The only call I ever terminated

This is my first time posting here or even making a topic on Reddit, apologies for any rookie mistakes.

To give you a bit of backstory I used to work in a call centre that dealt with employment benefits. In the UK if you get a company car or medical insurance or whatever gift from your employer then you were still responsible for paying the tax on the gift. This was deducted from your salary directly and sometimes mistakes were made. I had been working there for about two months when this call happened so I still wasnt great at controlling a conversation. To be honest I got a lot less patient with people after this call!

The call started off routinely, I took the lady through security and asked her what she was calling for. Turns out she wasnt happy with the amount she was paying in tax on her company car. I put her on hold and went through the calculation myself to see if it was correct. It was all correct so I went back to her and started to explain. I got 3 words into my explanation when she screamed at the top of her voice


This shocked me into silence for a couple of reasons. Firstly she had been perfectly pleasant up until this point, secondly she hadnt actually been saying anything before she screamed that at me. Not really knowing what to say I made my first mistake. I replied with

“What did you want to say?”

She was off to the races at that point, a free-form rant that took in the interest she was expected to pay on her student loans, her tax money funding the war in Iraq, the fact her friends company car was nicer than hers and the size of the potholes on the road outside her house (amongst many many other subjects) . Every time I tried to say anything she screamed at the top of her voice


After about 10 minutes of this I was was really unsure what to do next. Our calls were timed and I was well over our target so I was gonna get questioned about that anyway. Most people would have terminated the call long before (and I was reprimanded after the fact and told I should have done that). I felt like I had come this far though so I should try and finish the call, if only so that no one else had to go through the same experience. I took advantage of a pause for breath and dove in, attempting to be as empathetic as possible

“Ms _____ it sounds like you are dealing with a lot. Let me explain your tax code to you and then you won’t need to concern yourself with it anymore”

Surprisingly she didn’t scream at me so I carried on. Tax codes are complicated so I took her through the calculation and showed her why it was correct. I was expecting that to be it for the call, but when I asked her if she understood she paused for a second and then said

“you know, you have all the signs of an abusive personality”

That was enough for me. The lady had screamed at me for 10 minutes straight and I had still tried to help her, only to get accused of being an abuser. I found my bottle here, told her that her behaviour on the call today was rude and unnacceptable and that I would be reporting the call to my management team, then hung up. I sat in wrap for a couple of minutes genuinely fuming about it then went to report the call.

To the best of my knowledge she was ultimately barred from phoning our helpline due to a couple of incidents like this. My manager listened to the call and made me go to assertiveness training though so I wouldnt call it a win.

I worked on the phones for nearly a year, got a few more stories but that was by far the worst. This was the only call I terminated in all my time there.

TL:DR a lady screamed at me for 10 minutes straight, then told me I had an abusive personality when I tried to deal with her actual query.

submitted by /u/PhimaMorsou
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