A Pre-Holiday Basket Case

| USA | Right | March 12, 2017

(I work for a call center handling issues typical AFTER something has already gone wrong. I take a call on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.)

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

Customer: “I need help finding an Easter basket for my nieces. I am not sure what to get them. I have never bought one before.”

Me: “Well, I can try and help with that? Do you know what your nieces like?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Well, do you know their favorite color?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Do you know what kind of candy they like?”

Customer: “No. Look I just need help picking out a basket.”

Me: “I’ll be honest. We are a major online seller. Since it’s so close to Easter, sir, there are hundred of baskets for sale on the website.”

Customer: *long pause* “Well… I know they like girly stuff… How about something with crafts?”

Me: “Sir, I looked and there are still several baskets with that type of stuff. Do you have anything else to help narrow down the search?”

Customer: “Just pick some out for me and I will look.”

(I spend the next 45 minutes adding over 20 different baskets to his cart/basket online and he says no to all.)

Customer: “We are getting nowhere with this. Every basket I want won’t make it in time. Why?”

Me: “Sir, the ones you picked out are sold by third party sellers. It looks like the each one is made to order when you order it.”

Customer: “Why don’t you make them ship faster? You should make them ship faster.”

Me: “Sir, I can’t make them ship faster. It’s their choice if they want to ship that fast.”

Customer: “You are no help. Screw it. I am going to Wal-Mart!” *click*

They Have An Immuno-Deficiency

| Green Bay, WI, USA | Right | March 6, 2017

(I work in a major health insurance call center, and receive a call about getting vaccines in pharmacies. I have told him that some pharmacies are able to send the claim to us directly, but others he will have to pay himself and mail us the claim. There is no rhyme or reason for it; each pharmacy is set up differently.)

Customer: “When I talk to the pharmacy, how do they have to be set up?”

Me: “They just need to be set up to send us the bill automatically.”

Customer: “NO! You said a word! Munual, manicle…” *rambles off a bunch of random words, some made-up, beginning with ‘M’*

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but I don’t remember naming a specific system, because there isn’t a name for it. They just need to have the ability.”

Customer: “You mean to tell me you don’t remember saying it, four-five times, just a couple minutes ago?” *keeps rambling ‘m’ words*

Me: “I’m sorry, but I really don’t. Was the word ‘manual’ maybe? You’d have to file a manual claim—”

Customer: *interrupting* “NO!” *keeps rambling ‘m’ words* “Munizate…”

Me: “Immunization?”

Customer: “YES, that one! They have to have immunization computers?”

Me: “Sir, ‘immunization’ is just another word for ‘vaccination.'”

Customer: “Well, you shouldn’t use such fancy words. I don’t know what they mean!”

Not App-y With Your Answer

| USA | Right | March 3, 2017

(I work for a call center that contracts out to a phone company.)

Me: “Thank you for calling the [Company] support. My name is [My Name]. How can I assist you?”

Customer: “My app isn’t working right.”

Me: “How is it not working right?”

Customer: “It’s not transmitting data to my watch.”

Me: “All right, there’s some troubleshooting steps we can do.”

(I lead the customer through the steps, but it still isn’t connecting properly.)

Me: “At this point, the app is launching properly. Contacting the developer of the app is the next step.”

Customer: “You mean, like, on their web page?”

Me: “Yes. If the app is installed and launching like it should, but still not working, that would be the next step.”

Customer: “I already did that.”

Me: “You contacted them?”

Customer: “Yeah, it’s a known problem. I just wanted you to have a different answer.”

This Man Is An Island

| Cork, Ireland | Right | March 1, 2017

(I work in a call centre taking reservations for a large hotel chain. Some of the exchanges will stick with me a very long time.)

Me: “Good Afternoon. Thank you for calling [Hotel] central reservations. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “You sound weird; where are you located?”

(The caller is overflow from our American centre and has a strong southern US accent himself.)

Me: “We’re in Ireland, sir.”

Caller: “What island?”

Me: *trying to pronounce the ‘r’ as clearly as possible* “Ireland, it—”

Caller: “Yeah, I heard you. What island?”

Me: “No, the Republic of Ireland. It—”

Caller: “Look if y’all don’t know what island you’re on, why the h*** would I get a room from you?!”

That Power Was Just A Rental

| Hampshire, England, UK | Right | February 28, 2017

(I am working for one of the major energy companies in the customer service department when I get the following call.)

Customer: “Hi, I think there’s been some mistake. I’ve got this letter but I think it’s an error or something, like maybe the system sent it out by mistake.”

Me: “I can certainly look into that for you. Does the letter come with a reference number?”

(The customer gives me the number. I pull up the account and ask the customer’s name, which is the same as the one on the account, so I confirm security details like date of birth and address to ensure this is the named account holder, and the details all match.)

Me: “What does the letter say? Because the only letters I can see that we sent are your welcome pack and the bill—”

Customer: “That’s exactly it! Why did you send me a bill?”

Me: “We’re your supplier. You used energy, so you have to pay for it.”

Customer: “What? No. I’ve been paying.”

Me: “Okay, let me just check the account to see if I can figure out what’s going on.”

(I check the account. There hasn’t been a single payment, but it looks like the customer is a new tenant who moved in a few months ago, so I check the previous tenant’s account. It’s not uncommon for old tenants to leave behind their payment cards since they won’t be needing it anymore and for new tenants to use it, either by mistake or because they don’t realise they need to get their own card. However, there are no recent payments on the old account either.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I’m not seeing any payments, but if I take some details, I should be able to trace them. First, how much did you pay and when did you pay it?”

Customer: “£600 on the first of every month since September.”

(I become a little suspicious, something isn’t quite right – this seems a ridiculously high amount to pay for gas and electric.)

Me: “Sorry, did you say £600? Six-zero-zero?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “And you said you’ve paid this every month? It’s not the total of all your payments so far?”

Customer: “No, it’s £600 every month. So like… over two grand by now.”

Me: “Who told you to pay that much?”

Customer: “The landlord.”

Me: *starting to see what’s happening* “That’s your rent, isn’t it?”

Customer: “Yeah. I’ve been paying every month without fail.”

Me: “This is for your energy bill, not your rent.”

Customer: “I know. But I’ve been paying my rent, Why do I need to pay for the electric if I’m paying my rent?”

Me: “Does your tenancy agreement say that utilities are included in the rent?”

Customer: “My what?”

Me: “Your tenancy agreement.”

Customer: What’s that?”

Me: “It’s a contract outlining how much rent you pay and the conditions of your tenancy. You would have signed one before you moved in.”

Customer: “Oh. I think I signed something like that. But I pay rent, so I don’t have to pay for my bills. Everything is covered. You shouldn’t be sending me a bill.”

Me: “Unless your tenancy agreement states bills are included, you are liable for the balance. Do you have your tenancy agreement to hand? I’ll go through it with you and help you find the part which details what your rent covers.”

(The customer goes off to fetch the paperwork, and then comes back. I get him to read me the table of contents and I guide him to the page the information we need is likely to be on. I’ve dealt with enough new tenants and disputes of liability to know my way around a tenancy agreement – particularly as most landlords use the same standard template. It’s not uncommon for a landlord to charge an extortionate amount of rent and justify it by claiming it includes utilities but then not pay it, or put the tenant’s name on the bill to try and weasel out of it. I am concerned that this is what is happening to this customer. Then the customer reads aloud to me.)

Customer: “Oh, here we go, this says ‘rent is not inclusive of utilities.’ What does that mean?”

Me: “It means your rent does not include your gas and electric or any other services such as the Internet. So you have to pay this bill. We can discuss payment plans if you cannot pay it all in one go.”

Customer: “But… but I pay rent.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but your rent only covers you for the property, not any of the bills, unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise which yours does not.”

Customer: “You have my name on the bill… How did you get it? I didn’t call you.”

Me: “It looks like the landlord sent us all your details when you moved in.”

Customer: *smugly* “Well, I’m not liable for the bill. He is.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’ve already established that is not the case. You live in the property and are responsible for all the bills—”

Customer: “Look, I’m studying law at uni. I know my rights. I didn’t sign a contract with you, so you can’t bill me without my permission. If my landlord did it, well, that’s fraud.”

Me: “That’s not how it works with utilities, sir. We were your supplier when you moved in, therefore you or your landlord were obligated to inform us that you moved in.”

Customer: “But you don’t have my signature on a piece of paper giving you permission, right?”

Me: “Like I said, we don’t need it; we’re a utility company.”

Customer: *laughs* “Yeah, good luck with that, lady. You’ll never get a penny from me. I know the law; I’m top in my class. You need my signature, and I need to be fully aware of entering a legal, binding contract.”

Me: “So you’re saying you won’t pay unless you signed a legally binding document agreeing to do so?”

Customer: “That’s right.”

Me: “Your tenancy agreement is a legally binding document. Would you agree?”

Customer: “I’m not f****** stupid; of course it is. It’s a f****** tenancy agreement.”

Me: “Go to the next section, the heading should be ‘tenant’s obligations.’ Read me what it says.”

Customer: *pauses, groaning down the phone* “Fine. But I don’t see what an agreement you said was just for the property has to do with this bill…”

(Customer begins reading. The first line says they must pay rent on time and then the very next line is: Tenant MUST pay ALL utility bills. As soon as the customer reads this line they pause and the line goes quiet for a while.)

Me: “Would you like to pay the bill in full, or would you like to set up a payment plan?”

Customer: “You think you’re so f****** clever. This doesn’t change anything. I’m not paying the f****** bill, I never agreed I would, and I’m paying my rent so I shouldn’t have to! I know my rights! I’m a law student!”

(The customer started going on and on about how he knew his rights, how he’d never pay because he was paying rent, and how if he was paying rent it was illegal for us to charge him for energy. The call was going nowhere and the customer was getting more and more aggressive by the minute, swearing up a storm. In the end, I informed the customer of the consequences if he didn’t pay and informed him that unless he wished to discuss payment, then I would terminate the call because it was going around in circles. The customer then threatened to come down to the office and (his exact words) “smash your face in,” so I terminated the call, informing the customer as I did so as per company policy. The customer called back and asked to talk to my manager, trying to get me fired by claiming that I swore at him, called him an idiot, and that I threatened him. Obviously I didn’t, so I wasn’t fired.)

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