Saturday, November 27, 2004

Don't Hate Me for Hating You

Good Lord. I have just returned home from a night of work that went fine until the last 25 minutes. Then I talked to a woman who may or may not have been the village idiot in her hometown. Oooh, I'm going to call her Vi.

Here's the deal, Vi is the victim of either fraud or horrible bookkeeping/memory loss. We're not sure which. She had an item returned against her account. It was an item someone else wrote, it's not drawn on her account. That's about all the pretense needed here.

Vi is transferred to me and the call begins:

B: Thanks for holding Vi, my name is Beth a-
Vi: What is this item? Where's my money?
B: I'd be happy to help you. The item on your account appears to be a check either cashed or deposited against your account that was denied payment by the issuing bank.
Vi: But I didn't write any checks.
B: I understand that. This item is not a check you wrote.
Vi: What is it then?
B: It's a check someone else wrote and it was returned because the other bank said they wouldn't honor it.
Vi: Why not?
B: Whoever wrote it placed a stop payment on it.
Vi: Who wrote it?
B: Unfortunately, I don't know. I can tell you which bank it's drawn on, the dollar amount, and the serial number of the item, but I don't have the maker name. The check is being mailed to you.
Vi: But who wrote it?
B: I don't know.
Vi: I didn't write a check for that amount.
B: I know that.
Vi: But I didn't write it. Who did?
B: Well, if you didn't write it, I know I didn't write it, I guess that just leaves about 6 billion others to check with. Or wait 3 days until the mailman delivers it to you.
Vi: I don't get it. I didn't write any checks.
B: Did anyone you know give you a check for this amount?
Vi: No.
B: Then it may be fraud.
Vi: But I didn't write any checks.
B: This is the point where I started banging my head against my desk. I KNOW that. You've told me that. I've told you that I know that. So we're clear on the fact you didn't write the check. Someone else did.
Vi: But who?
B: Again, I don't have their name at 11 PM on a Saturday evening.
Vi: I just don't get it. I didn't write a check.

The call continues like this for 25 minutes. Can I just say, "AAAAAHHHHH"?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Just a snippet of what I go through daily

Okay. This is an actual call I took yesterday. Word for word. Some of this stuff, I don't have to embellish.

One of the joys of my job is that I get to help people access our website (for the example, it will be This is not a real link, I have made it up. But everything else? Yeah, it's real). I was helping a customer, let's call her Ms. Website Wonder (WW for short).

WW: I tried calling your website and it didn't work.
DM (me. In case you forgot): Huh. Which number did you call?
DM: That's a website. What number did you call?
WW: It's not working.
DM: Ma'am, that is a website address. You cannot call it. You can, however, call a number listed on a website.
WW: Oh. I'm sorry. I meant I went to your website and it didn't work. I didn't actually call it.
DM: Okay. Yeah, because it's a website!

Now, we've been having problems with people trying to register for the website and putting in all sorts of strange things in so I immediately start walking her through the steps to sign up for access to her account information.

DM: When it asked for your Tax ID #, what did you put in?
WW: My tax id number (She reads it to me).
DM: When it asked you for your account number, what did you type in?
WW: My account number (She reads it to me).
DM: Okay. There's a drop down menu. What did you put for company name?

This is important. We are a transfer agent for 400 to 500 companies. Not all of them participate in our online service but there's a few of them. It's important that the stock holder select which company they have stock in. It sounds so easy. There's a little blurb of exactly what you should do. But do they get it? No.

WW: I'm not a company.
DM: I understand that. What company did you select from the drop down menu?
WW: I'm not a company.
DM: Yes, Ms. WW, I understand that you are not actually a company. But there is a drop down menu. If you do not select the name of the company you have stock in, it will not allow you to access your account.

We recently took over as transfer agent for a company and when they go to enter in their information they will choose NABABNA instead of their actual company of stock. Do you know what they say to me? They say "Well, the letter's from NABABNA." Yes. Does the letter say all of your stock is now with NABABNA? No, it does not. It says we are now the transfer agent for your company. Idiots.

WW: I didn't enter in a company.
DM: Okay. That may be our problem. When you try to access the site again, change the company name from Manufacturing Company to Insurance Company. That's the name of your company of stock and it is required to access your account information.
WW: I didn't get that far.
DM: You didn't? Why is that?
WW: Because when I called your website, it wouldn't let me on it. It told me it wasn't working.
DM: Did you receive a message that said the site wasn't available?
WW: Yes.
DM: Why the hell didn't you say that in the first place? Okay. When was that?
WW: Last week.
DM: Have you tried registering since then?
WW: No.
DM: Okay. You might want to try that again. If it doesn't work, call us again.
WW: Okay.

I hang up the phone and bang my head, repeatedly, on my desk. This happens daily.

And yet, I love my job.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Look, we provide financial services, not common sense, okay?

Last night, I got to talk to Moron Mother. She called about a hold on funds on a deposit with us, NABABNA. Here's the call:

B: Thank you for holding MM. My name is Beth and I'm a supervisor here at NABABNA. I understand you wanted to talk about a hold on a deposit?

MM: Yes. I want the hold off of those funds.

B: I'd be happy to see if we can release that hold. (Technical stuff here, I call the other bank and see if the check got paid. If it was, I make the funds available. If it hasn't, the customer still can't use the funds.)

MM: I want you to reverse those fees too.

B: I can go through the fees with you. It looks like this deposit was made in person. Do you have your receipt?

MM: I do and the teller told me those funds were on hold until the 24th (at the time of the call, it was still the 20th). Why did I get fees?

B: Excuse me? You knew the funds were unavailable and still used them?

MM: But the check cleared.

B: We don't know that yet. I can call to see or we can wait for notification from the Federal Reserve.

MM: I want you to reverse those fees.

B: I want to make sure I have this straight. You knew not to spend the money and still did?

MM: Yes.

B: That's not a bank error. We told you to not use the funds and you chose to do so.

MM: But my son wrote those checks weeks ago.

B: So he spent money before he ever considered making a deposit?

MM: Yes.

B: That's still not a bank error.

MM: But he only writes his rent check.

B: MM, there are twenty checks clearing here. They're mostly for 5 to 15 dollars. Does he pay rent in increments?

MM: Um, no.

B: That's still not a bank error.

MM: Oh, okay.

I did call and got the funds released. Here's the thing, if you KNOW not to spend the funds, WHY do you do it??? Come on people, it's not that hard!