Remember that vocal minority of annoying customers I have been talking about? Apparently, many of them have the time and ability to check their bank/credit card statement several times a day, but no idea how to properly read what is on there. Let me explain with a few choice examples of what we frequently get in the customer service logs.
“You double charged me!”
We get this so often I get a little chill down my spine every time I hear the customer service reps in the next room dealing with it. The problem arises from those banks that are so helpful as to show authorizations on your card as well as the actual transaction. An authorization is when a company first checks to see if the money is available, and then later closes the authorization for either the amount checked or a part of it. The various business we all use to do this every day, such as pay at the pump gas stations and restaurants that allow for tips to be added later.
Simple concept, right? Apparently not. Another version of this is when we do issue a refund to a client, which appears as a credit on their statement. Somehow that +/- difference, sometimes shown in the typically accounting fashion with parenthesis surrounding the number is a difficult one to grasp. Even when it says “credit” next to the transaction we get people who assume this new line item on their statement means we have the gall to be charging them again. Pick up that phone and lay into a customer service rep, that’ll teach ‘em!
The kicker is that those that don’t get this concept right off and take the time to call in and complain, either never get the concept or won’t back down on it. These people will hang on the phone forever arguing with reps that are sincerely trying to explain this in the simplest of terms. Our reps often will have to resort to asking the customer to fax in their statement as proof, which many do not do, likely because they finally realize their error. Yet, somehow we have customers that will fax things in only to show that it does, in fact, say “credit” or “authorization” right next to the transaction just like we are trying to explain.
“You need to refund every charge I have on here that is unauthorized”
This is another oft-repeated concept in a variety of ways. When people purchase products online, they seem to do it in spurts. I find this is true of myself in fact; though I try hard not to compare my spending habits to those I complain about here, they are on a much different level. Because our company actually answers the phone because are a legitimate company we tend to waste a fair amount of time trying to convince people that we cannot, in fact, provide customer service for other companies on their statement.
Does this sound ridiculous to you? I hope so.
Sadly, their plenty of companies out there that try hard not to help their customers with billing customers as a part of their business model. Their modus operandi is to see if customers will just give up and let the business keep their money. We, on the other hand, feel good about the products we are offering, and though we deal with our share of loonies that we end up refunding, the bulk of our customer base is happy and enjoys the services we charge for.
Funny thing is, next to every charge on your statement is a “descriptor” that a business can customize with a limited number of characters to help customers identify the charge. We include our toll-free number as part of that descriptor to help customers get a hold of us, as do many other businesses. When our reps suspect a charge is not from us, they ask the customer to read off what it says next to the charge – no small feat in many cases – and even when it says another business name, the customer will refuse to believe it is not our company! No matter how hard I shake my head, I cannot get my mind to clear enough to understand the logic on this.
Our reps are repeatedly called liars, thieves and many other choice names when they continue to deny these charges are from us and therefore not our responsibility. Just today a lady just kept screaming “LIAR!” over and over to a nice girl on our end until she finally had to just hang up.
BCB – The Better Customer Bureau
I really am baffled out people like this can act this way to customer service reps. Even beyond that, I just don’t get how people that cannot read a statement or understand the concept of taking responsibility for their purchasing habits can feel justified in trying to bully their way into getting a charge refunded. I really think there needs to be some business reporting process that allows companies to report errant or fraudulent customers back to credit card issuers and banks. Some kind of flagging system so you have the ability to know if a “problem” customer has a history of buying and charging back items without basis. Though the eBay system is flawed in many ways, having some public accountability for their actions keeps many customers acting nicer than they might in a more anonymous world. Think of it as the Better Customer Bureau. I know there are many privacy issues and other flaws with this concept, but I’m here to tell you that most BBB and Consumer Protection Agency complaints I have seen over the years are just if not more flawed…