So Much Entitlement It Could Be Metered

| UK | Right | February 3, 2017

(I work for one of the major energy suppliers, dealing with accounts that haven’t been paid in 18 months and are in the process of being taken to court to get a warrant so we can fit a prepayment meter to contain the debt. I receive a call from a customer who is deeply unhappy about a letter which tells her we have been granted a warrant from the courts and are coming to her house next week to fit a prepayment meter.)

Customer: “You had better not fit that. If you fit it, I will sue. You do not have my permission; I don’t want one.”

Me: “Unfortunately we have been forced to go to court to get one in order to contain your debt. We have received no contact from you until today despite our many letters and calls. The only way to stop this from happening is to pay at least half the balance, and then set up a payment plan. You haven’t been paying your bill so we need a way to stop the debt getting bigger.”

Customer: “Well, I can’t afford to pay that. Look, I don’t give you my permission to fit that meter. My husband and I will be on a cruise in the Caribbean. We’re away for two weeks so we won’t be there.”

Me: “The warrant grants us entry whether you are there or not. They will call a locksmith, which you will be charged for. Unless you can get a friend to wait in for you while you are out who can let them in? I can also negotiate for the debt to be reclaimed through the meter over a number of years instead of over just one year if you like. I understand it would be hard to pay off such a large amount over just one year.”

Customer: “You are not listening! I DON’T WANT A PREPAYMENT METER! There, now you cannot fit it without my permission.”

Me: “A judge has given us permission. As I explained, it is to control the debt. You have not paid for your energy in almost two years. There is still time to fix this without the need to have the meter in. If you can pay at least half the balance and set up a payment plan, I can stop the warrant.”

Customer: “You didn’t tell me I had any overdue bills.”

Me: “You haven’t received any letters?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Let me just check the system to see what has happened.”

(I quickly check and see that we have sent her 12 letters informing her the bills were overdue — three were hand delivered by field agents. I also see that we tried to call her several times and each time she refused to talk to us, and when the field agents tried to talk to her in person, she refused to open the door even when they reassured her they were not bailiffs.)

Me: “We’ve sent you 12 letters—”

Customer: “Well, I never got any of them. Not my problem.”

Me: “Three were hand delivered. We know you got those.”

Customer: “You must’ve put those in the wrong letter box. I never got them.”

Me: “The field agent would’ve taken a photo of your door, including the number. But like I said, if you pay half the balance, I can stop the warrant. I can even set up a payment plan to spread the debt over two years instead of one, to make it more manageable.”

Customer: “Why should I pay if you never sent me any letters?”

Me: “Like I explained, we have been sending you letters. You haven’t paid for almost two years. If you weren’t getting your bills when we sent them, why didn’t you call to ask where your bills were?”

Customer: “It’s your job to make sure I get my bills. Why should I chase you?”

Me: “We did send you your bills; if they didn’t get there that is an issue with Royal Mail not us. We did everything we were supposed to do. You know you are using energy and you know you have to pay it. You have a responsibility to ensure you get your bills as well.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t want a prepayment meter. Nobody is going to be there to top it up and our electric will go off and if it does I will be sending you the bill for our fish! They will die without their pump and they cost £300 each!”

Me: “If you don’t want a prepayment meter, you will need to pay half your balance 48 hours before the warrant team are due to go out, and then set up a payment plan. They need 48 hours notice to cancel the warrant. If you can get the money to pay at least half the balance between now and then, I can stop the warrant and we can set up an arrangement for the rest of the balance.”

Customer: “I can’t get you that much money! My husband and I need that for our spending money; I told you we’re going on a cruise to the Caribbean.”

Me: “Well, then, I can’t stop the warrant action. They will be there next week, and will fit that prepayment meter. All I can suggest is to get a friend to wait in and also to top up to meter while you are out to save your fish.”


Me: “You have to pay for your energy whether you have a prepayment meter or not. If you had paid your bill, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I have given you your options: pay half the balance between now and 48 hours before the warrant officers come out and then set up a payment plan for the rest, let them fit a meter and get a friend to wait in and top it up while you are away, or just let them fit it while you are on holiday and hope for the best. Do you have any questions?”

Customer: “Why are you making me have a prepayment meter?!”

Me: “Because you haven’t been paying your bills. Now, which option do you want to take?”

Customer: “…do you take Visa?”

(The customer paid half the bill and I cancelled the warrant visit, but I explained that if she defaults on any of her payments, the warrant is good for 6 months and they will come straight out and fit that meter and the only way to stop that will be to pay the rest of the balance. A few months later, the customer defaulted on her payment plan and the warrant team went out and fitted a prepayment meter. We sent 3 letters to the customer prior to this, one of which was hand delivered. The customer wrote in to complain saying that I told her if she paid half her balance, I would write the rest off and she would have nothing else to pay. She also said we killed her 6 £300 tropical fish and wanted us to compensate her – she wanted £1800 for the fish and £2000 for ’emotional trauma.’ She even sent in receipts proving how much they cost and they did indeed cost £300 each. Our manager obviously said no. The customer then said she was going to take this up with our CEO. We never heard anything about it so I’m not sure if she wrote to the CEO or not.)

Shutting Down Your Attempts At Shutting Down

, | USA | Working | February 1, 2017

(Our city is going through a particularly bad winter, with weather that’s extreme for the area. The city decides to shut down for one bad approaching ice storm, and recommends that other area businesses do the same for a long weekend. I get up on the morning of the first day to find my roommate getting ready for work.)

Me: “Aren’t you guys closed today like everyone else?”

Roommate: “Nope. When I asked my supervisor last night, she said, and I quote, ‘If an earthquake occurs, and the ground opens up to swallow [Call Center], then you will still report to work to find out which center we will reassign you to.’ So I get to go in today. Hooray.”

(She goes to work, and the storm arrives exactly at 11 am, as predicted. My roommate sticks it out, but her coworkers are getting fed up and leaving, risking not only bad driving conditions, but also being written up at work. Finally around three pm, my roommate is told that she is allowed to go home without the risk of disciplinary action. The center is going to remain open, thanks to one stubborn boss who refuses to close. My roommate carefully drives home, but just as she is arriving, her car slides on ice and she manages to do $3000 worth of damage to the undercarriage of her car. She is cold and frustrated by the time she walks in the door at four. She tells me what happened, and how she got a text from a coworker saying that other bosses finally overrode the stubborn one, and they closed the center shortly after she left. We are watching a movie a little later when she gets a text alert and snickers at the message.)

Me: “What’s so funny?”

Roommate: “Schadenfreude. The boss who refused to close the center got stuck sleeping there overnight.”

(The boss was fine. He had power and food to last him until he could safely leave. But the company magically changed their tune after that, offering cash bonuses to employees who opted to come in during bad weather, and closing the center much, much sooner. Funny how the employees can go hang when the weather gets dangerous, but when something bad happens to the boss, they fall all over themselves to change the policies!)

GPS: Great Practitioners Of Stupidity

| Australia | Working | January 31, 2017

Customer: “My GPS works during the day; just not at night.”

Me: “Well, duh! It can’t see where it is; how is it supposed to tell you how to get somewhere?”

Taking A Price Hike Strike

| UK | Right | January 23, 2017

(I work for one of the major energy suppliers in the UK, in the department that deals with accounts that have not been paid for at least 18 months and are in the process of being taken to court for a warrant. When the energy prices surged, we got a lot of customers calling to complain about it, understandably so, but some customer’s tried to use this to their advantage.)

Customer: “Yeah, I’m calling to say I won’t be paying my bill.”

Me: “Unfortunately you will have to pay it. If you cannot pay it all in one go, I can talk you through various payment plans.”

Customer: “Nope. I’m not paying. You’re charging me too much. I’ve been watching TV. Watchdogs are investigating you lot for charging more than you need to, jacking up your prices too quickly, and not putting them down. I’m not paying these inflated prices!”

Me: “Let me check your account a moment.”

(I check the customer’s account. The price rises happened a few months ago, but the customer hasn’t been paying for about eighteen months. Also, he’s on a fixed price plan which means that his tariff will stay the same even if the energy prices go up and down. I also note his plan should have expired six months ago but due to a system glitch, it has kept him on this low plan.)

Me: “Sir, it appears you have been unaffected by the price increase. You have been on a fixed price plan, which, due to a technical error on our end, has kept you on it six months longer than it should have. As this was our error we will keep the bill at the rate it has been charged up to today, but you must make arrangements for this balance.”

Customer: “But if I’m on the low plan why is my bill so high? It’s £1000!”

Me: “That’s not just one bill, it’s six. You haven’t been paying us anything.”

Customer: “But £1000 is extortion! You must be charging it at the jacked up rate!”

Me: “What kind of home do you have? Is it a flat or a house?”

Customer: “House. Three bedroom.”

Me: “And who lives there with you?”

Customer: “My wife and our two kids.”

Me: “Well, your average monthly usage over those 18 months is about £55 which is excellent for a family of five in a three-bed house. It’s lower than the national average.”

Customer: “But the bill says £1000, not £55.”

Me: “Yes, but that is 18 months worth of bills. it’s six quarters. Six bills. If you divide £1000 by the 18 months it is for, you get £55. That’s your average. You haven’t cleared any of the balance so it keeps going up and up. Now, would you like to discuss any payment plans?”

Customer: “No! I’m not paying! This is too high. It’s too much. You jacked up your prices and in protest, I am not paying.”

Me: “I just explained you have been unaffected by the price changes.”

Customer: “So? It’s the principle of the thing. You can’t just hike up prices and expect people to pay them. I won’t pay in protest.”

Me: “Would you at least consider paying the bills that came out before the price increase?”

Customer: “Nope. I won’t pay you a penny until you lower your prices.”

Me: “This is going to court for a warrant in a few months. If you do not resolve your account before then, the warrant allows them to come into your property and fit you a prepayment meter to control the debt.”

Customer: “When is the court date?”

(I give the customer the court date on the system.)

Customer: “Good, I’ll go to the court and explain to the judge.”

Me: “The judge will not accept you are protesting price increases that you have not been affected by, or that you are refusing to pay bills that have been outstanding way before these price increases. If it goes to court, fees will be added to your account – these can be up to £300.”

Customer: “Don’t worry, the judge will take my side. They know what crooks you all are. By the end, you’ll have wiped off all my debt and be paying me money.”

Me: “The judge will not find in your favour because as I said you have been unaffected by the energy price changes, and even if they did, you’d still be expected to pay for the energy you used before the price increase.”

Customer: “We’ll see about that.”  *hangs up*

They’re Out For The Count(y)

, | TX, USA | Right | January 19, 2017

(I work for a call center for a well know bank. Due to concerns about fraud, for any transaction that the bank deems ‘high risk’ we have to verify our customers further before we do a transaction. One of the ways to do it is to ask questions that are pulled from their credit report.)

Customer: “I need to change my address; I am moving Tuesday.”

Me: “Ok, sir, I can understand why that would be important to you. I will need to verify you more fully before we proceed. I will ask you a couple of public record questions, followed by a ‘none of the above’ or ‘does not apply’. Please select which opens fits you best, okay?”

Customer: “Go ahead.”

Me: “What county is on record with [Bank] for your residential address?” *I read the options*

Customer: “I don’t have a county. I live in a city.”

Me: “Yes, sir, I understand that. Do you live in the United States?”

Customer: “Yeah.”

Me: “Then you do live in a county; what county do you live in?”

Customer: “OH! I heard you wrong. You said country! I live in the United States.”

Me: “No, sir. That is not a county. You know, like, Orange County in California?”

Customer: “Wait, the color or the food?”

(Needless to say the customer didn’t pass the authentication and ended up needing to go to the branch. I wonder if that guy ever found out what a county was…)

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