It seems I spend a good deal of my time peeved about something.
Yesterday I had to call my mortgage company to try and ascertain why they had assessed me a late fee on my last payment, when I had mailed it out on the 12th, which is in advance of the 16th deadline. Turns out they didn’t receive it until the 22nd, so voila, late. That’ll be $38.18, please.
A cursory check of the postal service website tells me that the check should have been received in their offices (in Atlanta) within two days’ time. So either the post office here screwed up (likely, because the PO here is notoriously slow) or whoever received it at the mortgage company took their good sweet time in posting my payment.
Not a lot I can do about either scenario.
And oddly enough, that’s not what pisses me off. I don’t generally get all worked up about things that are out of my control. No, what’s got me in a lather is the customer “service” I received.
My husband is fond of reminding me that customer service is the easiest thing to give and yet the hardest thing to get. As a man who works in the convenience store industry, he knows what he’s talking about. I don’t know why that is but it’s just not human nature, I guess, to be pleasant and helpful. I find it hard sometimes, myself.
First off, I understand that there’s not a whole lot that people can do about the sound of their voices. But people who hire for telephone customer service positions would be well-served to actually listen to what people’s voices sound like before setting them up with a workstation and a headset.
Secondly, I understand that customer service people, particularly those who talk to people who are sending the company money, are by necessity a bit jaded. They’ve heard every excuse in the book. They deal with a lot of people who are actually TRYING to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. It’s hard not to answer that call without presupposing you’re dealing with a liar.
Here’s the thing: I am not a liar. The reason I am not a liar is that I am not good at it. If I were a better liar I would lie like a rug and not give it a second thought. But I cannot lie with any sort of conviction and therefore you won’t catch me doing it. It’s probably why I’m not a better writer: I can’t make up shit to save my soul.
So I called my mortgage company to see if I could get this straightened out, and silly me, I thought I would be able to work this out. After all, I’ve never been late on a payment before, not once in all the eleven years I’ve had a mortgage. I’ve probably been spoiled by the great customer service I’ve received at other companies — even credit card companies — and it seemed reasonable to me that forgiveness should be relatively simple to get on this.
You know what I got? I got a guy with both a nasal voice and a snotty attitude. When I first heard his nose talking I cringed a little bit but, you know, thank god at least English was his first language. (Sidebar: don’t get me started on customer service reps who speak a heavily accented English. Just don’t.) I explained the situation to him and you know what? I got exactly bupkiss. Obviously, this guy has become accustomed to dealing with deadbeats and wasn’t going to brook any excuses. He launched into a spiel about the many ways I could avoid this in the future starting with, hey, mail it on the first like you’re supposed to, you bum (implication mine), or set it up to be automatically deducted from my account on a certain day (um, no). Several times I opened my mouth to interrupt but it was obvious he was working from a script of sorts. Nothing I said changed his tone or position.
I took it as a personal affront to be spoken to that way. Do not lump me in with that group of people with sob stories about how they can’t pay their mortgage.
I suppose I could have escalated the issue and asked to speak to a supervisor, but at a certain point you have to ask yourself: is this worth $38 to me?
Customer service. Hah.
Now would seem to be a good time to shop around for a new mortgage. See what I can come up with. Rates are (according to the media) at historic lows.
Is $38 and a snotty attitude worth a couple hundred thou? I think not.
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