Take Council In Your Words

, , , , , , | Right | September 12, 2019

(I work as a receptionist in Melbourne for a company with multiple branches, one of which subcontracts to a [Nationwide Telecommunications Company] upgrade which is rather unpopular, meaning I’ve dealt with a fair few disgruntled callers, but this one really takes the cake. An upset woman calls up demanding to speak to a manager of our telecommunications branch, demanding that a piece of equipment just outside her home be replaced or upgraded because it’s not been done properly. Our staff have spray-painted a big cross on it as we can’t proceed with the upgrade due to the equipment being unsuitable or damaged. Unfortunately, we have no control over the equipment, as it’s previously installed by [Telecommunications Distributor] and is outside of our scope of work and is the property of [Distributor], but the woman is refusing to listen to me and demanding to speak to a manager. Technically speaking, she is not our customer, as our customer is [Distributor] and not the end user.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but the best thing I can do for you is forward you to the [Distributor] faults line to handle…”

Woman: *snappily* “Well, I’m not even their customer; I’m the customer of [Telecommunications Provider], so I want to talk to your mob, instead.”

Me: “Hang on. Have you spoken to [Provider] about your concerns about this yet?”

Woman: “No, but your mob are in the area doing work on the equipment, so you can repair and replace it while you’re there. My concern is that your mob won’t do the work which means I’ll be unable to use phones and Internet when [Nationwide Telecommunications] upgrade is complete, meaning I’ll be left without Internet or phone lines.”

Me: “Well, technically, that’s not accurate, since wireless options exist, as well. Anyway, we still aren’t involved and you’ll need to speak with—”

Woman: *cutting me off* “Well, don’t take this personally, but I feel like your mob just aren’t going to do the work because it’s in the ‘too hard’ basket, and then you’ll be gone, and I’ll be stuck!”

Me: “I understand, but—”

Woman: “So, let me speak to a manager already!”

Me: *sighing inwardly* “Again, unfortunately, our customer is [Distributor], meaning you’d need to speak with them about any issues you may have. We have no control over what may exist or not; we’re just in the area doing upgrades.”

Woman: “In that case, I want to talk to your manager as your staff have defaced my property!”

(I’m a bit perplexed; our staff are trained to not do any sort of damage to private property. It’s also important to note here that in Australia, anything past a dwelling’s driveway, such as the pavement and the nature strip, belong to the local council, and not the individual homeowner.)

Me: “Hang on. I thought you said that the markings were on the pavement.”

Woman: “Yes! It’s on the pavement and the equipment; they’ve defaced my nature strip!”

Me: *deadpan voice* “Technically, that doesn’t belong to you. That belongs to the council.”


Woman: “You know an awful lot for a receptionist. Fine, I’ll call the council, and call [Distributor] and the ombudsman to sort this out!”

Me: “That’s fine. You have a nice day, then.”

(I hung up the phone on her at that point. I honestly don’t know what she expected the company I work for to do, especially when I kept telling her she had to contact [Distributor] to sort it out, as we had no control over it!)

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