Another day at the office...

A big part of my job is dealing with credit counsellors - intermediaries for those who are unable to manage their debts. Some of these guys do this for profit, and are generally well-structured, streamlined, and efficient.  These guys are a joy to deal with, and can give you quick and precise information within moments of asking for it.  They also help get those people who are so financially disorganized to actually pay their debts.  I love the for-profit C/C guys. 

But then there are the other guys.

The non-profit C/C companies can be brutal to deal with. The staff is under-trained and underpaid, and often don't understand how the legal system works. I'm amazed some of them are able to use a phone. 

As a case in point, I once had to call them to give some info regarding their accounts with my company - I simply wanted to update our file numbers because they were using incorrect account numbers with us. Rather than taking my information (which consists of me saying the client's name, their confirming it's the right name, and then a quick update of information, which can be brutal in and of itself) they decided I had to confirm my identity with each and every client (due to "privacy laws" that they follow more strictly and stupidly than the frigging government of Canada). 

In other words, I couldn't just give them their client number, and then give them my client number.  Nope.  I also had to supply them with the client's name, address, date of birth, SIN #, and favourite type of cheese.  And if I missed even one ("he prefers wensleydale over caerphilly!"), they wouldn't let me give them information.  And in between each client, I had to confirm who I was, as well - my name, my phone number, extension number, and where I was calling from.  Just in case I was secretly a spy or something, and they were trying to catch me in a lie. 

In such cases, I usually just say "well, I guess we can't accept your cheque, then.  Your client is still in debt to us," and then hang up. 

They call back pretty quickly after that.  Usually it's a manager, who apologizes for the last call-taker.  And then tries to explain privacy laws to me.  Which is a pretty big pet peeve, as I've worked for the government and know how privacy laws actually work. 

I digress. 

Thursday really shed some light on just how clueless some of these places can be.  I was called by one, hoping to get some information for one of our files.  After she gave me the client's DOB and name (thus satisfying actual "privacy law" took three seconds), she wanted to e-mail me some information. 

I spelled out my e-mail address, using the "name game".  So I said, basically, "the email address is Dave Steeves, that's Donald, Adam, Victor, Edward, Samuel, Thomas, Edward, Edward, Victor, Edward, Samuel."

Which she wrote down.  And then told me that was a long e-mail name, and could I please repeat it. 

I had to explain to her that it was actually only eleven characters long, and that I was just trying to be clear.  She had never heard of this spelling system, and told me it was very silly.  She then proceeded to mispell my name (a lot of people only put one 'e' instead of two, which is why I pronounce it slowly to begin with). 

But the best question was when she asked:  "and is that all in lower case, or upper case?"

"What?  It's an e-mail address."

She sighed.  "I know.  But is it all upper, or lower case?"

"You don't need to worry about casing in an e-mail address."

She was getting upset.  "Yes, yes you do."

"You're thinking passwords."

"No.  Is it lower case, or upper case?"

I sighed.  "Lower case, I guess."

"Thank you.  I'll send that e-mail to you right away."

This was on thursday.  I still haven't got it.

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