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A Close Call


A Close Call

While I realize it is difficult to work in customer service, I also know there are a few major actions to avoid that will result in less inflammatory conversations.  Ashley, an accountant who identified herself as "upper management", decided to accuse me of a truly wild chain of things before telling me she didn't care if I cancelled or not, and that I would have to call back to speak to anyone else.

Here is my situation:

I was on my parent's plan until May, when I decided to get my own plan.  Boyfriend was extremely reluctant to switch to Sprint with me, but I swore up and down that they are a solid company, and eventually he caved and we went with Sprint.  Our first few bills fluctuated in price, so I was confused about what I would actually be paying.  The first month was grossly inflated because of new sign-up fees, and later charges appeared for AppleCare for our iPhones, etc.  Then one month we were only charged $120, and the following month $170. I kept waiting to get two consistent bills in a row, and when it finally happened, looked into the fees further. 

I was shocked to realize I was getting charged $13/month and had been all along for Arizona state fees. I live in Illinois.  Sprint sends my bill to Illinois.  I pay with my card linked to a bank account at a bank which is in Illinois.  I have not moved since getting this phone, nor have I or anyone on my plan lived in Illinois,  My parents, however, have a house in Arizona.  Somehow, when creating my brand new account with the brand new sign up fees, the representative at the Illinois store failed to correct the address associated with my account.  No one ever gave him the Arizona address as my parents were not present or in any way involved in setting up my new account.  I don't even know their vacation home address, and my boyfriend certainly has no idea either. 

So let's rewind a few days, before I understood why I was getting these huge Arizona fees of $13 every month ON TOP OF the Illinois ones (proving that they know I'm here).  I went to the sprint store where I very nicely asked if someone could walk me through the charges on the bill I had brought in.  The girl working said she had no idea and that I would need to call in.  So I did, right there.  It took a long time, but after explaining everything, she put me on hold for 20 minutes and returned saying that she would correct the mistake.  I explained I expected to be refunded for the $60 in extra fees they had been wrongly changing me for 5 months, starting with my current bill.  She said she was creating a case and I would hear back within 48 hours. 

So I waited 48 hours, checking my bill online periodically to see if I had been credited. No such luck. No one contacted me during this time, so about 50 hours after my initial call, I called back.  The representative I spoke to was very nice but seemed confused about the situation (understandably, it's confusing and there was no "case" filed with the details of the information).  She said she needed to create a case and she could call me back, or I could wait a few minutes. I said it was no problem, and I'd wait on the line.  I was as nice as possible because i knew it was a weird situation that I didn't completely understand myself.  It took a while, but eventually someone picked up, someone new.  She was pretty bristly right off the bat, and I was taken off guard with her tone and attitude.  I asked if she already knew what was happening and she said yes and that nothing could be done about it.  I wanted to know why, and I wanted to know what had happened.  She said I'd probably moved recently.  I said I had lived in the same place since getting the phone.  She said that wasn't true because she saw the change in address from September 17th, as if she had just caught me in a lie.  I explained that I had called in inquiring about the issue and had never heard back but that I was glad they had at least finally corrected the mistake, but that I was waiting for a credit to appear in my account to refund the incorrect charges.  She kept TELLING me that "someone" on my account lived in Arizona, because while my (the primary account holder) address had always been In Illinois, SOMEONE on the account had lived in Arizona.  I explained that until we added my brother (who also lives here in IL) to my account 2 days ago, it was only me and my boyfriend, who I live with, on the account.  She said that clearly "someone" had called in to tell Sprint that they live in Arizona.  I explained that is impossible, as I'm the only one with access to the account.  She then told me that anyone could call *2 on their phone and change the account information.  No one else even has my PIN number, and why on EARTH would myself or my boyfriend do that?  I told her that was insane and that I wanted to speak to someone else.  She said I could hang up and call back, but that it was my own fault that the address associated was incorrect.  I kept saying that doesn't make sense and that I received a bill at my home every month, but she kept insisting I was lying or that someone else had changed the account information and that the fees were my own fault and there would be no refunds or crediting, despite the fact that I had been charged for living in two states for 5 months, one of which I have not even been to since getting my phone.  I asked for her name and she curtly told me "Ashley" and that she couldn't give me any other way of identifying her because "that's not what we do here".

I was EXTREMELY frustrated by that point.  I still don't understand why she had to talk to me that way.  By the end, when she was telling me she didn't care if I switched services, I lost my temper.  I asked her what exactly had happened in her day that would cause her to treat someone this way, and she told me that nothing was her fault, it was mine for not taking what she had to say better.  I told her that, having worked in customer service, she should seriously consider a career switch. She snapped that she appreciated my telling her how to do her job as I hung up. I know meeting rudeness with rudeness is wrong, but I was so insulted and felt so wronged, and I let my temper get away from me.  I do feel bad for saying that because again, I've done that job, I just couldn't believe that someone with zero people skills had been promoted to upper management. 

My hands were shaking so badly when I called back, I could barely hold the phone.  I talked to a very nice woman named Christina.  I explained that I was really shocked at how the last representative had talked to me and that I completely understand that it wasn't [Christina's] fault.  I made sure not to take out my anger on Christina and she was able to get the month's Arizona charges taken off.  She explained that somehow when I left my parents plan one of their addresses had followed me, and that she had no idea how this had happened and she was very sorry.  Even though I only got $15 of the $60 back, I literally teared up and told her how much piece of mind it had given me that she had taken the time to talk to someone who could at least slightly fix the situation and thanked her over and over for helping.

Moral of the story: Ashley from accounting [the one about whom I was complaining], please accept my apology for being rude to you.  I should have been able to rise above being spoken to that way and ended the conversation much sooner.  Clearly something out of my control was bothering you, and I should have recognizes things were going downhill before it got that bad.  The responsibility of respect and maturity fall upon everyone, not just those who are literally getting paid to keep conversations professional and kind.  I hope someone recognizes your talent in another area and utilizes it, whatever it may be.

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