Friday, September 17, 2004

A Drawer Full of Stories - Part Two

Since I am leaving the phone bank, I felt it was time to go through my list of escalated calls. I came across a few of them that I still remembered very well and thought you might be amused. Beth did a post about her drawer full of stories awhile back and it was quite funny (and a little scary)

The first customer, Mr. Money For Free (MFF (because, really, that's what he wanted))) called because he had overdraft fees on his account and wanted to talk to a supervisor. I was the one fortunate enough to get him.

DM: Thank you for calling, etc. I understand you are calling about the overdraft fees.
MF: This is wrong. You can't do this to me. I am going to sue.
DM: Okay. I'd be happy to review the account with you, sir.
MF: You had better. I am not happy with your service at all. These fees must be removed!
DM: Again, I'd be happy to go over your account, sir. Is there something that has gone through your account that you don't recognize?
MF: No.
DM: You made these purchases?
MF: Yes.
DM: Sir, I'm showing that at the time of these purchases, your account had a total of $50.00. You made purchases totalling $150.00.
MF: I know this. Why are you telling me this? I already know this.
DM: So you were aware that your account did not have the funds in it at the time you made these purchases?
MF: Yes.
DM: I'm sorry, sir. I'm puzzled. You deliberately used funds that you did not have. Your account became overdrawn and there were fees assessed.
MF: There should not be any fees! This is a bank error.
DM: I'm not showing an error. You have told me you made purchases and were aware there were not funds in the account. That is not a bank error.
MF: (Screams in frustration) Yes! Yes, it is an error! I called and told them that I was moving to Wisconsin from Texas and I needed to not have any fees on my account!
DM: Who is they?
MF: You!
DM: I have not spoken to you before, sir.
MF: No, not you! You!
DM: Are you saying that you called the phone bank?
MF: Yes!
DM: And you told someone that you were moving and you did not want any fees?
MF: Yes!
DM: What did that person say?
MF: They told me no. They said if I used my account and there weren't funds, I would be subject to fees. But I needed to use the money so I did. But I told you no fees!
DM: I apologize, sir. I am unable to reverse these fees. There is not an error.
MF: Yes, there is! I said no to fees!

The call went on for awhile after that. He continued to scream at me, I continued to tell him that there was not an error and the only way to prevent fees on your account was to not use it when there wasn't any money. Unfortunately, this never sank in and he hung up. His account is still overdrawn. Eventually we will close it and he will be sent to collections. All because he decided that the bank should just give him free money. I wonder if he will ever realize that banks are not charities. We don't give out free money.

The second customer was very upset. He had a joint account with his wife and there was a withdrawal made from his account that he did not recognize. The banker had informed him that this withdrawal was made to credit another account because it was delinquent. The customer was furious and demanded to talk to a supervisor.

DM: Thank you for calling, etc. I understand you are calling because of the withdrawal on your account?
BH (Bull-Headed): Yes, Dana. I'm going to give you one chance to give me the right answer. This account (he rattles off the number) is my joint account with my wife. I have been informed that there was a withdrawal from the account and that it credited an account my wife has with her son, my step-son. I am not a signer on that account and I am certainly not paying for his mistakes. He is a waste of time and space and I want nothing to do with him or his accounts. Your choice is to either reverse that withdrawal and put the money back into my account or I will go to the branch and close all of my accounts now. Is that understood?
DM: I am sorry, sir, I am unable to...
BH: I'm going to the branch.

The phone is slammed down in my ear.

Now, here's the thing, people. If you open an account at a bank, they provide you with disclosures. We are required to do this. This lists all the information about your account and everything you need to know about how to manage it. And, unfortunately, one of the things it talks about is delinquent accounts. If A has an account with B and B also has an account with C, if B & C's account becomes delinquent or overdrawn, it is possible for the bank to remove money from A & B's account. The common denominator is B. So please, if you don't trust the person you're going to open an account with or, for that matter, their kids, please, please reconsider opening the joint account. It's for your own good.

And the third customer was very annoyed with NABABNA. It appears that she wanted to withdraw some money from the ATM but, unfortunately, she had already made her withdrawl limit for the day. She wanted to increase her limit so she could withdraw some more money. The banker explained that he was unable to complete this request. So I got her. Lucky me.

DM: Thank you for holding, etc. I understand you would like to withdraw money from an ATM but are unable to do so since you have reached your limit and we cannot increase this limit for you. Is that correct?
GG (Give! Give!): Yes! This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard! It's my money. I want my money! Give it to me.
DM: That is correct. This is your money in your account. However, the card is NABABNA's property. We are unable to increase the limit on the card.
GG: Why not? That's so stupid! It's my money!
DM: Again, as I've explained, the money is yours but the card does belong to NABABNA.
GG: Why won't you do this? I want to know why you won't do this! My friend was able to call and you did it for him!
DM: That might be, however, I am unable to do this for you.
GG: What does that mean? I don't understand what you are saying!
DM: I'm saying that I cannot increase your limit.
GG: But I'm at the casino! I want to go play some more blackjack!

She hangs up. Okay. That's incentive. You've already made withdrawls up to your limit on your ATM card. At the casino. The reason I am refusing to increase your limit is because you have had a total of 21 overdraft fees and 15 Insufficient Funds. You have paid well over a thousand dollars in fees. And I should increase your limit. Perhaps you should have planned a little bit better. Or stop going to the casino. Because you're obviously not winning.

I hope you enjoyed my drawer full of stories. It is now empty. But just wait, I'll be back on the phones next week. I'm sure I'll run into my quota of morons.

Sometimes you wonder about why people stay married

You may remember the post I did on joint accounts and why they can be a problem. Here is a call that is the exact opposite.

The banker informs me that a customer is demanding to speak to a supervisor. The customer is furious because the banker will not release information on an overdraft protection account. She is insistent that she is a signer on this account. I take the call from the banker and introduce myself. The customer, Ms. Swears With Wolves (SWW), immediately begins to start screaming at me.

SWW: You're stupid! Stupid ass! B*tch! Sl*t! Why can't you just give me this information? Why? I hate your f*cking bank! Hate it!
DM: I'd like to be able to assist you. My understanding is that you're looking for information on an overdraft protection account. Is that correct?
SWW: Yes! You f*cking b*tch! Give me the information!
DM: Unfortunately, I am not showing that you are a signer on this account.
SWW: I am! You're lying, you b*tch!
DM: No, Ms. Wolves, what I'm showing is that you are a signer on the checking account. However, the account listed as overdraft protection is not in your name. Therefore, while I can certainly speak to you about the transactions in the checking account, I cannot discuss the overdraft protection account with you.
SWW: F*ck you!
DM: Ms. Wolves, if you would like me to assist you, I would appreciate it if you please stop using profanity.
SWW: Fine.
DM: Now, as I was saying, you are not appearing as a signer on the overdraft protection account. However, I am showing that there is a joint signer on the checking account with you. I would suggest that you ask the joint signer to call and we would be happy to discuss the op account with them.

This sets her off on how she is his wife and how dare I tell her she's not a signer on the op account, she knows perfectly well that she is a signer and I'm just a f*cking c*nt faced b*tch.

DM: Ms. Wolves, I have already warned you about the profanity. If the other account holder is present, I would be happy to talk to him. If he is not, I suggest you have him call back and ask his questions then.
SWW: He's here now.

The phone is handed off. I need to identify the joint signer so I ask him his name (Lives in Hell (LH)) and for some other pieces of identification. SWW is in the background, screaming at the top of her lungs about what a b*tch I am.

DM: Thank you for this information. As I was explaining to your wife, I show that, while you are both on the checking account, only your name is listed on the op account. I would be happy to discuss the information with you.
LH: Okay. What was my last payment?
DM: $25.00.
LH: Okay. Thank you.
DM: If you are interested in having your wife as a signer on the op account, you may want to look into reapplying for the account, since this is a credit account. Unfortunately, since she is not a signer, we can not release information to her.
LH: Okay.
DM: Was there anything else I could assist you with?
SWW (in the background): Give me that phone! Give it to me! I want to talk to that b*tch!
LH: No.
DM: Thank you for calling, I'm glad I was able to help you tonight.
LH: Yeah. Thanks. Shut up, you stupid b*tch! They can't talk to you about it!

I'm assuming the last comments were addressed to SWW since the call disconnected.

I'm now obviously psychic. Maybe I should start at 1-900 number...

Tonight I spoke to a person who amazed me that they made it as far in life as they did. This man does not bank with NABABNA, however chose to use one of our ATMs. The card did not come out of the machine (yes, unfortunately this happens) and we couldn't give it back to him. Why you ask? Hmmm, let's see. How do we (you know, customer service representatives) know if the card hasn't been reported lost or stolen, if the account it draws funds on is still active, or if the card itself isn't damaged and physically unable to become unstuck from the machine? We are not holding the card, we have no access to accounts housed by other banks, and of course, people love to scream at us for this.

Here is the call:

B (that's me!): Thank you for holding sir, my name is Beth. I understand you wanted to speak to a supervisor regarding the fact your card is in our ATM?

TUS (technically un-savvy): That's right. I want my card. It's in this machine!

B: I understand. The banker you just spoke to did report the problem to our support area and they are sending someone out to check the machine, however they will not be able to give the card back to you for security reasons.

TUS: But what if someone gets my card?

B: I do suggest you contact your bank and have them close the card and see if they can issue a new card.

TUS: I can't leave here. How can I call my bank?

This is where I pause.

B: Sir, you seem to have access to a phone. I suggest using it to call YOUR bank. It's not like you and I are communicating telepathically here.

TUS: But I don't know their number.

B: You don't know your bank's phone number.

TUS: No, they're closed.

B: And that prevents you from knowing their phone number? I can understand that they are closed, not all banks have extended hours. Typically a bank that closes earlier will hire a company to do card closings for them after hours. You could try calling your bank to see what their message states about this.

TUS: But the number is on my card! How do I get the number?

B: Where do you bank?

TUS: First Bank of Small Town, Nowhere.

B: Since you know the name, you could try using a phone book or calling Directory Assistance.

TUS: Don't you have their number?

B: Well, I don't work for Directory Assistance. I work for NABABNA. Unfortunately, I don't have the number for First Bank of Small Town, Nowhere.


B: Thanks for calling.

Do we really have to walk people through this much of their lives? I plead with the general public. If you're upset, STOP, THINK, REASON, if you need help, ask calmly. You'll get much farther in life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Today Keem and I received some interesting news. We are both moving to another part of NABABNA, Stock Services (not it's real name but hey, if I can't be tricky on my own blog, when can I be tricky?). This is very exciting for us because we will be working much closer to home. Unfortunately, it means that we will be leaving the phone bank.

On the other hand, our new posistions are within a call center so there is the possibility of crazy customers. And as proof, I have some stories from Katie, a friend of ours who once worked in the phone bank and is now in Stock Services.

Katie: Yeah, so I just I just talked to a broker who was reading me our physical address here and she was reading along you know saying "South Saint Paul, and is it Minneapolis or is it Minnesota? And it is MN, right? I always get that mixed up." Then I just talked to a guy who asked me if paying insurance premiums is the same as stock. So I explain the difference and he says "Like a credit card? What is the difference between credit cards and stock?" I just can't believe that people are this stupid. I just can't believe it.

So, you know what? I'm thinking I'll still have customer service stories for you. Wish us luck!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

"Finders Keepers" does not work in banking. Sorry.

Hi. Dana Jones (not my real last name but we're pretending this is a commercial so bear with me (actually, I think Jones works better with my name than my real last name. I wonder if Davy is single and would like to marry me (I think I have over-parenthesized so we're going to try this again.)))

Hi. Dana Jones here from NABABNA. If you have been reading our public service announcements (carefully disguised as accounts of stupid customers), you will remember such classic tales such as why having a joint account can be messy, how using your bank as a porn line can be risky and my personal favorite, why insurance fraud is bad. Today, however, we will be discussing something that, if you do this, may result in loss of property. And, on a lighter note, is extremely amusing to everyone else involved in it. Do you know why? That's right. If you do this, you are a moron.

Take the following example. The major players are Mr. Nixon (not his real name, only for the "I am not a crook" reference) and Marvin (the 2nd supervisor that handled this escalated call).

Our story so far. Bettina, a phone banker, receives a phone call from a very angry Mr. Nixon. He is upset because there is a very large hold on his account. Bettina does some research and realizes that Mr. Nixon received a payroll deposit into his account for $10,000. However, this payroll deposit is not in Mr. Nixon's name, it is in Mr. Random Person's name. Plus, the company making the deposit is not a company that Mr. Nixon works for nor has he ever received a payroll deposit before. And, to make this even more exciting, Mr. Nixon took this money and spent it.

Yes. $10,000 was deposited into his account in error and he spent the money (I'm not sure what he bought but I hope he enjoyed it). Bettina tried to explain to Mr. Nixon that this money was not his and he should not have spent it. Mr. Nixon does not agree with her and demands to speak to a supervisor. He is then transferred to Charmaine, a phone banker who is being trained on how to take escalated calls. During the call, as Charmaine is explaining to Mr. Nixon why he should not have spent that money, she overhears a conversation between Mr. Nixon and his wife. This conversation is not in English, however, Charmaine does speak the same language and realizes what is being said. Mrs. Nixon asks her husband if this isn't the money that they transferred to their savings account and why hadn't he told her where it came from. Mr. Nixon tells her to shut up and continues to yell at Charmaine.

By this time, Beth, Bettina and Charmaine's supervisor, is looking into this account to find out what is going on. Also, Marvin, another supervisor, tells Charmaine to transfer the call to him since she has been speaking to Mr. Nixon for a half hour and he is not listening to anything she says. Marvin is 6'4" and weighs about 250. Somehow, you can hear this in his voice and most of his escalated calls run very smoothly. Marvin thinks that he will be able to control the call and convince Mr. Nixon that he is wrong.

At this time, Beth starts asking Bettina and Charmaine questions about the call because she is going to file a report on it. I start to listen to Marvin's conversation with Mr. Nixon, using a monitoring system. I was able to write some of this down at the time.

Mr. Nixon: I am very upset. NABABNA is not helping me as a customer.
Marvin: There’s a difference between helping you as a customer and giving you $10,000.
Mr. Nixon: I don’t trust NABABNA with my money.
Marvin: What money? It wasn’t your money.

This goes on for a little bit. Marvin discovers the real reason Mr. Nixon is upset. It appears that his car payment is due and he's worried about making it. Yes. That's right. He spent $10,000 of someone else's money and he's worried about making his car payment. Before the hold had been placed on his account, he had $1,800. Now his account was, due to the hold, negative $8,200. His car payment was for $500. Marvin and Mr. Nixon go back and forth about how Mr. Nixon can't make his car payment now. Marvin explains again why the hold was placed.

Mr. Nixon: You put the money in my account. It is not my fault that it was the wrong account. It is now my money. You cannot take it back.
Marvin: I'm sorry, sir, that is not correct. This money was not yours.

Beth and I start flipping through our disclosures. All banks have these. It is a pamphlet listing all the things you can and cannot do with your account. We know that there is a passage in there that deals with this particular situation. When we find it, I run it up to Marvin.

Marvin: Mr. Nixon, I would like to read you something from the bank's disclosures. This is very important. I want you to listen to this. Are you listening?

He reads the information that states that if, for any reason, money is placed into your account in error, NABABNA does reserve the right to withdraw that money and it is not yours. In other words, no, you don't get to keep it and chanting "Losers Weepers" doesn't get you anywhere (It's the same thing that happens if your payroll department gives you too much money. Once they realize their error, they'll correct it and take the money out of your next paycheck. I've known people that thought it was okay to spend the money and then their next paycheck was for five dollars).

Mr. Nixon: What does that mean?
Marvin: This means if there is $10,000 placed into the account, it would be a good idea to check with the bank before spending the money.
Mr. Nixon: Why would I do that? You made a mistake. I did not. The money is mine. What if it happened to you? You would spend money, right?
Marvin: No, sir, the money is not yours. If this would happen to me, I know to check this with the bank because I don’t want to be bitten somewhere I don’t want to be bitten.
Mr. Nixon: I am very upset. I should have $1,800. I don't have $1,800 in my account anymore. That is my money. You can not take it.
Marvin: You’re right. You don’t have $1,800 in your account. You have negative $8,200 in your account.
Mr. Nixon: It’s not right for the bank to take my money.
M1: It’s not your money.

I'd like to say that Mr. Nixon finally realized the error of his ways and returned the money to NABABNA and all was well. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Marvin and Mr. Nixon argued back and forth about this for approximately 45 minutes. Mr. Nixon never once said "Hey, Marvin, you're right. I never should have taken this money." Instead, he hung up after threatening to sue NABABNA.

So, moral of the story is that we're not in kindergarten. You're not talking about a penny you found on the street. If there is money placed into your account and you don't know where it came from, don't think "Oh, hey, they made a mistake. They'll never figure it out." For the record, this wasn't our mistake, it was the payroll department's and they figured it out when their employee called them and said "Hey, I never got my paycheck. What's going on?"

Anyway, this is Dana Jones signing off and saying "Thanks for listening. We'll return next week with another tale of horrid account managing."