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Talking Down Before Falling Down

, , , , , , | Right | September 6, 2021

I work in a call centre handling small travel insurance claims. If a policyholder has a claim for a small amount — under around £100 — they can call us to log the details over the phone and send in any evidence by post, and we then assess the claim and write out with our decision and a cheque for any amounts due. This is my first “proper” job; I’m pretty green and generally wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

An older gentleman calls in to register his claim. While on holiday in Spain, his dentures broke, and he wants to claim back the cost of having them fixed. It should be a simple call, but he decides to be one of THOSE sorts when assisted by a young, shy female.

Caller: “You’re going too slow!”

Caller: “You’re not talking clearly enough!”

He even deliberately uses big, obscure words and then says:

Caller:  “I bet you don’t even know what that word means, do you?”

I got through the call, remaining super polite, and asked him to send in his receipts so we could process the claim.

I picked up the case when it arrived and assessed the situation and receipts against his policy. He was claiming for the equivalent of about £33 and his policy had an excess of £30. Oh… this was going to be fun. I ran up a cheque for something like £3.26 and dispatched it to the customer, along with the standard letter telling him his claim had been settled in full.

Sure enough, just a few days later, I was told that a very angry man wanted to talk to me. I took the call and he began ranting and yelling down the phone at me about this insulting amount he had been paid. Twenty years later, it still makes me smile to remember bringing this stuck-up old windbag down a few pegs.