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Un-Finnish-ed Business

, , , , , , | Working | November 24, 2022

I lived abroad for a while, and then I moved back to Finland. My mom had to sign for my phone and Internet to be connected, in her name, despite me not having lived with my parents for more than a decade.

I was informed by various employees, usually rudely, that I had “bad credit” and therefore could hope for nothing but a prepaid phone — definitely no house Internet. Now, that’s not something you want to hear, so I got my credit report. Maybe I had forgotten to deal with some payment when I left the country, and it had gathered interest in my absence? No, nothing of the sort — a report as clean as freshly fallen snow.

Further inquiries taught me that the phone/Internet company was looking for bills paid. In Finland. In the last two years. While I had not lived there for ten.

I offered proof of paid phone bills from the other country where I’d lived, paid electricity bills, paid rent, a recommendation from my landlord, anything. Nope, I needed to have bills paid in Finland; otherwise, their system flagged it as me not paying any bills. Well, I didn’t, seeing as the bills were nonexistent. During all this, the clerks also never failed to treat me as someone who was trying to scam them — by living abroad?

And that’s why I had to take my mom to the phone shop to sign for me, just like I did when I was fourteen.

What I really want to know is how people deal when they don’t have family here. Finland’s official line is that it wants to attract foreign specialists and experts. Well, if not having always lived in Finland is a crime, good luck with that.

Customer Entitlement Is Unlimited

, , , , , , | Right | October 28, 2022

This is in the earlier days of cell phones where a lot of plans have limited texting. We deal with unbilled usage, so we alert you before it prints and try to save you money.

Caller: “My daughter has sent a lot of texts! My bill is huge!”

I check, and her daughter has sent almost 5,000 texts, which racks up to about $500.

Me: “For $20, I can add unlimited messaging to wipe it all out like it never happened.”

Caller: *Immediately argumentative* “I refuse to pay $20 for something that you can fix for free!”

Me: “Ma’am, I am actually trying to save you money.”

Caller: “You could save me more!”

Me: “Or I could save you nothing at all.”

She complained. She got it escalated. She still had to pay.

Is It “Can’t” Or “Won’t”?

, , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: Nothanksimallgood | September 7, 2022

This was a good many years ago now. My husband’s phone bill had a spelling mistake. We never really paid any attention to it. It never really caused any issues… until it did, of course.

The mistake was simple — think “Rod William” instead of “Rod Williams” simple.

One day, we moved states and put in for mail redirection. Where I am from, mail redirections have to be EXACT, so the bill never got forwarded. In all that goes along with moving, it didn’t even cross our minds that the bill hadn’t arrived or been paid. Then, inevitably the phone got cut off. Once we realised, we were all set to fix it up, pay the bill, change our address, etc. But no, it can’t be that simple.

You see, to change the spelling mistake, we needed to provide proof of my husband’s correct name. But for any name change, they needed name change documents such as a wedding certificate or other official name change document, which he didn’t have as it was not a name change, just a spelling mistake. For some reason, his licence or passport was not good enough evidence. We asked what we could do to get this fixed up and they offered no help or resolution, just stonewalling that there was no possible way to fix the incorrect spelling.

Okay, cool. At this point, we were cranky. “Not going to help us with what should be a simple fix? We won’t pay the bill,” we told them.

They responded with details of the contract and our obligations, debt collectors, etc. My husband simply replied:

Husband: “But who are you going to go after?”

Employee: “You, of course.”

Husband: *Looking comically confused* “But my name is not Rod William, and I am not going to pay his bill. Good luck finding him. If you happen to send me my own bill, though, I would be happy to pay that.”

Oh, look! The spelling mistake was corrected immediately.

The “Deal” Is, I OPTED OUT

, , , , , , , | Working | September 6, 2022

My mobile phone contract is with a company that uses telesales to set up contracts. To ensure that any changes to your contract can only be made by you, your account is protected with a security password. Someone with that password can set up a new contract or change your existing one. The company regularly reminds us with security emails not to give out our passwords.

I’ve been receiving calls a few times a day from a withheld number that doesn’t leave a message, so I’m not able to block them or call back. Usually, I can’t pick up as they call during work hours, but today, I’m able to answer.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, I’m calling from [Mobile Phone Provider.]”

Me: “Right, you’ve been calling several times a day for weeks and not leaving a message. Is something wrong? Why haven’t you emailed?”

Caller: “I’m calling with some exciting new deals—”

Me: “Stop. My contract isn’t due for renewal and, even if it was, I opted out of marketing calls.”

Caller: “These deals are to take on a second contract, maybe for a child or your husband—”

Me: “No. You are not allowed to call me with marketing. Take me off your list.”

Caller: “I can only take you off if you give me your security password.”

Me: “No. I’ve got no proof of who you are as you called me, and my password would let you do anything you like to my account. You don’t need it to take me off your dialer.”

I’ll spare you, but here follows a long exchange where he keeps on insisting that I give him my password, and I keep refusing to give confidential information to a stranger.

Me: “I want to speak to your manager.”

The caller immediately hangs up. I assume at this point that it’s a scam, but I want to make sure that my account is still set to not receive marketing. I restart my phone to make certain that the caller is no longer connected, and then I call the provider on their official number.

I get through security verification and explain the situation.

Customer Service: “Okay, I can see from your notes that that was our sales team. I can transfer you back to them now if you give me a moment.”

Me: “No. I’m not supposed to receive marketing. I don’t want them to be calling me. They’ve been calling multiple times a day for weeks on a withheld number.”

Customer Service: “Okay, yes, I can see that you have opted out of marketing, but the sales team is calling with very special offers that you won’t want to miss out on.”

Me: “Under GDPR (US translation: information protection laws), I have control over what you can use my information for, and I’ve opted out. I’m also registered with the Telephone Preference Service.”

Customer Service: “But they’re very good offers!”

Me: “Get me your manager.”

Again, I’ll spare you, but I had the same conversation with the manager, who only agreed to stop the calls when I asked to be transferred to the cancellations team. I’ve got no idea why they thought that “very good offers” meant it was okay to break the law or why they asked their sales agents to ask for a confidential password when making unexpected calls from a withheld number. Thankfully, the calls then stopped.

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*