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“I paid you all why are you all trying to gouge me for more money?”

I work at a call center for an electric company. The title is an excuse that I hear almost every day when customer call to complain about their bills. Sometimes it can be smoothly explained that by yes they may have made a payment recently either what they paid wasn’t enough to cover what was past due or the payment they made was 2 months ago and has since had two additional bills come owed since then.

These two calls are ones I had a while ago that goes over how some people can be clueless about things.

Other times it’s not so simple and people wish to complain until their faces are blue about how they were wronged. I had two calls on the same day that basically each went over both of these types of situations.

The first one was someone called in due to he was disconnected for having a balance
That was past due and he didn’t cover it all in time or call to set up arrangements. He called in and the call went something like this:

C: customer M: me.

C: I came home today and my power was shut off. Can you see why? I made a payment recently so that shouldn’t have happened.
M: Certainly I’d be glad to look into this for you.

[verification of account details occurs and I look into the situation]

M: ah yes so we did receive a payment a few days ago yes and I thank you, however this account was in fact disconnected due to that amount paid unfortunately did not cover all of what was needed to avoid disconnection. The account indicates that what we need to reconnect at this point is $xxx.
C: But I paid most of what was told on my disconnection notice and yet I wasn’t given a warning on my door. I only have $xx in my bank account.

M: The disconnection notice that was received is the warning. I do thank you for sending in what you did however If you’re not able to pay what’s due at this point I am glad to give a number for you to call to see if there’s any agencies that can make a pledge on your behalf.

C: can’t you make any arrangements on your end?

M: we can set up arrangements to avoid disconnection, yes but once it’s disconnected we have no options on our end to have it reconnected other than to have an agency ran by the state or government to help send a payment on your behalf.
C: but I thought that when I made that payment that an extension would go in to help give me more time.

M: Extensions are an option however they do not apply automatically to an account, did you call in to request one?

C: *getting more frustrated* I swear if I could switch power companies I would. You all are screwing people out of money.

He hangs up without taking down the number to call an agency, possibly just to call back and get someone else that will help him in a way he wanted to.

Another customer of ours called who still had power established but was just past due wanted to know why she was still past due.

C: yes, I just received a bill for this month and I want to know why it shows I’m still $xxx past due. I made a payment last month in March.

[verification of account]

M: I’d be glad to look into this for you. Yes we did receive a payment on March 2nd and that took care of what was due in February. However since then the bill for March came out as well as the bill for April. Since that payment on March 2nd we hadn’t received a payment since then to cover March’s bill.

C: yes but I paid in March.

M: oh have you made a 2nd payment in March?

C: yes.

M: I’d be glad to send in an investigation about it to see why it wasn’t applied. Do you have any receipt or confirmation number for that payment?

C: no I don’t. And you shouldn’t *have* to send in any kind of investigation, it should just already be there.

M: *ignoring her comment* Alright, when did you send in or make the last payment?

C: March 2nd.

M:….. thank you, and we did in fact receive a payment on March 2nd. For $xxx? Does that sound accurate?

C: YES! NOW WHY ARE YOU ALL SAYING I AM STILL PAST DUE?

M: it’s because that payment that was made paid off February’s balance so at the time you had a $0.00 balance however since that payment two additional bills came out to be owed and now one is past due.

C: honestly y’all are just trying to scam me and this isn’t right. I’m not going to pay it.

M: honestly that is your prerogative however if it does not get rectified then it could cause you to be disconnect—

C: I don’t care.

She hangs up the phone without going over payment arrangements or asking for a manager which the latter is where I thought that was going.

I honestly don’t know what’s so confusing about how bills work. I understand that there are still people that need a lot of help however arguing that we are trying to steal from our customers just because they don’t know how their bills work and then hanging up on them isnt a way to go about getting things resolved

What do you think?

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