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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*

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.