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We Also Need To Verify If You Have A Brain

, , , , | Right | March 20, 2023

I’m working in fraud protection for a department store’s credit card while saving money for college. One day, I have a call from the store. A woman was putting in a request for a card at the store and was told she had to talk to my department before the card could be used.

Caller: “Why do I have to answer all these questions?”

Me: “Your credit bureau report has a note saying you’ve been the victim of identity theft in the past and that you would like extra verification to prevent anyone from fraudulently opening a card in your name.”

Caller: “Yeah, but that was years ago. I haven’t had trouble with that for a while.”

Me: “I understand, but since the credit report says you’ve had someone steal your identity, we need to do a few extra verification steps to ensure that no one else is capable of opening accounts in your name.”

Caller: “But I’m the real person! I don’t need anyone checking things now. Whoever was doing all that stopped years ago.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, you can always contact the credit bureau and ask them to remove the warning if you feel it’s no longer required. But I’m afraid since the warning is currently on the report, my system won’t let me move forward until I’ve done some extra verification.”

This is a lie; while our customer service team has very automated systems that control what they can do given the widely different types of fraud and how they should be handled, it generally requires a human who can use their discretion to handle these accounts, and as such, we don’t have automated systems restricting our actions.

However, I’ve found that blaming my computer for why I’m doing something tends to appease customers more than trying to tell them I’m not stupid enough to ignore a giant warning that someone may try opening fake accounts just because she asked me to.

Caller: “They didn’t tell me I’d have to do all this when I put that on the report!”

This begs the question of what she thought we would do to stop someone from opening accounts in her name if not verifying things like this.

She continues to grumble but does begrudgingly allow me to verify everything we need. I’m pretty confident that she is the real person, even assuming the thief knew enough to pass our extra verification, they wouldn’t have wasted time fighting me about it first. The fraudulent folks treat this like a job and ironically tend to be more professional — when not actively trying to upset us to distract us — than our regular customers.

Caller: “Finally! I hope you all at least put that guy that stole my social through this much trouble, also.”

Me: “That is the point of this, ma’am.”

A Neverending Chain Of No Help

, , , , , | Working | February 10, 2023

I’m trying to book a ticket to fly out to my brother’s for Christmas. It’s a pretty expensive flight for me, and I’ve done a couple of things, including applying and getting approved for an [Airline] credit card to help with things. The card also gives some decent benefits, including early boarding, a free checked bag, etc.

When the card shows up, the limit is a lot lower than I was expecting and lower than the cost of the ticket. I call the credit card number first because I am confused about the limit.

Representative #1: “I see that you have a personal card. I just want to let you know that you’re working with a representative for the business card.”

Me: “Um, okay… Well, I was wondering about my limit. Based on what I saw when I was approved, it looked like there was a temporary limit of [limit] for if you needed to use the card before you physically had it, but then once the physical card was activated, the limit would go up. Was I mistaken in my interpretation of things?”

Representative #1: “Let me transfer you to a representative for the personal cards. Bear with me for a moment, please.”

He puts me on hold and transfers me to another representative.

Representative #2: “Hello, Miss [My Name]. I hear you have some questions about your limit?”

Me: “Yes. Currently, it’s showing that my limit is [limit], and I was under the impression that that was like an automatic temporary approval limit when you apply or get approved, and then once the physical card got activated, it would go up. I just activated my card the other day, and it’s still sitting at this limit.”

Representative #2: “I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Most of the time, this card is automatically approved for [limit] initially. You can request an increase in three to six months, but because this is a new card, you can’t increase right now.”

Me: “I was hoping to use this to pay for tickets, and the tickets that I’m looking at are [price less than $100 over the limit]. When I used the option on my account to see if I’d be approved, it said it was partially approved, and I could possibly get it approved by making a payment, but I have no payments to make since I just got the card.”

Representative #2: “Okay, well, have you tried to purchase the tickets to see if it will go through?”

Me: “Um, no. But give me a second and I can.”

I go through the process of choosing seats and adding my card information.

Me: “It was declined.”

Representative #2: “Yes, I see the authorization attempt and that it was declined because it was over the limit. Well, have you done a wire transfer? You could just transfer the extra from your account to put your card over the limit, and that would be approved.”

Me: “Um, are you sure?”

Representative #2: “Yes. One moment while I get you the information.”

She gets me the information and we end the call.

I decide that rather than doing a wire transfer — because I’m just not sure that’s actually a valid option — I’ll just use two cards. I didn’t want to do this, but I figure I’ll just put the majority on the airline card and use the balance on my other card. Unfortunately, when I try to purchase online, it only allows multiple cards if one is a gift card. I call the airline customer service line.

Representative #3: “How can I assist you today?”

Me: “Hi. I’m trying to book a flight, and I need to use two cards to do that.”

Representative #3: “We can’t do that.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Representative #3: “Yeah, we can’t do that. You’ll need to go to the airport and buy at the counter where you physically have the card.”

Me: “Wait, really?”

Representative #3: “We can’t do that.”

I’m ready to cry and feeling slightly sarcastic.

Me: “Well, that’s great, thanks!”

Representative #3: “Yep.” *Click*

The call dropped into a survey before I could fully process what had just happened. I ended up posting on social media calling out the airline, and when I got the email survey, I was not nice about it. I acknowledge that the sarcasm may not have been warranted, but I was frustrated, upset, stressed about everything, and tired of everything that was going on with this. I was also worried about the prices going up again as they’d jumped almost $200 in the time between being approved for the card and physically getting it.

I ended up buying an e-gift card for what I was going to put on the other credit card because the ticket counters at the airport close before I get off work, and I didn’t have the option to go during lunch this time. I did finally get tickets for Christmas, so I hope the rest of the trip planning and the trip itself go better.

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 112

, , , , , , , | Right | January 17, 2023

I’m working at an outsourced call center for a popular credit card. It’s an inbound “sales” role, where we basically just take card applications over the phone. We have the goal of a 73%-ish “conversion” rate, meaning that at least that percentage of people apply with us over the phone as opposed to on the direct company or third-party website. It’s a ridiculous goal, as nobody wants to sit through ten to fifteen minutes of someone reading disclosures to you, but that’s neither here nor there.

I start my opening spiel.

Prospect: “Yeah, I want a card.”

Me: “Okay, great. I’m happy to help out with that. Did you already have a specific card in mind?”

Prospect: “Yeah, the [Company] card.”

Me: “We actually have several different cards to suit different lifestyles; there isn’t just one card called the [Company] card. Did you know which specific card you wanted? Or we can figure out which card would be best for you.”

Prospect: “You stupid or something? I said I want a [Company] card.”

I pause a moment to not tell the customer exactly what they can do with their attitude.

Me: “As I said, there are several [Company] cards: some that focus on everyday spending, some that focus on travel, and even some that focus on rewards at specific hotels or airlines. It sounds like maybe you’ve gotten some misinformation, so let me sta—”

Prospect: “Listen, I know how this works. I say I want a card and you send me a card. It’s that simple. I want a [Company] card. Send me one.”

Me: “That is… not how that works. We need to first figure out which card you want to apply for…”

Prospect: “Apply? I’m not applying for anything. Just send me a f****** card!”

At this point, I drop my customer service persona and go right into facts-don’t-care-about-your-feelings mode.

Me: “Look, if you’re not willing to keep this civil or work with me on the best card for you, I will happily hang up this line.”

Prospect: *Suddenly shouting* “I just want a f****** card! How hard is this for you?! I’m in Las Vegas. I need a new card. Send me one!”

Me: “You have given me no information, don’t know what card you want, aren’t willing to work with me, and expect us to just give you a new card and credit line because you want one?”

Prospect: “Yes! Exactly!”

Me: “That is literally not how any of this works. Step one. We figure out which card works for you. Step two, I read you the disclosures. Step three, you apply for the card. Step four, we get a decision. Now, I’m more than willing to get this done for you, but we will go through the necessary steps.”

Prospect: “I ain’t going through all that! I say I want a card and you send me a card! I know that’s how this works! If you’re too f****** stupid to understand that, get me a manager!”

Me: “I absolutely will not. They will have the exact same information and expectations. You can work with me, or we can end this call. That choice is on you.”

Prospect: “F*** you!”

Me: “I’ll be disconnecting this call now. Have a lovely day.”

Thankfully, I left that Hellish environment a few months later and am MUCH happier being treated like an adult at my new company.

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 111
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 110
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 109
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 108
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 107

I Can Do This All Day

, , , , , , , | Working | December 7, 2022

Porch pirates stole some replacement contact lenses and a frying pan from our front stoop. Fortunately, the credit card I used has buyer protection that covers items lost or stolen, so I filed a claim.

This is my most recent email to the buyer protection plan provider.

Me: “You have requested many items from me, and I have responded to every request. However, you seem to be running out of ridiculous items to request.

“Your most recent email asks for ‘A letter on your part explaining the durability of each pair of contact lenses, meaning how much time do the lenses last until you throw them away?’

“You may be shocked to learn that the durability of the ‘[Brand #1] One-Day’ lens is, in fact, one day.

“How can this possibly be relevant to your review of my claim? Do you also need to know what I planned to cook with the [Brand #2] pan that was also stolen? Perhaps your next email will request my shoe size (seven), my favorite color (blue), or what I had for dinner last night (chicken).

“It appears that you want to extend this process indefinitely in hopes that I will give up and just go away. Unfortunately, I have very little going on in my life, so I plan to stay with this process until the bitter end.

“It’s your move.”

Collect All The Information Before You Call Collections

, , , , , | Working | November 25, 2022

I fall behind on a retail store’s credit card bill — my fault — and get a letter threatening my credit score if I do not pay in full by the following Friday. I send a check and date it for the following Thursday so that it is before the deadline.

On Thursday, I receive an email with a ten-digit confirmation number showing that my account has been brought up to date.

The Monday after, I receive a call from the company I have just paid. The caller’s tone is no-nonsense, getting more aggressive as the call goes on.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Are you [My Name]?”

Me: “Who is this?”

Caller: “Miss [My Name], this call is being monitored and recorded for quality assurance and training. Are you aware of your account with [Company] being past due?”

Me: “That account was paid in full last week. What is your name?”

Caller: “We have no record of you paying in the last two months. If you do not bring your account up to date today, [Company] will have no choice but to send your debt to a collector, and your credit score will be negatively impacted.”

I give up on getting this woman’s name.

Me: “I paid. I have proof on my bank statement and a confirmation number in an email.”

Caller: “Ma’am, I am not going to argue with you. If you do not pay [amount I just paid] by the end of this phone call, I will send your account to collections myself.”

Me: “Okay.”

A moment of silence.

Caller: “Ma’am?”

Me: “I’m here.”

Caller: “Will you be paying your debt today?”

Me: “No.”

Caller: “Okay, that’s it. You’re going to collections.”

Me: “[Confirmation number].”

Caller: *Smug* “Is that your card number, ma’am?”

Me: “It’s my confirmation number from the email from [Company]. I received it on Thursday.”

There’s another pause.

Caller: “Can you repeat that number, please?”

Me: “[Confirmation number]. I paid [amount].”

Yet another pause.

Caller: “Thank you for your time, ma’am.”

She disconnected the call without so much as an apology.

I contacted [Company]’s customer service and told them about our encounter. They denied any such call taking place and showed that I had indeed paid up before the alleged incident.

I cancelled my card and left a negative review online.