I need my money first!

So I work in a third party call center, on a banking project of sorts. Simply put, we manage people’s cards they get for whatever reasons. (Basically credit cards, but with different regulations than normal cards). One of the things we assist with is disputing fraudulent use and assisting the cardholder (CH) in re-securing their account and getting their funds back as quickly as possible. Typically, these calls will start because a CH checked their balance or recent transactions, and sees something they didn’t expect (either less money, or unauthorized transactions, respectively). We will check their transactions, and give them information on where the transaction was attempted (we don’t usually get a physical address, but we can see the name/partial name of the merchant, and the city they’re in) and then ask, verbatim: “Did you authorize those transactions?”

So I was on one of these calls last week, and the charges she was calling about happened several times over the past week or so. They were charged to a certain online music service owned by a fruit based company. I tell her “where” and when the purchases were made and she says, “I don’t even have a insert name of popular model of phone made by same fruit based company!” So I say my line, “So Ma’am did you authorize those transactions?” and she replies with, “What do you think? I just told you I don’t own one of them!”

Now, in our center, they put a heavy emphasis on certain situations in which we must get a definitive “yes” or “no”. This is one of those situations.

“So ma’am, just to be clear: you did not authorize those transactions?”

“What did I just say? NO!”

“OK ma’am, then at this point, for the security of your funds, I will have to inactivate your account, and then I’ll transfer you to our Research Department (see: Tier 2) who will assist you with the next steps to re-secure your account and help get you a new card sent out.”

“Waitwaitwaitwait! Can I get the rest of my money out first?”

“Yes ma’am, but before you do anything, there is a method we use to immediately secure your funds before that. Our Research Department handles that procedure, so if you’d like to do that, I will leave your card active for now, and transfer you to another agent in that department, and they’ll help you with how to do that, is that alright?”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

So, it’s worth noting, the whole process for her situation would’ve been:

  • Talk to Tier 2

  • Tier 2 places a temporary block on the account

  • CH goes to an ATM, then calls back to Tier 2 from the location of the ATM

  • Tier 2 removes block, CH withdraws funds from ATM, Tier 2 inactivates the card

From there, the process Tier 2 follows is basically the same as if the CH didn’t want to get their funds out first.

So I place the CH on hold while I transfer myself to Tier 2. Tier 2 was a little busy, so it took maybe 3-4 minutes for an agent to get to me. I give them the account info so they can bring it up in their systems, brief them on the situation, and as soon as I tell them the CH wants to remove the funds before the card is inactivated, the Tier 2 agent says, “What funds? There’s $0.xx on this card?” I explain to the agent that I show $xxx.xx funds on my screen, and ask if she is on the correct account? We confirm the CH’s name and last four of card in question, and the Tier 2 agent asks me to refresh the page. As soon as it loads up, I see the new balance. The Tier 2 agent laughs as she realizes what must’ve happened. She checks the CH’s recent transactions, and while the CH was on hold, they went to an ATM and got their money out, except for the few cents that was left. I laugh, and look at my screen for my call statuses, and I see that the CH is still waiting patiently on hold. I inform the Tier 2 agent of this, and ask how to proceed. I was advised to inactivate the card and complete the transfer. So that’s exactly what I did! Really wish I could’ve stuck around and heard how that played out.

Anyways, hope y’all enjoyed this tale, I’m sure it’s pretty mild compared to those told by some call center veterans, but hey, I’ve only been on the phones a week! I’ve got more stories to share here eventually, but I have to be off to bed now. (Yay, crack of dawn shifts! /s)

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