The heartless side of call centres.
Context: I work at a call centre for canada’s student loan program.
Got a call from a student that is 7 months behind (at 9 months we just give up and give the loan back to the government). Shes got a interest charge of almost 600 bucks racked up over the 7 months. The student is living in the states, and by law (or some random regulation) we are not allowed to offer her RAP (which is basically the government paying a huge portion of your monthly amounts).
She called in regarding her account, and mind you she does not sound like those bitchy 20-year-olds that just don’t want to pay. She told me that she just simply cannot afford to pay. I offered her the most affordable plan for her aside from RAP, which was to pay all the interest she is owing and then pay 10 bucks for a month. At this point, she either pays this or her loan is headed straight to collections, which she fervently protested against. She repeated many times that she does not want her loan sent back to the government.
According to her (of course I have no way of verifying this), she is living off of $20 per week for her food. And of course, she has no way of coming back to Canada due to covid restrictions and whatnot. She says she can pay $20 at most, which is not even close to what she has to pay. She is already in tears, or holding back her tears.
She spoke to the supervisor who advised her of the same thing, and I could just hear her say “yeah but that is not helping” (not sarcastically and just really earnestly pleading at this point). The supervisor told her to see if she can ask her friends and families for help and by the end of their call, the student just sounded soooo sad and down.
I have been working in a call centre for a long time and with student loans, you really get emotionally insensitive after a while (when I started I was crying to each and every sob story coming my way). For this instance, I felt that she was really down and I could hear the despair in her voice.
But then again, there is a saying in Chinese, roughly translated: “whoever is pitiful is hateful” which means you dug your own hole, and that there is definitely a reason for why you are so pitiful. For this student, she could have called 7 mths earlier to make arrangements and she would have had a much better result…