“I feel like I’m gonna to have to go full Karen here“

I’m a “live chat” messaging agent that has been stationed in a temporary call centre since we lost majority of the off shore folk. I’m from sales in a retail store for a major telecommunications company in Australia. (But my background is call centres before this anyway) I digress. A bunch of us from the stores in the region were sent to this “call” centre doing live chat. Today I had the best chat I’ve ever seen.

Someone came through contesting their bill saying that it was too much, yada yada. Most times when people contest their bill it is always legitimate charges.

This person’s bill was 100% due to pro rata. This person says that they did their contract in store for a phone, but they signed and agreed to other services.

They tell me “I feel like I’m gonna to have to go full Karen here”

Then I had to do what no sales person in a retail store (where I came from) ever does and explain the concept of a billing cycle and how pro rata is calculated. (personally always do so it was never a problem for customers I served in store)

They still didn’t accept this. My skill for live chat is basic billing, where I explain bills, update minor account details, and credit clear cut wrong charges. This person’s bill, although high and inconvenient, being due to pro rata is a legitimate charge and their ignorance to it isn’t a reason to credit. My credit limit is $50 anyway so I wouldn’t have been able to fix anything if their bill was actually wrong. So all I can do is answer their questions about what’s on their account and what the bill is.

The conversation, although unpleasant, was pretty lowkey and nothing too remarkable, aside from their Karen comment. These enquiries are my bread and butter.

They kept saying that “I went into the store to save money but how am I paying more?” and “this is more than what the guy at the shop said it was going to be”

First things first, P R O R A T A. Secondly, they took up other brand new billed services at the same time, so yeah, the bill is going to be high if you do that.

The company has a hardline policy of not taking abuse or intimidation from customers and are actively encouraged to call customers out if they need to be.

This is where the conversation gets spicy.

They say “well I’m going to refuse to pay it.” I said, “you can do what you wish with the services however non payment will leave a mark on your credit file and a suspension and later, a cancellation will occur, and the debt will be forwarded to debt collectors.”

They didn’t like that, but that’s what outright refusal to pay will result in.

Remember when I said I was in Australia? They say to me “well I’m going to go to the Better Business Bureau then, because you people scammed me”. That doesn’t exist here but I got the sentiment that they were going to go to the ombudsman.

Threats of the ombudsman do nothing and do not scare anyone. The Ombudsman gets flooded with too many cases where the customer is dead wrong so they don’t respond or take the case for many.

I said to them, “you are free to do as you as you wish seeking other avenues as a consumer under Australian law” because it’s true, they are free to do that and no one is allowed or in a position to stop them. They then swore at me on the chat, and that gets an instant indecent language warning. I send the language warning.

They kept telling me that what I see on the account isn’t correct and isn’t there (who works for the company and who doesn’t?!). I kept reiterating that this is what was signed up for with your signature on this date, this is what your expected monthly bill is and this is why the first bill after making these changes is like this.

They then say that they will now cancel all their services with the company because I scammed them. At the same time, I have the remote team leader on standby with the situation. Although we don’t tolerate entitled behaviour, the company still has to have someone step in when that happens.

I also reiterated that getting upset with me personally when I didn’t do this to you personally isn’t going to help your case at all. I didn’t sell these products or make these changes for you, I am stating what’s on there and why that is and just because you’re upset with the amount the pro rata came to because you made changes four days into your billing cycle doesn’t make the charges wrong.

The TL stepped into the chat at this chat. I introduce the TL to the customer and then I got removed from the chat. I messaged the TL, because he was remote in another state. I asked if I did anything wrong. He says “no, you did and said everything right. You didn’t miss anything you were supposed to.” I sent him a screenshot of the comment made early in the chat stating that they felt they were going to have to go “full Karen”. He laughed and said that he was just rude and entitled.

I have another chat drop in and I help that customer and don’t think about this other person the TL is dealing with.

This TL has a reputation for being a pushover so naturally I was a bit concerned. Every interaction he gets results in a crazy amount of credits applied.

The TL messages me later saying that he was “finally done” with the person. I still had their account open in another window and knowing what I know about how the TL usually responds to stuff like this, I checked to see if he had applied any credits. He did.

I message the TL back and say “nice credits you applied there” l. He said, “yeah I think they were conned in store, but you said everything right though”

Having come from a retail store and how the process works in how the system generates contracts, there’s no way he could have let a month pass without realising they had signed up for stuff they weren’t aware of. Everything you are about to sign up for is big on the computer monitor, and it’s actually hard to miss. If you did happen to miss it though, you get emailed a raw pdf copy of the contract within four hours and a copy of that sits in the system forever.

The customer had email notifications turned on and had a verified account so they had proper access to the company app, so even if you didn’t catch in store or in your emails, everything you have also shows up in the listed services in the app. With all of this from my retail store background, I don’t buy it that they weren’t aware of the extra stuff they signed up for. The company, to avoid this happening to customers, has made it deliberately difficult to hide what you have with them, and so they should because it’s straight up fraudulent otherwise.

But I don’t push this “I think he was conned” narrative. I then asked for the conversation ID so I could read over how it ended. I read it and I was actually gutted.

The customer kept saying how wrong I was and how I was rude in pointing out how the billing, though shockingly high, was correct, per the terms of the contract you signed that these changes happened and subsequent pro rata as a result. The TL just laughed and agreed with them.

The TL made a joke saying that the customer went full Karen and the customer agreed and said they had a “panic attack over it”. The TL waived a good chunk of it. The chat ended and the NPS survey said [my name] 0, [TL name] 10, so median 5. The other comments went on about how horrible I was and how great the TL was.

So basically, just another day in the gallows but the only benefit was that I didn’t have the NPS actually go against me because I wasn’t the one who closed the chat.

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Last call of my last day; of course.

" Sure I’ll answer your question but let me provide the most unnecessary explanations to everything…."