I was really amazed at the positive response to my last post so I’ll share a tale…
I work for an energy company, so we supply customers with gas and electricity on credit and they pay for it every month or every quarter. A minority of people will feign surprise when we ask for payment, and claim that they shouldn’t have to pay, for a variety of reasons.
Everyone uses fuel, so we get calls from every type of person. One that I find particularly exasperating is the person who lists a whole load of medical diagnoses in the first sentence before you even know who they are, always followed up by an expectation that I can reduce or waive their bill.
This particular man I spoke to last week was an excellent example of this. He rattled off a load of mental health conditions, and said that he shouldn’t be expected to pay his bill. When I looked at his account I saw that he had been in collections for years, he’d been given more chances to pay than anyone I’d seen, so I was politely insistent that he needed to at least make a small payment.
I will add at this point that I have worked for the NHS and the emergency services so I’m familiar with the kind of person who thinks that their medical condition absolves them from any personal responsibility. I may sound harsh but there are patients like this who will demand an ambulance every day of the week- over £2k to the taxpayer- they know they don’t need them but they don’t care.
Anyway, eventually this exchange occurred-
Man- ‘Well… there’s only one way now…’.
Me- (with a sinking feeling I know exactly what he means but I need to clarify) ‘What do you mean by that Mr. xxx?’
Man- ‘Well, I’ll top myself. It’ll be your fault. I’m not going to pay my bill, you can have me on your conscience’ (This all said in the sort of disinterested tone that tells me he’s done this many times)
Then he hangs up. I asked a TM what to do, and she advised that I should report it. So I call 999 and explain. I reported the conversation as it happened, but I told the police operator that ‘he may be known to you’- which is EA code for ‘this guy’s a nutter, I’d be amazed if he doesn’t pester you on the regular.’.
I was told they’d do a welfare check, and I have to say that the idea of the police turning up on his doorstep and tearing him off a strip does make me happy.