Tech Support is not your Fairy Godmother

July 15, 2008 9:37 PM

Tech support is not your fairy godmother
(via Cafepress)

On the way home from work today, I contemplated about whether or not I should be blogging this. Blogging about one’s work is always a tricky proposition. You’d jeapordise not only your current job but also any future employment opportunities. But I feel that what happened to me today was so surreal and bizarre that I can’t really be faulted for it.

So here goes …

Me: Hi, this is Marcus. How can I help you?
Customer: Yes, I want to query about an invoice.
Me: Ok, what’s the invoice number?
Customer: 123456.
Me: Ok let’s see. Yup, that’s an invoice from April and it has been paid for.
Customer: I know it’s been paid for. What I want to know is why did I pay for something that I didn’t use?
Me: I’m sorry. I don’t quite understand your question.
Customer: I didn’t use it so why was I invoiced?
Me: I’m sorry but it doesn’t work like that. When you create an account with us, you are paying for it up front. It doesn’t matter if you choose to use it or not.
Customer: Who created this account for me?
Me: I’m assuming that it would be yourself or someone on your behalf. We don’t manually create accounts unless instructed.
Customer: Well I didn’t create this and I didn’t use it.
Me: *getting more and more exasperated* Let me check our records. It appears that this account was created 2 years ago and you have been paying for it until now.
Customer: *getting agitated now* But I haven’t been using it! Why did I get an invoice?!
Me: The system is automatic. It invoices everyone who has an account with us.
Customer: This is not right.
Me: Unfortunately because it has been more than 30 days since the invoice date, we can’t offer you a refund. Was there a reason why you paid for something that you didn’t intend to use? You could have chosen to let it lapse.
Customer: *ignoring my question* This is ridiculous. I want to speak to someone else.
Me: There’s only me at the moment. I can leave a message for one of our accounts person to call you back tomorrow?
Customer: Yes, that would be good.
Me: ok-thanks-bye-click!

Why anyone would automatically pay an invoice, and for something that they don’t intend on using, and THEN complain about it 3 months later is quite bewildering. But now that I got that off my chest, I feel better. And tomorrow I’d have to repeat the story to our accounts person. Oh what fun it would be. :mrgreen:

15 thoughts on “Tech Support is not your Fairy Godmother

  1. mirebella

    Typical. Quite silly really. Its like saying – I dont want to pay for this car coz it is sitting in the garage and I am not using it.

    Thank GOD I deal with the accountants and not the SMI’s. 🙂

  2. Katie

    That’s a bit weird. Now I’m trying to figure out what product you would be invoiced for but you don’t use… it’s like one of those riddles, lol!

    Or maybe it’s obvious and I’m just a dumbass. That’s my word of the day. Dumbass. *giggle*

  3. mooiness Post author

    herman: still doesn’t explain why they’d pay for something that they don’t want and then blame us for it.

    mirebella: oh yeah I’m glad you understand the pain. Heh.

    Katie: something like a phone contract where you’d pay for it upfront every month, except it’s web/email hosting and with our company, the fee is annual. 🙂

  4. blur ting

    if it is a big firm, the payment may have been auto-formatted and some new guy comes along now and starts to scrutinize everything and realise they’re paying for something they don’t use.

    I have the same problem with Plaxo. I don’t use it but for some reason, I had paid for it the first time many years ago. Then when I tried to cancel it, they tell me I can’t and that I have to wait until it expires. Because I don’t use it, I don’t know when it expires. I just hope it doesn’t get paid automatically under an auto-renewal programme and just gets charged to my credit card. Gee, I’d better go check now.

  5. Lina

    This is stupid, either the he/she calling in for nonsense.Logically, if you are not using a service anymore, who wont be paying as well, but tht fella paid and after that called saying not using ..hahaha so funny..
    In this universe, there’s tone of funny people that we will face in the service line.

    I face some of them on my job as well.. 🙂

    Marcus.!!!!!!!!! cheers…

  6. mooiness Post author

    Lupin: she sounded pretty lucid to me.

    blur ting: be that as it may, then they shouldn’t blame the vendor. It was their mistake, not ours. Which is why I find the whole thing so preposterous.

    Lina: hahah, kindred spirit eh?!

  7. mf

    I went through the SAME thing with our member who claimed he dunno y their co kept paying for subscription fees. I checked the system and told him some of his staff actually attended quite a number of our networking events (read: free drinks and food in clubs).
    He got quite agitated and kept repeating the same question : y invoice me?!


    These pple ought to be shot.

  8. p4tricia

    Hi Marcus, I have been your reader for a few years now, but has always been a silent one. But I just have to comment/rant on this one. I have seen this happening a few times. A few examples;-

    When I was working for a small event firm using the service of one of the biggest web hosting/ISP company in Perth;- the ISP kept on adding services that we didn’t use (and never asked for) without our approval and charged us. Payment was direct debit. My GM didnt know any better until one day she asked around what was it and noone had any idea. Naturally she exploded.

    Also when I was using a month-by-month (non-contractual) service from an ISP;- I didnt sign any direct/cc debit consent form, didn’t give verbal approval, and they even said this is a one-off payment. They still debit my cc monthly. It’s only $9.99 a month so I didnt think much of it. But I still dont think it’s right.

    A big fitness centre billed my friend monthly after she quit. She doesnt use internet banking and her statement comes every 3 months. She ring call centre/account dept, they couldn’t find the original exit docs (even though she has the customer copy) then it took them another 3 month to process and reverse the payment (in which she was billed too).

    I am sorry as a tech support you have to deal with this. Though I have to say this happen a lot with telco, net and ISPs. Also, when you are dealing with direct debit, delayed bank statements (thank God for netbank now), big firms, busy people, it’s bound to be messy.

    Ofcourse, it could be just some nutcase wanted to dodge their liability, especially if the invoice is generated automatically when a user subscribe to the service. However, being in IT, I know there is also possibility of system error 🙂

    It’s a good thing that you can hand-ball it to your account department.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment.

  9. mooiness Post author

    mf: hahah nice one. I’m glad that you could rub it back in his face that his staff *have* been using your services.

    p4tricia: thanks for the comment! I can assure you that we didn’t sneak up on this particular company. Invoices are sent out a month prior and with this company, we didn’t do automatic payment. Which means, that someone would have to physically read the invoice and call up our company or went to our site to key in their CC numbers.

    So yeah, which makes it even more bizarre that the person got angry at me when it should be one of their staff that should have copped it.


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