Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Phone conversation of the week

I got this phone call from what apparently was some kind of process server yesterday morning. For a second, I thought I must be getting sued for unknown reasons, but that turned out not to be the case.

The conversation went like this. Imagine this really aggressive "I'm gonna serve some papers on your ass" tone on the part of the guy who called. My tone, meanwhile, was just as dry as my words.

(I answer the phone) Me: Hello?

Caller: Will someone be available to serve legal papers to?

Me: What? Who is this?

Caller: We need to serve legal papers to Sheila [redacted] today. Will somebody be available to be served legal papers?

Me: Who?

Caller: Sheila [redacted]. Do you know her?

Me: Never heard of her.

Caller: We have this contact information for her.

Me: Are you sure you're calling the right number?

Caller (indignant): 'Course I'm calling the right number. [Pause] Oh. [Click]

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  1. I had a similar conversation once with a credit card company.

    Them: We are calling to find out when you are going to send the $87 you owe us. We need a payment immediately or this is going to collection and will be reported to the credit bureau and your life will be ruined and blah blah blah...

    Me: Huh? I don't even have one of your cards.

    Them: But this is Andrea [last name], right?

    Me: Yes. I've never done business with you. Where did you get my phone number?

    Them: Uh, well, no... it's okay. Our mistake. Sorry to bother you.

    Me: No, really. I need to know how you got my phone number linked to an account that isn't mine.

    Them: Well, uh... we looked it up.

    Me: Like in the phone book? You looked up "Andrea [last name]" in the phone book and are just calling all of us and demanding payment?

    Them: Well, yes.

    Me: Good luck with that.

  2. Ha. Yeah, I know some smart people who've worked in collections before, but I wouldn't say that smartness is a job requirement.

  3. I work in collections, although I'm fortunate enough not to actually be a collector. Their skip tracing process is rather interesting, and involves things like looking up phone numbers online and calling everyone with the same name.

    There are a few smart ones here, but the majority are, um, not so much. They dress like they're either going clubbing or going to mow the yard. The women, at least, don't seem to know how to flush a toilet (don't know about the men, since thank heavens I never have to go into the men's room). They can be really ugly on the phone to our customers, and don't seem to understand that if you treat your customers respectfully, you'll be able to conduct business more effectively.

  4. Yeah. Treating people like garbage just makes things worse. I mean, most people who are having trouble paying their debts actually want to, and are embarrassed that they can't. They're just normal people who've been unlucky and/or made mistakes.


What do you think?