Thursday, May 15, 2008

You people........part I

"You people," was a phrase I got to hearing often when I was working in Customer Service. I almost wanted to tell customers that I was not part of some anonymous corporate mob. Anyway I worked for a credit card company for a few months doing customer service and I came to one conclusion, most American customers are either crazy, stupid, entitlement whores, rude, impatient, inarticulate, stubborn, cheap or a combination of all the above and more.

This is not to say that the company never used to mess up, at times it used to and during that time I for one used to understand customers getting mad. But 85% of the time, whenever a customer used to call about something going wrong it was their fault one way or another. I recall dealing with some winners during my time there.

There was this one girl who had one of those starter credit cards with a limit of $500 and she had maxed it out. So she calls in;

Girl: Hi! How come my card keeps on being declined?
Aco: Hi! Well you see your card is over the limit, you have to pay the balance and you can keep on using it.
Girl: I thought every month that I get a new $500 to spend?
Aco: No, you have to pay some or all of the balance every month.
Girl: -Clueless silence - Er, ok.....

Yes many parents here don't educate their kids when it comes to financial matters it seems. Another contendor;

Lady: Hi! Why does my daughters credit card bill have a fee for returned checks?
Aco: Hi! One moment please (goes over account) Well you see Miss, when you daughter got the credit card; it came with some checks that she could use to pay things off at a lower interest rates. She used one of those checks to pay off the credit card. You cannot use one of our checks to pay us since they are both the same account.
Lady: You see she is only 17.
Aco: Thinks to himself, 17 and stupid I'll see what we can do Miss

It doesn't end there. There are the wonderful people who call to ask their balance and then want you to go over each and every single item they bought, the price, date and location. It's okay when it's around 10 items but when its 40 items and they want you to go back months that's too much! One day I had had it and this dude called and asked me to read out a few months worth of items for him and it was one minute before I was to leave, I told him that we could fax him the statements and he refused, I volunteered to send them to him express mail and he refused. When the minute hit for me to leave, I transferred him. I have no apologies for doing that at all.

I'm special, I have to get it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was another special breed too. I remember that you could get a PIN number for your credit card, so you could withdraw cash. Stupidest thing you can do due to the interest rates for cash transactions on most credit cards, but remember people here want things now and will worry about the cost later. So now the catch was to get the PIN number, you either had to ask it to be mailed to you and wait for it to get to you; or you could use the automated system and get it if you had a landline phone. Of course the latter did prove to be problematic, for security reasons the company wouldn't let people use cell phones since this led to much fraud in the past, add that to the large number of people with cell phone numbers and this would lead to much drama. Someone would call and ask for their PIN, you put them through the automated system and since they were using a cell phone they would be sent back to a rep and some reps weren't smart enough to figure out what the problem was so they would be sent back into the system several times and of course by the time they get to you, they are mad as hell. So now you ask them if they are using a cell phone and they say they are and you break the news to them that they have to wait to get their PIN via mail and all hell would break loose. There was this friend of mine who was working late and our call center was the only one open so sadly she ended up dealing with the same man twice, the third time the dude comes online he screams;
" I want my PIN now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
My friend sighed and said, "Okay, 2478," just to get him off the phone. I shudder for the rep who talked to the dude after his card was captured by the ATM.

Still on the topic of PIN numbers, you have the morons who think that we store them all so they try to use the guilt approach. " Why won't you give me my pin? don't you want my children to eat today?"
No dear, it's your financial mismanagement and not reading the PIN procedure that led to this.

And for those who got their PIN numbers, this would lead to a different set of problems in the future. You see if you ever read the back of your credit card statement, it clearly says that payments are put towards the balances in the categories with the lowest interest rates and then to those with the higher interest rates. So cash transactions have the highest interest rates so whenever you pay to your card they get paid off last. The easiest way to deal with this is to pay off your card in full or not to have cash transactions, or you could call and moan like a bitch and hope the rep takes those finance charges off for you. I used to be a brute, no negotiation on finance charges over $100, anything less we could talk esp if you were nice. Anyway all the rules on that is not only on the back of your statement but also in your terms and conditions. Case in point.....

Lady: I just looked at my statement and I'm very upset!
Aco: No empathy on my part How can I assist you?
Lady: I have been having finance charges of $XXX for the last one year, it's making it hard for me to pay off the card.
Aco: Let me take a look please goes back several months. Miss, you see in month X of year Y, you had a cash transaction of $ABC and this has an interest rate of XY%.
Lady: But I made a payment of $ABC the following month.
Aco: Yes Miss, I see that but when you make your payments they are put to the balance with the lowest interest rates and then those with the higher interest rates next. Since you had purchases on your cards, that's where they went.
Lady: What?! Nobody told me!
Aco: Miss, if you look at the back of your statement; it's shown there.
Lady: Who reads the back of their statement?!
Aco: It's also in your terms and conditions which you received when you got the card.
Lady: I don't care, I don't want to get anymore interest on that and for all my payments to go to that section.
Aco: I'm sorry Miss but when you began to use the card those are the terms and conditions you agreed to.
Lady: I want you to close my account.
Aco: Yes, go ahead and cut up the card blah blah blah. Of course what she didnt know or want to know is that even if you close the account you still continue to accrue interest at the same rate lol.

There are quite a few tales I'm going to share soon but here is a PSA. Credit card companies don't exist to make you happy, they exist to make money first. If you don't want to get screwed, read over the small print before you open and account and get educated. Don't go swiping your card over town, pay the minimum payment each month and then wonder why you are drowning in finance charges and high interest rates.

Anyway let me get back to my customer free job.........


egm said...

I hear you. Working in a bookstore where I had to deal with customers some of the time made me swear from never having to deal with them ever again! More so Stato customers.

Hilarious, this!

KK said...

I do receptionist duty at my office for an hour and a half every Monday. When you call our number the first thing the answering service says before you get to the operator is 'you've reached the adminstrative line of the company. If you need to speak to customer service, please hang up and call 1 800.....". Most of the calls I field are for Cust. Care and I have to patiently explain to them that they do need to hang up and call the 800 number.

Mwangi said...

I have friends who have done the credit card job...I simply can't do it. I would end up having too much empathy for the customer.
Me thinks I will link to this article.....interesting storoz such as this shouldn't go to waste.
I assume you drank a lot more back in these days.....;)

wendwa said...

On a bit of a tangent from the flow here: Thanks for stopping by my blog, Acolyte. I agree with your comment on some level. I mostly disagree... but thank you so much for taking the time to share. :) God bless. And lol, I was not angry, just frustrated. It's hard being far away from home and not being able to tell a person some things face to face.

Wanyama said...

As an advert I 85 says 'ACT YOUR WAGE'
Oh btw for those having debt, financial management issues, listen to Dave Ramsey. His method is radical but when you hae a noose of credit debt hanging around your neck tightning every second, Radical is not such a bad thing.

Nubian Queen said...

Dude Navy Federal has me on their hate list!!
Haha dude i hate to admitt but im that chic that asks...what did i buy at the gas station on this date?
Okay also had a rant charged me some $14.99 that i supposedly did not cancel something that was supposeldy free...I was PISSED!! at my bank

Acolyte said...

@ egm
I always thought bookstore customers were the sane ones!
@ kk
That's genius for you!
@ mwangi
those greedy ungrateful customers shall milk you for all you are worth!
@ wendwa
@ wanyama
Credit cards in themselves can be useful when used wisely. But ppl here have no restraint whatsoever to be honest hence all the problems.
@ nubian queen
You always need to read the small print. free credit report is not free at all!

Digzer said...

Lol! I can only imagine your terpidations!