Unfiltered Story #136318

, , , | Unfiltered | January 9, 2019

(In late 1996, Houston split its area code coverage — customers with service at addresses inside Beltway 8 retained the original 713, and customers outside it had their numbers changed to the new 281 area code. In late 1999, I got a cellphone, and was assigned 713-XXX-XXXX — a number which had formerly been held by an oilfield services company which had its headquarters outside Beltway 8 and therefore had been moved to the 281 area code three years previously. I regularly got calls intended for them, and initially I was patient, assuming it was a carryover from old publications and the like and would taper off as people started using new directories and so on. I even had my voicemail set to a message that would tell people to try again with the correct area code and only leave a message if it was in fact me they were trying to reach, not that this stopped me from getting a message or two a week from someone who couldn’t be bothered to listen.

As time went on and the area code change became increasingly distant, I lost patience, but of course I also had a greater number of people to whom I had given my number who would have to be informed if I changed it. So I kept on, although I no longer bothered to be polite to people using a number that was more than 5 years out of date (especially if they started out being irate at me for not returning messages left on my voicemail that clearly told them they were wrong). One of the greatest calls, though, was one I got after I’d had the number for five years myself, which means it was EIGHT years after the company’s number had changed….)

Me: “Hello?” (Remember, this is my personal cell, not a business phone.)

Caller: “Uh, hello, is [name I don’t recognize] available, please?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone by that name.”

Caller: “Oh! Is this [oilfield services company]?”

Me: *facepalming* “Oh, them. Look, you want the same phone number, but the 281 area code instead of 713; they changed it when the new area code rolled out in 1996.”

Caller: “199— you mean, like eight years ago?”

Me: “Yep.”

Caller: “But [name] put this as his current work number, with [oilfield services company] as his current employer, on his application.”

Me: “Huh. Well, if whatever he’s applying for requires attention to detail, that might not be his strong suit. On the other hand, I guess he never calls in sick!”

Caller: *cracking up* “I guess not! Okay, so if I dial again with 281 instead of 713, I should get [oilfield services company]? Thanks for your help!”

(I’m sure she should have just signed off after I told her the correct area code and not disclosed what she did about the reason for the call, but it wouldn’t have been half as funny if she had!)

Not Taking Account Of Your Account Of Events

, , , , , | Working | June 14, 2018

(This occurs about a month after my father passes away. I have been working to get various accounts closed. The one I’m having issue with is his phone carrier. Since I am not authorized to access his account, I have no luck until a monthly payment comes due. Before now, the workers wouldn’t discuss anything with me, understandably, for legal reasons. However, unknown to me, his bank account — which my name was on and has since closed — is set up to autopay to his cell phone. Therefore, I am finally able to get them cooperate with me a bit.)

Worker: “Ma’am, the payment for Mr. [Father] is due and it is [amount].”

Me: “Ma’am, I need you to listen very carefully. [Father] is dead. He died three weeks ago. I’ve been trying to close his account with you guys. I am not paying for a dead man’s account. His name is [Father]. His number was [number]. I even have his SSN and am more than willing to fax you a copy of his death certificate I am currently holding.”

(Line is silent for a few minutes.)

Worker: “Okay. Just a moment, ma’am.”

(Many more minutes go by.)

Worker: “Do you have [other service] with us?”

Me: “Ma’am, I am trying to close my deceased father’s account. To the best of my knowledge ,all he had was your phone service. Please cancel his service.”

(More minutes go by. I can hear her typing something. At one point I hear her talking and laughing with what I assume is a coworker. I am beyond frustrated by this whole ordeal, but continue to silently wait and try to be polite.)

Worker: “Okay, ma’am, it looks like I can send it back to his bank account.”

Me: “Ma’am, his bank account is closed. That is why you weren’t paid.”

Worker: *another long pause* “Looks like I can only send it back to the bank; you’ll have to talk with them.”

Me: *sighs* “All right, thank you. Is his account closed, though?”

Worker: “Yes, ma’am.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(I’m not sure what she’s talking about, so I go back to the bank and wait to speak to a banker so that I can clear this entire mess. I begin to explain the situation to him when there’s a knock on the glass. A see a young woman smiling and happily waving at him.)

Banker: “Hey, [Young Woman]!” *gets up and goes to hug and speak with her*

(I just sit there, floored by this display, but southern politeness kicks in, so instead of yelling at them I glare as hard as possible.)

Banker: *finishes talking to her then turns to see my glare* “I… s-sorry. Sh-she used to work here. She’s going to college. Uh—” *clears his throat*

Me: “How nice.” *explains the situation finally*

Banker: *types on his computer and cross-checks the account number, my ID, and my father’s death certificate a few times* “Okay, looks like everything is cleared up.”

Me: “I shouldn’t have any more issues? No more auto-payments on there?”

Banker: “Nope!” *wide smile* “And please, take this with you, should you ever want to open your own account with us.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(I tossed the pamphlets in plain view into a nearby trash-can.)

Allow Me To Deposit Some Reality Right Here

, , , , | | Legal | May 21, 2018

(I work for a telephone company and one of the laws governing unpaid accounts is that after a certain length of time they become “statute barred” for approximately six years, which means that the statute of limitations has expired and we can no longer collect from the ex-customer or refuse service due to an unpaid account. There are some “customers” who know to the day how long they have to wait before once again getting service they have no intention of paying for. Often a family will cycle between companies and family members getting free service most of the time. Then the company changes their policy so that even if their account is “statute barred,” the “customer” is considered a poor risk and can get basic dial tone only — which we cannot not refuse — but absolutely no services like long distance or calling features, or they can open a “deposit” account where we get our money up front, and a full service package comes with a very hefty deposit. When I get someone who is just past the date, I sometimes slip into passive-aggressive mode.)

Customer: “Hi. I would like to set up service.”

Me: “Certainly. Have you had service with us before?”

Customer: “No, I haven’t.”

Me: “Very well. We need to set up an account for you.” *collects identification information* “Oh, it looks like we have an old account from just over six years ago for you.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. I guess I forgot.”

Me: “No problem. Well, it looks like you left owing us money, so you have a choice between a restricted account or a deposit account.”

Customer: “What is a restricted account?”

(I explain how it is dial tone and local dialing ONLY.)

Customer: “But I want features: long distance, Internet, and TV.”

Me: “Then you would require a deposit account.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because you left your last service without paying your bill.”

Customer: “But I don’t owe you any money.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “So when can I get service?”

Me: “After the deposit posts to your account.”

Customer: “But I don’t owe you any money.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “How much is the deposit?”

(For the size of the service package and the equipment it is — no kidding — $1800. I advise the customer it is the charge for three months service in advance, plus the value of the equipment.)

Customer: “How about hooking me up, and I’ll pay the deposit in instalments?” *clearly no intent to pay*

Me: “I’m sorry, but the computer will not complete the processing of your order until the full amount of the deposit posts to the account.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: *becoming more and more agitated as they can’t find the loophole to get free service* “BUT I DON’T OWE YOU ANY MONEY!”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY A DEPOSIT?”

Me: “Since you did not pay your balance when you last had service, you are now considered a high risk for non-payment and the company wants their money up front.”

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *click*

Your Lines Have Been Crossed

, , , | Working | March 28, 2018

(While cutting back a vine outside my house, I discover that the engineer who installed the phone line attached it to a branch. It happens to be the same colour as the vine, so now I’ve cut it by mistake. I contact the phone company, who say they’ll send a repair worker on a particular day between eight and one. One o’clock on that day comes and they’re still not there, so I phone them again.)

Representative: “According to our system, they’ve flagged it as done.”

Me: “Well, it isn’t, because no one’s been here all day.”

Representative: “They say it’s been done.”

Me: “I’m looking at it right now, and it’s still broken.”

Representative: “Are you sure about that?”

Me: “It’s trailing wires.”

Representative: “Clearly, the problem was somewhere else in the system.”

Me: “No. The problem is right outside my house.”

Representative: “They say they tested it.”

Me: “My landline is still not working. They haven’t tested it, because they haven’t been here.”

Representative: “There must have been confusion somewhere.”

Me: “I told you the line has broken outside my house. I gave you an address. How can you confuse that?”

Representative: “What do you want us to do?”

Me: “Contact the people who were supposed to come here and find out what is going on.”

Representative: “Ooh, they’re a bit difficult to get hold of.”

Me: “What kind of system is it if they can remotely mark jobs as done, but you can’t just phone them up?”

Representative: “They’ll be with you at some point. You must understand, we’re a bit busy.”

Me: “Do you think I’ve not got things to do today? I’ve kept up my end of the bargain and stayed in all day. What am I supposed to do? Stay in the rest of the day? Tomorrow? I want you to find out!”

Representative: “There’s procedures we need to go through if there’s extra work that needs doing.”

Me: “No. This isn’t a case of ‘extra work.’ This is a case of work that needs doing because they haven’t done it!”

Representative: “All right. I’ll phone them, but I need the line clear.”

Me: “Just phone me as soon as you know something.”

(It turned out they’d been sent to the wrong address. Exactly what they fixed there, I don’t know.)

It’s Time For A Change

, , , , , | Working | March 15, 2018

(I am the customer in this story, calling the phone company to get my “new” phone number changed.)

Me: “I moved not too long ago and had this number assigned to me, but I need to change it. Whoever had this number before me must have been very popular, because I am getting multiple calls per day for them.”

Representative: “Okay. We can do that for you, but there will be a $50 fee to have your number changed.”

Me: “Um, okay, I’m not requesting this just for the fun of it, or because I don’t like my number or what the numbers add up to, or something crazy like that. Like I said, I am getting multiple calls every day for this person, and I need it changed, please.”

Representative: “I understand, but there is a charge associated with changing the number, and it is $50.”

Me: “Again, I am not doing this just for s***s and giggles. Why should I have to pay $50 because you guys stuck me with a phone number that obviously has not been out of circulation long enough for all these people to know they no longer have a valid number? Having to answer someone else’s phone calls multiple times a day is not fun, especially when the person who had this number spoke a different language. I don’t even know if the people who are calling understand what I am saying because most of them don’t understand English!”

Phone Representative: “I am sorry, but the only way we can waive the charges is if the calls were threatening or harassing.”

Me: “Trust me: the calls will get threatening and harassing if you don’t waive your stupid fee and change my number for free!

Phone Representative: “Umm… Okay… We will change your number, free of charge, for you.”

Me:Thank you!”

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