what can I help you with today?”

Customer: *now half shouting* “Don’t lie to me! I can tell from your accent! I am a professional linguist and specialize in accents; I can tell the difference! How dare you lie to me?!” *now full-on shouting* “I want to speak to your manager! I’m going to report you for lying to me and shipping hard-working American jobs overseas!”

Me: “Since you refuse to state what your issue is and are needlessly hostile and insulting, I am going to end this call. Thank you for calling [Company] and have a nice day.”

Customer: “Don’t you dare…” *click*

(Some linguist, if they can’t tell the difference between a Filipino accent and a rural Oregon accent.)

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Scary Things In The Basement

, , , , , | Working | September 11, 2019

(My wife and I have just bought our first house. It is relevant to the story that it is a detached home, with a fully furnished basement. Although the basement is set up so that it can potentially be rented out as an apartment, it was not used this way by us or the previous owner. As is common after a move, we get a bit of mail meant for a previous owner. There is one piece of mail from a TV and telephone company addressed to “Resident” at “[Our Address] Bsmnt Apt.” A new envelope comes monthly. I call the company to correct the issue.)

Employee: “How can I help you?” 

Me: “Hi. I’m calling about some mail that is being sent to me in error.”

Employee: “I can help with that. Can I get your phone number or account number to pull up your info?” 

Me: “Actually, I don’t have any services with [Company]. That’s why I’m calling. I’m getting someone else’s info sent to my home.” 

Employee: “I see. Can I have the name on the envelope?” 

Me: “No, it’s just sent to ‘Resident.'” 

Employee: “Well, I can’t change the mailing information on your account if you don’t give me a name or a phone number.” 

Me: “It’s not my account. I just bought the house. It’s not even addressed to a real apartment. It says, ‘Bsmnt apt,’ but there is no basement apartment.” 

Employee: “Can you give me the address? I may be able to get your account from that.” 

Me: *provides my address*

Employee: “Please hold for a moment.” *brief hold music* “Okay, sir, I have the account pulled up now. It looks like you have an outstanding balance of [over $100].” 

Me: “What? No. You’re not understanding me. You have the wrong address on file. Whoever owes that balance doesn’t live here anymore. I just want you to stop sending his mail here.” 

Employee: “Sir, you still have to pay your bill, even if you moved.” 

Me: “But it’s not my bill.” 

Employee: “You live at [address], correct? Then this is your bill.” 

Me: “But I just moved here and have never had any services with you. Just stop sending any correspondence here. There isn’t even a basement apartment! No one lives there separately. You’re records are clearly wrong.” 

Employee: “If you own the house, then you own the basement apartment. You are the ‘Resident’ at [Address]. This is your bill. You have to pay it.” 

Me: “I’m going to make this clear. I do not have any business with your company. You are sending someone else’s bill to my address by mistake. I will not pay a penny. You have no name on file. You have an address that doesn’t exist. If you send me any more mail to this address I will consider it harassment.”

Employee: *long silence* “But this is your bill.” 

Me: “Transfer me to a manager.” 

(I spoke to a manager. She understood what I was saying and corrected the issue in minutes. I now record my calls with an app.)

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The Cost Is Alarming

, , , | Right | September 10, 2019

(I work in an office which supplies personal alarm systems to elderly people. This daughter calls for her mother and she’s already angry at the start of the call.)

Caller: “I just upgraded my mother’s landline to digital and I want to know how much it’ll cost to upgrade her personal alarm system.”

Me: “All right, I can help with that. What are your mother’s birthdate and name?”

Caller: “I’m not going to give you that. I just need to know what it costs!”

Me: “Ma’am, I need to know what type of alarm you mother has before I can answer that.”

(We have a scheme where we replace the oldest systems with new ones whenever someone who has such an old system calls.)

Caller: “Look. I need to know what it costs; it doesn’t matter what type of alarm she has!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t answer…”

Caller: *interrupting me rudely* “I DON’T CARE! JUST GIVE ME THE PRICE!”

Me: “I’m so sorry, but the middle of my sentence seemed to interrupt the beginning of yours. But, as I said, I can’t answer your question if I don’t know the brand of the alarm system.”

Caller: “Why not?”

Me: “Because it’s dependent on the brand of alarm.”


(She proceeds to give the info and, lo and behold, her mother actually has the old type of system, so she’ll get a replacement with no costs involved.)

Me: “Well, I can see it’s [Brand]; we can replace that for a new one with no costs for your mother.”

Caller: “Look, she doesn’t need a new one. I want to know WHAT IT’LL COST TO MAKE IT DIGITAL!”

Me: “I understand, but it’ll be free.”

Caller: “But WHAT WILL IT COST? I don’t know why this so difficult for you to understand!”

Me: “Ma’am, I do understand you, but I don’t think you understood me. It’ll be free! As in no cost.”

Caller: “Oh, okay… Thank you.”

(She then hung up! I didn’t have her phone number so I couldn’t call her back to check if all the information we had was still correct. So, I called her mother — we had no other numbers on file — to check. This 89-year-old lady was really polite and so, so happy that she was going to get a new personal alarm system! The daughter called the next day to ask why it hadn’t been replaced yet.)

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Helping The Disabled

, , , , , , | Right | September 7, 2019

(I work at a call center doing tech support for a big company.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company] support. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you today?”

Customer: “Yeah… my phone’s locked.”

Me: “I’d be more than happy to assist you with that. Now, when you say, ‘locked,’ what do you mean?”

Customer: “It’s just locked.”

Me: “There are different kinds of locks that can happen on your phone and each lock has a different way to fix it. What does the screen say?”

Customer: “It’s locked. What don’t you get?”

Me: *still trying to maintain my customer service voice* “Sir, what does the screen say?”

Customer: “It says it’s disabled.”

Me: “Okay! And is there a timer, or does it just say its disabled?”

Customer: “It just says it’s disabled and to connect to [Company Media Player].”

(I explain to the customer how he ended up in the predicament.)

Me: “It seems the only way to get your phone working again is to connect to [Company Media Player] and restore the phone to factory settings.”

Customer: “What?! Are you f****** kidding me? Don’t you all have some button you can push to fix this?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. We don’t have that ability. The only way to fix it is as I described.”

Customer: “But won’t I lose everything if I set it back to default?”

Me: “Do you know if your phone has been backing up to the cloud wirelessly?”

Customer: “That thing where the government and random people can see all my s***? H*** no!”

Me: “Then, yes, there is a very real possibility of data loss here.”

Customer: “F*** you. I’m just going to get a new phone and have them import everything over.”

Me: “That’s always an option if that’s what you want to do, but I do advise that you won’t be able to transport your data over because your device is disabled.”

(We went back and forth like this for a few minutes more before the customer became belligerent and I warned him twice before disconnecting the call. I logged everything that happened in the case notes and advised if the customer calls back to get him to a supervisor. I checked back on the case before the end of my shift and the customer did indeed call back. The advisor who got him next wrote in their notes that he was calling to get a refund on a phone he bought because he wasn’t able to transfer over data and his carrier said they couldn’t help. They also noted that when they tried to get him to a supervisor for assistance he became very angry and disconnected the call himself.)

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Making A Bold Claim

, , , | Right | September 6, 2019

(Like most UK car insurance companies, we set our policies to automatically renew if we don’t hear from the customer, so they’re not accidentally breaking the law if they don’t receive the renewal or something goes wrong.)

Customer: “Why did my policy automatically renew? You never told me it would do this. When I saw the price on your letter I went somewhere else.”

Me: “We did include that information on the letter, ma’am.”

Customer: “It doesn’t say it anywhere on the letter. I read through it carefully.”

Me: *reading from the letter* “Paragraph one, line three; it’s in bold.”

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