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Was This Their First Call, Or What?

, , , | Working | June 3, 2022

This story was related to me by an American friend who was living in an Eastern European country in the early 1990s.

He had received a notice (and heard from various coworkers) that the telephone system was being revamped and that everyone would be getting a new phone number as a result. One day, his phone rang.

Friend: “Hello.”

Representative: “Hi, I’m calling from [Telephone Company].”

Friend: “Yes?”

Representative: “We wanted to let you know that you have a new phone number!”

Friend: “Okay! What’s my new number?”

Representative: “Um, I don’t know.”

Friend: “You don’t know?”

Representative: “I don’t have that information.”

Friend: “Well, how did you call me? What number did you dial?”

Representative: “I’ll have to call you back.” *Click*

She Will Need To Choose Her Next Phone Call Very Carefully

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2021

I work for a phone company in a call center. We are in training for a new scope of service, and part of that training involves listening to some of those calls that “may be recorded for training purposes.”

In this recording, a woman calls us in a fury. She has discovered that her son has replaced her number on his “five favorite numbers” list with the contact information of an unknown female.

Caller: “You need to change it back!”

Agent: “I am sorry, ma’am, but we legally cannot do that. It’s not your phone and he made the change intentionally.”

The woman flips out, screaming and shouting.

Caller: “You are crooked! This is so unfair!”

We then realise that the caller is calling from the store in her local mall. After about five minutes of rage, we hear the following exchange.

Serious Authority Voice: “Ma’am, if you can’t calm down, you’re going to have to leave the store.”

Caller: *Mostly incoherent raging* “I will not calm down! They’re cheating me!”

Serious Authority Voice: “Okay, ma’am, you’re under arrest.”

Caller: “I’m what?”

Serious Authority Voice: “You’re under arrest, ma’am, for [something muffled and unintelligible].”

This final declaration is followed by the sound of a mobile phone clattering to the floor/countertop, from where the salesperson retrieves it:

Salesperson: “Uh… yeah, sorry about that. I don’t think you have to worry about this anymore. She just got arrested.”

Someone Hand This Landline A Lifeline!

, , , , , | Working | November 23, 2021

My wife and I move into our new place in 2005. We reach out to a local phone company to get a landline set up. The technician shows up on schedule, gets things set up, and sets out on his way. We don’t use the landline much, but it is nice to have it just in case of an emergency. We mostly use it for ordering pizza once or twice a month.

About three months later, we’re in the works with a well-known ISP to get a cable modem set up. The technician shows up and gets things configured, and we now have Internet going.

Nothing seems out of the ordinary since we don’t use the landline much and we haven’t ordered pizza for a few months since the Internet was set up. I pick up the phone one day and there is no dial tone. Odd. I make sure the phone is plugged in, but there’s still no dial tone. I go upstairs to our other phone that’s on the landline and there’s no dial tone. Okay, something isn’t right.

I call the phone company on my cell phone and explain.

Phone Company: “We’ll set up a technician to come out to your place in a couple of days. The technician will call you with a more specific time, but right now he’s scheduled to show up between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. If the technician does not enter your home, there will be no charge for the visit.”

A couple of days go by, and I’m at work when I receive a call from the phone company’s technician at 11:00 am — three hours before he was supposed to be at my house.

Technician: “I was done early with my other jobs and I was in the area, so I stopped by. I noticed that you weren’t home, but I checked all the connections outside the house and everything for the landline works, so the problem is inside the house.”

Me: “Since you’re so early, I can’t leave work to meet you.”

Technician: “We’ll need to reschedule a tech visit, then, so we can check inside the house. You’ll be billed at that time for a tech visit. My visit today will be at no charge since I never went inside.”

Fast forward about a week. My stepdad and mom are visiting from out of state. My stepdad is Mr. Fixit; he used to be a certified plumber, electrician, car mechanic, and so on, for years. If something breaks, he has the tools to fix it 99% of the time. I tell him about the landline not working and I mention that I haven’t called for a tech to visit yet since I’m not in any rush.

My stepdad takes a look at the wiring inside the house and finds that when the Internet company came through, they must have disconnected the phone line while working and forgot to reconnect it inside when they were done working, or they knocked things loose and didn’t notice. My stepdad fixes the issue and the landline starts working.

A couple of weeks later, I get the phone bill for the landline and there is a $75 technician service fee on my bill. I was told no service fee would be charged if the technician never set foot in my house, so I call the phone company.

Lady: “[Greeting spiel]. How can I help?”

Me: “I have a $75 technician fee on my bill that is incorrect and I need to get it removed. I was told that if a technician had to come into my residence I would be billed, but the technician never came inside my house. He only checked connections outside.”

Lady: “I see. We dispatched a technician to troubleshoot a phone problem, which is where the charge came from.”

Me: “And I was told by the technician when I spoke to him on the phone and the customer service person when I set things up that if the technician didn’t enter my home, there would be no charge. The technician never came into my house because he showed up three hours early and no one was home to let him in. He only checked the connections outside and determined there was no problem outside of my home.”

Lady: “Okay. I can’t help you with this, but let me transfer you to the technician department and they’ll be able to help you out.”

I’m transferred and sit on hold for a good ten minutes. I speak to someone in that department and tell them the same. I’m told they can’t help and I should have been sent to customer service. 

I’m transferred and hold for about five minutes. I speak to a third person and give them my story. I’m again told that they can’t help me and that I should have been transferred to billing to correct the issue.

Again, I’m transferred. I hold for a bit and speak to a fourth person. I tell them the situation, and for a fourth time, I’m told they can’t help me and I will have to talk to someone else……

Yep, transferred again. I’m on hold for a few minutes and the first lady I spoke with answers the phone. Now I’m pissed. I’ve been passed around to multiple departments, told my issue to different people, and no one can help me.

Lady: “[Greeting spiel]. How can I help?”

Me: “I spoke to you a little bit ago about my problem, you passed me off to another department, and I got passed off again and again. I’ve told my issue to multiple people in different departments and I’m getting tired of the runaround.”

Lady: “I’m sorry, but there is nothing I can do for you. Because a technician came out to your residence, there is a technician charge.”

Me: “I was f****** told no service charge would be applied if the technician never came inside my residence. The technician never f****** came inside my house. I was not home. No one was home to let him in. What part about this don’t you f****** understand? I want this service charge removed right f****** now.”

Lady: “Uh! I don’t appreciate you speaking like that to—”

Me: “I don’t give a s*** what you like. I don’t like being tossed around like a f****** piece of meat, and no one is willing to help. Do your f****** job and remove this incorrect charge.”

Lady: “Hold, please.”

I sit on hold for about ten minutes and the lady comes back.

Lady: “The $75 technician charge has been reversed on your account; you will see this reflected on your next bill. You do not need to pay the $75 service fee.”

Me: “Thank you. I appreciate the help. I shouldn’t have to resort to talking to people like crap just to get help.”

The lady said nothing else and hung up on me.

I kept the landline for about another six months and then got rid of it. We started getting too many cold calls and spam calls to justify keeping a landline for the handful of calls we’d make on it.

Sometimes We Miss The Times Before Cell Phones

, , , , | Working | October 18, 2021

I’ve been wanting to switch phone providers for years since mine does very sketchy business. They are the people that call you even though you are on their do-not-call list, and if you don’t utter the word “no”, you’re paying for something. Unfortunately, they are incredibly cheap, so I had to stick with them for a while. I am non-confrontational, but with these folks, I have learned to stand my ground a little more.

I am looking at options to get a new contract but end up considering getting my current contract renewed — like I said: incredibly cheap — and after ruling out many other options, I finally find an offer on their website that I like, so I call them. I have to call three times since I have a specific question no one can answer and they apparently cannot redirect the call. (BUT, they can ask me to review the service they gave on the call.)

Finally, I end up with someone in the renewal department.

Me: “I would like [offer #1].”

Representative: “We don’t have that.”

Me: “But I’m looking at it on your website right now!”

Representative: “No, we don’t have that option.”

I realise that she can’t see it on her end because technically, I can’t switch to that contract since it is cheaper and considered a downgrade, which they don’t offer. I now also realise something else: last time I renewed my contract, they offered me a great discount to get me the deal I wanted, making me essentially pay only 15€ for a 20€ contract. Now I get why. They basically upsold me so I couldn’t downgrade below 20€. I was considering simply getting a new contract altogether, but since I am now speaking with a renewal person, I would have to call AGAIN to get a new contract.

Me: “Oh, so you offer that option only for new customers?”

Representative: “Yes.”

Me: “Well, what about [offer #2]? It says here on your website that it’s 12€ for [service].”

Representative: “No, that’s before tax.”

Me: “What?”

Representative: “That is before tax; it would end up being about 17€.”

Mind you, that would be false advertising and therefore illegal. She’s clearly lying to get me to sign something more expensive. I have to stop myself from laughing while also hardly being able to believe what I hear. She then also tries some other tricks.

Me: “So, I could get [offer #1] if I got a new contract?”

Representative: “Yes, but with all the fees included, a new contract would come to 130€.”

That’s another lie. Even with maximum 40€ for connecting services and maximum 8,50€ for keeping your number, it would still be below 50€.

I’m done with this.

Me: “All right, I’m gonna reconsider and call when I know what I need.”

Representative: “But I have a 200€ bonus waiting for you if you sign today! Otherwise, it’s lost!”

Me: “Yes, I am aware. Goodbye.”

I thought about whether or not to report this somewhere but I didn’t know where and I’ll bet the call was conveniently not randomly recorded, anyway. But in the end, this was the audacity I needed to finally look for another option. So, after eight years of feeling disgusting for doing business with them, I had a good laugh and left. The irony: this representative really made a customer happy — though not the way she intended to!

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.