TL;DR Caller says the card isn’t theirs, can’t help them, call took over an hour.
So, I was working for an unnamed company, who had a client that serviced credit unions. I was a “Cardholder Service Representative” Otherwise known as, the number on the back of your card. We had 3 locations, one on eastern time, one on mountain time , and one on pacific. So we were operational until 2am so the 24 hour pacific location could have a light queue until 5am mountain time. It was a system that was just barely working but that’s a call center for you.
A bit more info about the job for context, important I swear. When we get a call, we request a name, then card number. Once we have a card number (which we cannot give out any info on, not even repeating the card #) we verify them. You know the drill. The issue on this particular call, was that if for any reason, the caller has a different name than the shown cardholder(CH), they fail verification instantly. Doesn’t matter when you find out, before during after. You shut down, clam up, apologize, and end the call ASAP. The only exception is to have the CH verify in then say the exact phrase, “I give permission to “X” to view my account and access or change any information relevant to my issue.” If they can’t for any reason we cannot assist on threat of being fired for breach of privacy.
I know that’s a lot but now the good part.
So I get a call at around 10pm EST. She gives me the CH name, verifies, and asks why her card is not working. I see it is because of too many invalid pin attempts, inform her of this and she says:
“Dangit, and my daughter’s asleep too.”
This is a warning sign, a big red flag if you will. This was my second week at this point so training is still fresh. After a moment of panic I ask,
Caller “Yeah, my daughter is the CH, I’m caller”
Well fuck. I can’t even reset the woman’s card now. I say
“I apologize, I can only discuss account information with the cardholder. Is the CH available to speak?”
Caller: “No, she’s asleep in South Carolina and I’m in Florida!”
Double Fuck. I reluctantly close out of the account. and the following conversation occurs.
Me: I apologize ma’am. I am unable to assist any further. Please have the CH call us on the number on the back of the card for further assistance.
Caller: What? Why?
Me: I can only speak with the CH
Caller: But I am her mother. She has been letting me use her card for gas cause she gets cash back. What’s the issue.
Me: I can only speak with the CH about the account
Caller: Like Hell. You were talking to me 5 seconds ago.
Me: I can only speak with the CH
Caller: Fine! I’m CH. Happy?
Me: I know you are Caller. Please have the CH call us when she can.
I must note here that when I say “the CH” I’m saying “the CardHolder” as I cannot repeat the name on the account, which I think made the caller even more upset.
Caller: Come on sweetheart, I just finished driving 6 hours from NC to FL. I’m a trucker and I’m stuck at a gas station with no gas and no money, Please I cannot spend the night out here.
Me: I can only speak with the CH. I am so sorry, but I cannot assist further.
Caller: Please! I am stuck in the middle of nowhere with a damn 18 wheeler!
Me: I understand. But again, I cannot assist without verification from the CH.
At this point she explodes. I don’t understand shit, I could help if I wanted, etc… It’s pretty generic, but it was my first real blowup. She didn’t curse, for the first hour.
Me: I can send your call to a supervisor if you would like.
Caller: I don’t need a damn supervisor, I need my card to work.
Me: I cannot assist further on that front. Is there another card you need assistance with?
Caller: NO! I need THIS card to work. NOW!
This goes back and forth for an hour, the caller getting more and more upset and me slowly losing sympathy for this woman. I felt bad, it was a genuinely shitty situation. I was also powerless to assist now. Then, after an hour of pleading, she snaps.
Caller: You F—ing B—- You could help me if you wanted. Your just being a b—-!
Me: I apologize if you feel that way
Caller: If this card isn’t my MFing card, then I’m commiting fraud right? Call the police on me!
Caller: Call the F-ing cops you little S—! I’m stealing my daughter’s card right? Call the Cops!
Me: I am unable to make outgoing calls from this call center.
This sounded snarky, but it was literally in our knowledge base that we could pull up on the PC, I quoted it word for word because at this point I was panicking, and trying desperately not to laugh. I read reddit before this and this was IRL reddit story! I had to mute my self several times. Continuing to offer a supervisor, and also asking if she was finished. And if you are wondering why I did not hang up at this point, we were forbidden to. It is an instant 0 if you prematurely hang up. You must ask, quote “Is there anything else I can assist you with today?” And you must receive and audible response synonymous with no before you are allowed to hang up. We didn’t even have a profanity clause at this point.
She spent another 20 minutes raving about the police, by which point my team leader, let’s call him Nye, came up and plugged into the call so he could understand why I was on the phone for 1 hour and 23 minutes. I came in at 3, and was supposed to leave in 40 minutes. His eyes went saucer wide when he got the headset on.
Then she said it, as I was reiterating our CH policy, she said it and I could not hit the mute button fast enough.
Me: I apologize once more, but I cannot access the card information without the CH verifying-
Caller: You stupid B—-! I bet you beat your kids! You’re the worst mother ever and I will find you and call CPS on your ass!
I burst out laughing, not quite hitting the mute button in time. To clarify, I am both male, and 18 at the time. This was my first real job and the fact that she thought I was a mother, and that she was going to call CPS on me and my non-existent kids, at 11:30pm, was the last straw. Even Nye was laughing at that, even as he said, “Shit, she heard you.”
Caller: ARE YOU F—ING LAUGHING AT ME?!?!?!?
After I calmed down,
Me: I apologize, this is not a laughing matter and I am very sorry for my \*Mute\* Laugh \*un mute\* inconsiderate behavior.
Caller: You lying sack of s—
Me: I will inform you that I am childless, unmarried, and male.
That got silence for a whole minute. I could hear her buffering, it sounded like 90’s dial up.
Caller: You sound like a b—-
Me: I get that a lot. And I apologize for my laughter. I can get a supervisor to speak with you if you would like.
Caller: Fine! Maybe they can keep a straight F—-ing face when speaking with a damn \[credit union name I don’t remember\] Member!
So I transferred her. I got a ding for getting caught laughing for unprofessionalism, but Nye said that he didn’t hold it against me. I was given an extra 15 minute break, then sat down for my last 10 minutes when a quality assurance person came over and said “I was listening in, you did amazing. Are you OK?” I told her I was fine and she said, “A few of us listened in back there, we all laughed too.” And was off with a nod. I spent the rest of my time there, a bit over a year, white knighting QA when my team complained about scores.
All in all, my most memorable call of all time. And my longest across all jobs.