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April Showers Bring Confused Flowers

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Rina-yah | October 2, 2021

In the middle of each month, we get bombarded with calls from people whose phone plans have been suspended for not paying them.

Customer: “I want to know why my phone is not working. I just paid my bills!”

Me: “One second, please; let me look into that for you.”

I look up his account.

Me: “Thank you for your patience. I see that your payment has arrived; however, that was for the bill due in January. Unfortunately, since your bill from February hasn’t been paid yet, your phone plan has been suspended.”

Customer: “But I just paid those bills. This is ridiculous.”

Me: “Yes, I see right here that you just paid a bill; however, you still have one that’s overdue by almost two months already.”

Customer: “Two months? It was due in February!”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “How is that two months? It’s March!”

Me: “Sir, it’s the twelfth of April.”

Customer: “Oh… You’re right.”

After that, he was actually pretty nice, and we had a pleasant conversation. I even exempted him from the reactivation charges as he seemed genuinely sorry and I could sympathise with being so lost in time.

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Lonely, He’s Mister Lonely

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Mike_OxonFaier | August 7, 2021

Back in 1999, I worked for a British phone company in the billing department. One day, I got a call from a customer wanting to discuss some phone numbers that had appeared on his bill. I went through security questions and then looked at his bill. I was shocked by what I saw. His monthly phone bill was just over £1,500.00 which, given that my rent for a two-bedroom flat at the time was £450.00, was an astonishing amount. I looked more carefully and found hundreds or perhaps thousands of calls to premium-rate sex lines.

I asked the customer where he wanted me to start, and he only wanted to identify a couple of local rate calls. I found the information he wanted, and he said thank you and hung up.

A colleague saw me with my mouth still agape.

Colleague: “Was that [Customer]?”

Me: “Yes!”

Colleague: “That guy calls every month with the same sort of question, and his bill is always around £1,500.00. All sex lines. It’s amazing. I mean, he could hire a prostitute every day and spend less.”

I never had a customer like that again.

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Go Big So They’ll Go Home

, , , , , | Working | March 19, 2021

Several years ago, my grandmother lived with my family. After she passed away, my father was punctual about closing accounts she used, sending out copies of the death certificate when necessary, and so forth. But we kept receiving calls from her former mobile carrier.

My father tried everything, from resubmitting her death certificate, to speaking with a supervisor, to just hanging up on them. They kept calling, at least twice a week.

This, along with continued telemarketing calls for her, got on my father’s nerves. Finally, he took to answering any call who asked to speak with her by shouting, “She’s dead and you vultures still won’t leave her alone!” and bursting into fake sobs.

All but a few rare telemarketing calls finally stopped after about a week of that.

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I Would Walk 500 Miles Just To Screw The Jerks I’m Working For

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: gaarmstrong318 | December 10, 2020

I work for a phone network in the UK in the late 2000s as a shop salesman.

The company has a problem with declining sales, so, along with a string of other draconian measures, they insist that if you miss any one of your twenty-one key targets each month, you have to travel to wherever your area manager is and explain in person why you failed and how you will correct this for next month. If you don’t, they start disciplinary proceedings.

A lot of us on the staff realise the colossal mistake they made in the wording. First off, we can choose when to travel to them, and by law, the company has to pay for it. They even say they will pay travel and “other expenses” in the announcement and link to the government website stating the requirement.

Cue malicious compliance!

I have taken a new role in a different industry and am on my three-month notice. This new policy comes into effect in the first of the three months, and a while later, I miss one of my targets (for amount of accessories sold) by 2%. So, I get the summons to see the area manager.

I am informed that there will be a meeting of area managers held in Aberdeen — the far north of Scotland — in two weeks, so I schedule my meeting with him accordingly.

I live and work near the other end of the country, so I use the company system to book my travel, and due to the journey times — nine hours each way — I have to book a hotel for two nights. I also opt to pay the optional £50 to upgrade all my bookings — first-class rail ticket and a four-star hotel instead of a budget option.

On Monday, I travel up and stay overnight. Tuesday afternoon, we have my fifteen-minute meeting.

Area Manager: “So, why are you here?”

Me: “I missed my target for sales of accessories by 2%.”

Area Manager: “How do you plan to correct this so that we don’t have to start a formal disciplinary?”

Me: “I don’t.”

Area Manager:I beg your pardon?!

Me: “I have no intention of making a huge effort to sell £4 more stuff. I officially leave the company in three weeks.”

Area Manager: *Turning red with anger* “What the h*** are you doing here, then? Why have you even bothered?”

Me: “Well, I need a good reference, so I’m following all the rules.”

I also showed him how much they had paid to send me up there. Train tickets were close to £800, and the hotel was around £400 for two nights. So, they spent close to £1200 to send me most of the way up the country to tell the manager I was leaving. Oh, and they also paid me for three full days of work to attend this meeting, since it was on company time.

Coworkers told me later that they also did similar tricks and it basically cost the company tens of thousands of pounds to send staff here there and everywhere to these meetings. It also caused a huge turnover in staff who had just had enough with all the garbage. Around three months after I left, I heard that they stopped doing this as the cost was astronomical, and the amount of staff downtime was also astronomical.

The company has slowly learned their lesson, mainly through replacing most of the top brass with people who have a clear idea of what they are doing. But that was the best trip I ever had to Scotland!

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Doody To Your Duties

, , , , | Working | August 27, 2020

I have a reputation for exercising my initiative, even when it isn’t expected of me. This is my best example so far.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company], [My Name] speaking. How can I help?”

Caller: “I want to activate a SIM card.”

Straightaway, something doesn’t feel right.

Me: “Certainly. May I please have your name?”

Caller: “[Traditional English Name].”

Me: “And are you the account holder?”

Caller: “Yes.”

Me: “Thank you. Could I also have the password on your account?”

Caller: “[Password].”

Me: “That’s excellent. One minute while I pull up your account.”

The caller speaks with a foreign accent but has a traditional English name. Her address is in an area which is typically English, white, and middle class. That’s why it doesn’t feel right, so I investigate.

Her account shows that an upgrade was recently ordered online. The upgrade is for a top-of-the-range iPhone, but with a delivery address 200 miles away from the billing address. Apparently, someone hacked her online account and ordered an upgrade. The system sends an order confirmation to the real customer. To avoid alerting them, the fraudster needs to deactivate their phone immediately and intercept the order confirmation. Looks like a clear case of fraud. However, I can’t deny them access because they passed security. Instead, I go off script and throw them a curveball.

Me: *Quickly* “What’s your address?”

The caller drops the call.

Surely someone should know where they live? I’m definitely convinced they are trying to scam a new smartphone from us. I do not intend to let that happen, whether it is in my job description or not. I cancel the order.

Meanwhile, I check the account again. Unfortunately, the fraudster has tried the same trick again. This time, they got through to a colleague who did things by the book. The new SIM card got activated. I transfer the service back to the real customer and lock the account. The next time someone calls, they will be asked to contact the Fraud Department. Then, I get a reply to the order cancellation.

Order Reply: “It’s too late to cancel the order by this procedure. However, if you contact the warehouse at [email], they can stop it.”

Since it’s my lunchtime, I decide I’ll deal with it later. I go for some food and come back in one hour.

Me: *To the warehouse* “Hello, please cancel order [order number]. It is fraudulent because of [reasons].”

Warehouse: “Sorry, it was dispatched ten minutes ago.”

I knew I should have done that before lunch. I left copious notes on the account, throughout. The next day, my manager comes in.

Boss: “So, [My Name], apparently, you thought you had a case of fraud. You tried to stop the order, and locked the account?”

Me: “Yes?”

Boss: “That isn’t part of your duties; you should leave that to Fraud Department.”

Me: “Read through the notes I left. Have you seen a clearer case of fraud?”

Boss: “It isn’t in your duties!”

Me: “You have got to be kidding. And doesn’t it take the Fraud Department a week to get round to this sort of thing?”

I wasn’t formally written up, but I was more careful in the future to choose employers who appreciated initiative.

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