It’s been a long time since I did call centre work for SlyUK, but reading this subreddit reminds me of a classic call I once took.
I took a lot of billing calls so was used to irate customers calling about unexpected charges and/or higher than normal bills.
For customers with us for their home phone service, we would automatically apply a block on outgoing calls if they exceeded a certain amount within a billing cycle. When customers came through to us, we had to advise the amount would need to be paid in full before we could action an unblock. Although it turned out that there was a loophole that let you unblock with a part payment, we had to advise that it might reblock at any time. For example, if you paid your bill on the 24th of the month, but made £100 of phone calls between the 1st-6th, your phone service would be blocked even though your bill wasn’t due. Ostensibly this was to protect customers from unexpectedly high phone bills, but usually caused more hassle to us billing agents than anything else.
A lot of the time customers weren’t even aware of the block until they found themselves talking to us. The only upside was that we didn’t have to upsell on this call type.
Most times we could see the type of call flash up on our screen before the customer’s details which sort-of prepared us. Sure enough, this call had dropped through to me for a phone balance block.
Me – Me
C – Customer
H – Customer’s husband
Me: SlyUK CS, how can I help?
C: I don’t appear to be able to make any outgoing calls on my telephone
Me: OK let me look into that for you
(Due to the call type, I already had her account details up and just needed to confirm the password with her. After she confirms the password, I check her account status and sure enough, her phone line shows outgoing barred for billing)
Me: We’ve restricted your phone line from making outgoing calls due to a high volume of call charges.
C: A high phone bill? Can you tell me why?
(I pull up her upcoming itemised phone bill. There’s a huge list under the premium rate calls heading)
Me: According to your current telephone bill, there’s been a lot of premium rate calls made.
C: Premium rate calls? We don’t make premium rate calls.
Me: Is your computer connected to your phone line? (They didn’t take our DSL Internet service)
C: No we have broadband. Which numbers were called?
Me: (Reads out the list of numbers). It’s about £150 worth of calls in total
C: I’m sorry but I don’t recognise any of those numbers. Can you tell me what they are?
(I do a search online. All the numbers come back as sex chat lines)
Me: They are all sex chat numbers.
C: Sex chat numbers? I haven’t made these calls and I need to ring my sister! Can you please unblock my account?
Me: I’ll need this phone bill paying in full before I can reinstate your phone service.
C: WHAT?! That’s ludicrous, our bill isn’t due until next week! Can’t you just flick the switch or whatever?
Me: I’m sorry, I need a payment today for the full bill before I am able to unblock your phone line.
C: Can’t you make an exception considering this is the first time it’s happened?
Me: I’m afraid not.
C: I’m telling you, we haven’t made these calls!
(I pull up the previous month’s phone bill. There’s a shorter but still significant list under premium rate calls)
Me: There were a number of the same calls made last month as well.
C: What?! The same numbers?
Me: Yes most are the same.
C: I want to see. Can you email these bills to me now?
Me: Yes I can do.
C: I’m just getting on the computer
(My AHT for this call is wrecked by this point so I see no reason to drop the call or attempt to wrap it up. As I’m waiting for her, I flip back another month on the bill screen. Sure enough, more premium calls to the same numbers.
Me: There were calls made the month before as well.
C: What time were these calls made?
(I check the dates and times. There was a pattern which I guess corresponded to when the husband was home alone)
C: I see. Please can you send me the bills with these calls on?
(I confirm her email address and send her copies of the bills. The premium calls run to 3 previous bills.)
Me: Those bills should be coming through to you now
C: How come we’ve only been blocked now?
(I check the totals of the bills)
Me: It appears that you were below the threshold for these previous bills.
C: I see. I’ve got the bills in front of me now. You said these are sex lines?
C: I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t afford to pay this now
(I hear a door opening and a man’s voice in the background)
C: Sorry my husband has just got home. Can you hold the line please?
Me: No problem
(She puts the phone down and I guess she meant to hit mute but pressed something else as I get a tone in my ear but can still hear her end. I can’t make out the conversation, but it suddenly becomes very heated. After a few minutes, the phone is picked up)
H: Ah young man, thank you for being so patient. I, uh, understand there’s a bill which needs to be paid before you can reinstate the line?
Me: Yes sir that is correct.
H: Are you able to take a payment from my card?
Me: I can do. (I go to the card payment screen)
H: I’m afraid I can only pay half now.
Me: That is fine, however I can’t guarantee your service will be reinstated.
(I proceed to take the payment. The amount is enough to trigger the reactivation. I give the standard remark)
H: I’ll hand back to my wife
C: Is my phone service reinstated?
Me: Yes. However please be advised that as you have only made a partial payment, your service may become blocked again.
C: Is there a way you can stop these premium lines from being dialled from this line?
Me: Yes we can bar premium and international numbers from being dialled.
C: I’d like that please.
(I apply the bar and give the standard remark)
Me: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
C: No thank you.
TL;DR: Hubby’s sex line addiction is busted when he gets the phone blocked for running up the bill on his wife’s account.