Giving The BS-ometer A Real Workout

, , , , , | Right | October 25, 2018

(I work for a debt collection agency. We collect on behalf of other companies who are having no luck. Some of the most common debts we collect are old credit card balances and outstanding gym memberships. It does not matter whether you stop going – if you’re locked into a contract, you have to pay for however long you signed up for, whether you go or not. I’ve heard every excuse in the book. The worst one I ever got was this:)

Me: “Are you calling to make a payment?”

Customer: “I’m going to tell you what I keep telling [Gym]: I’m not paying!”

Me: “Our clients are looking to take legal action if your account cannot be resolved. May I ask why you aren’t paying?”

Customer: “Because they let paedophiles into that gym! I told them I wanted out because I didn’t want to go to a gym full of paedophiles!”

Me: “One moment, sir. I’m going to check the notes our client gave us.”

(I check the notes. The gym in question is members-only, and only accepts members over 18. In the UK, you are no longer a minor at 18; you are classed as a legal adult. The notes left by our client show that he has indeed been disputing the outstanding balance with the client and demanding early release from his contract, but his reasons were not accepted because: a) if there were a registered sex offender attending the gym, they still have the right to use the gym, especially as there are no children there; they are only barred from places with children, such as schools, b) the customer has refused at every opportunity to point out who all these “sex offenders” are, and c) the customer started doing this after six months, and had only attended the gym three times, all of those times in the first month.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but as our client has told you on multiple occasions, that is not a valid reason to cancel your membership. If you have reason to believe these sex offenders are picking up children near the gym, or using the premises for illegal activities, you should report it to the police; however, they are legally allowed to use the gym. The debt stands, and you are liable for the remaining balance.”

(The man continued rambling about all the paedophiles in the gym, telling me I was enabling them and that I must be a paedophile myself because I was taking their side. I advised the customer of his options, and of the consequences if he didn’t take them, and when he continued to call me a paedophile, I terminated the call. A few days later a complaint came in. The customer tried to get me fired because he claimed I was a paedophile. This complaint was never upheld because the call was recorded and I could prove he was lying. This didn’t stop him from trying to report me, the company I worked for, and the gym to the police. Nothing ever came of that, either.)

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Should Have Settled Down After The First Time

, , , , , , | Right | October 25, 2018

(I get a call from a woman who hasn’t paid her gas and electric account in twelve months. We are starting the process of taking the account to court to obtain a warrant to forcibly fit a prepayment meter.)

Customer: “Hi. I was calling to make a payment, but I wanted to ask for a settlement. My credit card company offered me a settlement; they took off 50%. If you take that off, I will pay you now in full.”

Me: “I’m afraid we don’t do settlements.”

Customer: “Don’t lie. Every company does settlements.”

Me: “I’m afraid not, ma’am. You can only get settlements on certain types of debt, and utility bill debt is not one of them. If you can only afford to pay half, I can put the remaining balance on a payment plan.”

Customer: “I’ll have to look at my finances and call you back later.”

(The customer hangs up. Thirty minutes later, she calls back and gets through to me again.)

Customer: “Hi, I was speaking to a young lady a while ago ,and I’m calling to take up her offer of settlement; she said if I paid in full today you would take 50% off.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m afraid that’s not possible. We do not do settlements.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not what the young lady I spoke to earlier said. I was promised a settlement. If you promise something you have to do it; now I demand my settlement!”

Me: “Ma’am, there is no way you were promised a settlement.”

Customer: “Oh, so, you’re calling me a liar? I know what I was told. The girl I spoke to promised me a settlement if I paid in full today. So, you either give me what you promised, or I never pay a single penny.”

Me: “Ma’am, I am the person you spoke to thirty minutes ago, and I know for a fact that I told you several times that you cannot have a settlement on an outstanding utility bill. I am looking at my notes right now.”

Customer: “Liar! You promised a settlement.”

Me: “These calls are recorded. I can prove exactly what I told you.”

(The customer hung up. I made my notes and informed my manager of the call, because I suspected the customer would call back and try and pull a fast one. I was right. The customer called back all day trying to get through to a different advisor, each time claiming somebody promised her a settlement. She paid in full about a week later, but lodged a huge complaint, claiming that everyone was lying to her and that I should be fired for making false promises. She even tried to say one of the advisors called her a b**** when they thought they had put her on hold. Call recordings and extensive notes came to the rescue and we were able to refute every claim she made. Eventually she gave up.)


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These Senior Citizen Rates Are A Steal!

, , , , , | Related | October 22, 2018

(I book my movie ticket in advance. On the day of the movie my grandparents pay us a surprise visit, and Grandma wants to watch with me. We can’t sit together as a result, and she is stuck in a back corner while I am in the dead center. At the end of the movie, I try looking back, but I can’t see her, so I decide to wait until people clear out and just join her when she walks down. After half the theater has emptied, I figure I have missed her and follow everyone out. I look all around the large sidewalk and don’t see her, nor did she come out when the last person left. I frantically go around to the theater’s entrance, worried, because I’m not sure Grandma remembers how to walk home and she doesn’t have a mobile. Whew, there is Grandma sitting in the waiting area!)

Me: “Hey, I missed you in that crowd.”

Grandma: “Where were you?! I didn’t see you! I waited for a long time, and then I came and sat here.”

Me: “Where were you waiting? On the sidewalk?”

Grandma: “No, by the entrance!”

Me: “Entrance?”

Grandma: “Yes! The door we came in.”

Me: “You exited through the entrance! You were supposed to follow everyone out the front.”

Grandma: “It was too crowded, so I just sneaked out the entrance.”

(It turns out my grandparents usually get tickets near the back and sneak out through the entrances, and that they have managed to sneak into other movies several times without getting caught. After we got home and I mention this…)

Dad: “Mom! You’re still doing that?”

Me: “You knew?”

Dad: “Yes, always going out the back. They tried to sneak me into another movie once but I called them out for it!”

Grandpa: “It would have been a free movie!”

Me: “Dad, didn’t you think to warn me grandma might do that?”

Dad: “She’s a little old lady now?”

(At least I’m glad Grandma didn’t go into another movie this time, or I wouldn’t have found her…)

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Should Have Checked Before Checking

, , , , , | Legal | October 22, 2018

(I am the “secretary/assistant” to my elderly mom, who handles all of the sighted needs for herself and my vision-impaired dad. I help her when she pays their monthly bills — utilities, credit card payments, etc. — and am an authorized person on all of their finances. It is the 1990s, and it is not unusual for major banks to send unsolicited, pre-approved credit cards — the cards themselves, not just applications — to people like my parents who have excellent credit. The banks also send unrequested “convenience checks” to credit card customers in good standing. These checks can be used for anything the cardholder wants to buy, and the amount of the check will be added to the credit card bill. One day my mom calls me because she’s upset about a credit card bill she’s received. The bill is for $7,500 US, and it’s on a Visa card from a major national bank where my parents have a small savings account.)

Mom: *worried* “[My Name], I know we didn’t spend that amount of money on anything last month!”

(We look through my mom’s “financial stuff” file and find the Visa card in question. It’s one of those unsolicited cards, but not only has my mom never used it, she’s never even called the 800-number to activate the card. I call the bank’s credit card division about the incorrect bill.)

Customer Service: *reviews the account* “Yes, that $7,500 is from two of our convenience checks drawn on that credit card; and yes, your parents do owe that amount.”

Me: “But my parents have never used this card, and they never received any convenience checks.”

Customer Service: “Yes, they did. Two checks were drawn on that card, on [dates about a month ago].”

Me: “Ma’am, I promise you, I’m holding this card in my hand, and it still has the ‘Call This Number to Activate Card’ sticker on it. We never activated the card, and we’ve never used it.”

(Customer service and I go around this loop a few more times: “Yes, they used the checks,” “No, they didn’t, and the card was never activated,” “Yes, they did…” etc. Finally:)

Customer Service: “Um, perhaps I should transfer you to our fraud division.”

Me: *gratefully* “Yes, please!”

(I repeat the story to the fraud investigator.)

Fraud Guy: *checks his computer and says, slowly* “Yeah… yeah… You’re right. That card was never activated. It shouldn’t have accepted any charges. Let me see what I can find out about this and I’ll give you a call back tomorrow.”

(The next day he does call back.)

Fraud Guy: “Well, Ms. [My Name], I’m happy to tell you that your parents do not owe $7,500, or in fact any amount, on this card. Technically, I’m not supposed to give you the details, but…”

(He tells me what happened. Apparently, the bank sent a set of the convenience checks to my parents at the address they’ve had for almost 50 years. The post office, however, instead of delivering to my parents’ address, say, 1234 North Avenue 76, delivered the checks to 1234 South 76th Street, an address that’s some 30 miles on the other side of our large metropolitan city. The people who received the convenience checks — which bore my parents’ names, address, and credit card account number — must have thought, “Yay! Windfall!” and they wrote one check for $3,500 and another for $4,000; thus, the $7,500 bill to my parents. Here, the fraud guy starts laughing:)

Fraud Guy: “But when the mistaken people wrote those two checks, they just deposited them to their own checking account. All we had to do was look at the backs of the checks, and we had the bank name and account number where they were deposited. It’s the easiest case I’ve ever handled. Oh, and we’ve cancelled that credit card number, so your folks don’t have to worry about it.”

(I laughed with him, we hung up, and with great pleasure — and relief! — my mom cut that card into itty-bitty pieces.)

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Stealing Away Their Complaint

, , , , , | Right | October 22, 2018

(I am an assistant at a store. We wear red shirts and jeans or khakis. Typically we only have two to three people on staff per shift. My cashier hands me the phone.)

Customer: “I was just in there. I bought a lot of things, and a young man said he was told by the employees to take my things out to my car for me. He walked out, didn’t put them in my car, and said, ‘Bye, b****,’ and took off with my bags.”

Me: “I am sorry, ma’am, but there is not very much I can help you with. Would you like to file a police report? I might actually be able to pull up the video if you give me the time this happened. I could even burn you a copy to give to the police.”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to file a police report. The man said your employees told him to help me to my car; I need you to fix it.”

Me: “I don’t think I can help you, other than with a DVD of the incident. Was he wearing our uniform? Did you ask the cashier for help? I don’t see how we are at fault. I do apologize that this happened, but there really isn’t much I can do.”

(She continued to repeat herself and ask for someone higher up, so I asked her to call in or come back Monday morning. I got curious, checked the video, and found the man she claimed took her items. I went over and over the video; he bought dog food and toilet paper bagged in two separate bags. He did pick up two of her bags, but he also did take them to her car, and as I saw him leave he only had his two bags. Not sure if she was trying to scam us or genuinely believed the bags in his hands were hers.)

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