Evil Genius helpdesk humour
"We care a lot"

There's nothing quite like the rustle of dollar bills to get someone's attention. Show me an internet user who believes he's getting his money's worth out of his connection, and I'll show you a user who's not paying his own charges.

Most of these stories were collected during my first year on the helpdesk, when I was receiving billing calls full time, and assisting with technical issues only when the tech support queue reached critical mass and customers needed to hear a human voice to keep them from exploding.

It was sometimes bemusing to come up against the sheer effort and energy our users were willing to put into their investigations when they believed there was a chance of diverting even a few cents away from the company and back into their own pockets. I listened to sob stories, wheedling, shifty dealing, demands and occasionally hysteria which seemed entirely out of proportion to the dollar amounts involved.

I guess to the customers there was a principle involved, while to us there was just a balance sheet.


I hope collections doesn't repossess his Pokemon cards.
It doesn't work that way

Customer: "I don't want to pay these charges. They're too much."

Operator: "Well, this is the rate you selected when registering the account."

Customer: "I didn't select anything, I got my son to register for me. He's ten, so you can't hold him to a contract."

Can't see the forest for the trees

Operator: I'm sorry, that's not a [RIP] invoice number."

Customer: "It's the only one written down here."

Operator: "Are you sure that's a [RIP] invoice you have there?"

Customer: "I'm sure. It says right here, [power company] monthly account."

Operator: "Excuse me?"

Customer: "It says [power company] monthly account."

Operator: "You do realise you've called an Internet Service Provider, not a power company?"

Customer: "Can you help me or not?"

Certainly I can help. Let me email you an evening's worth of electricity.

We're not the only bloodsuckers on the internet...
Can't see the forest for the trees

Operator: "That doesn't sound like a [RIP] charge."

Customer: "It says right here on the second line, 'internet service provider'. That's you, isn't it?"

Operator: "We are an ISP, but we always call ourselves by name, not just 'provider'. Do you have an account with another company?"

Customer: "No, just this one."

Operator: "And you're sure that's a [RIP] account you have there?"

Customer: "Of course it is! It's the same one I pay every month!"

Operator: "Okay, calm down. What does it say on the front page?"

Customer: "'Visa card account'."

Sign right here

Customer: "I've been charged a connection fee, but I was meant to get a free connection with my new computer."

Operator: "Did the vendor give you a registration code for a free connection?"

Customer: "Yes, but we didn't use that one. My sister helped me set it up and we used a code from her starter pack."

Operator: "Okay, I think that would be the problem."

Customer: "What would?"

Gimme the cash

Customer: "You know... for the amount of time I'm using, it actually costs you more in postage than I'm paying."

Operator: "Well, I wouldn't actually know how much postage is costing the company."

Customer: "Believe me, it is. You can check for yourself. So you're actually losing money by charging me this trifling amount."

Operator: "It's not really my department --"

Customer: "Doesn't really make sense, losing money by sending out charges, does it?"

Operator: (getting impatient) "Mr [customer], are you asking me to give you free service?"

Customer: (casually) "No, no... I'm just saying... you're not making any money this way... doesn't make sense, really..."

Thanks for your concern, but I'm pretty sure one day you'll forget to log yourself out, and that one session will pay for all these 45 cent stamps we've been wasting.
Don't go away mad

Customer: "I want to change my company account's pricing plan."

Operator: "Okay, could I have the account's email address please."

Customer: "I don't know it."

Operator: "How about a login ID?"

Customer: "I don't know that either."

Operator: "Phone number?"

Customer: "It will have been registered under the number in our old office."

Operator: "Which is?"

Customer: "I don't know. That was before I joined the company."

Operator: "[RIP's parent company] account number?"

Customer: "No, the accountant has those details."

Operator: [thinking it's time for a long shot] "How about the contact name from the account?"

Customer: "That would have been the company's former owner."

Operator: "Before you joined?"

Customer: "Yes."

Operator: "Well, unless we can come up with some detail I can use to find the account in our database, I won't be able to change the pricing plan."

Customer: "Then I'll call back later, but I want you to know I intend to register a formal complaint about this. I've had no co-operation from you at all. It's obvious you're badly-trained and don't have the first idea about customer service."

Gimme the cash

Customer: "I've been signed up with your service for almost six months now, and I keep getting [RIP s parent company] bills, but there's never any [RIP] charges."

Operator: "That's odd, we've been sending them to you this whole time. And I've checked the [parent company] database -- they've been receiving payments. You've never received an invoice from us?"

Customer: "No, I -- oh..."

Operator: "What?"

Customer: [embarrassed] "This bill has a second page... I never noticed that before..."


Have you ever considered the radical notion that maybe your problems aren't someone else' responsibility?
Gimme the cash

Customer: "I haven't been able to use the internet for a week, so I'd like a partial refund."

Operator: "What kind of error message is it giving you?"

Customer: "Oh, it's working now. I couldn't connect because the phone line was down. The phone company gave me a refund, and I think you should too."

Note: this customer was on a pay-per-use pricing plan. No use = no charges. So essentially, he wanted us to pay him for the inconvenience of waiting for his phone company to fix his line... and he wasn't happy at all when we turned him down.


Gimme the cash

Customer: "I got a registration code for thirty free hours on the internet."

Operator: "Yep."

Customer: "So how much is that time going to cost me?"

Operator: "?"

Gimme the cash

Customer: "This is in relation to my account. There's a problem with my charges."

Operator: "What seems to be the trouble?"

Customer: "I don't want to pay."

We're still working on a solution to that problem.
Hope springs eternal

Customer: "I've just received this email about your price increase."

Operator: "Yes?"

Customer: "I'm confused. Does that mean I'll be paying more, or less?"


"My momma always told me the internet is like a box of chocolates..."
Free coupon

Customer: "I'd like to take up this offer of a hundred free hours."

Operator: "A hundred free hours? I don't think we have an offer like that."

Customer: "Well, it says so on the CD that came with my computer."

Operator: "Does the CD have our company logo on it?"

Customer: "All it has is ayol."

Operator: "Ayol? AOL?"

Customer: "Yes."

Operator: "That's an America Online CD, not one of ours."

Customer: "Can I use it with you?"

Operator: "Unfortunately, no. That would have to be used through America Online, and as far as I know, they're only available in the US."

Customer: "What about this CD for 50 hours, then? It says Big Pond."

Operator: "That's an Australian ISP. The only special deals we offer are the ones that come on our own CDs."

Customer: "That sucks. If you say you're going to give me free hours, then you should give me free hours."

Operator: "Well, I'm afraid it's like having a MacDonalds coupon -- if you take it into Burger King, they wouldn't accept it."

Customer: (speaking slowly and clearly as though to the mentally deficient) "That's food, not the internet."


Money worries

Customer: "You can't put your prices up with no warning at all!"

Operator: "We did send out an announcement via email six weeks before changing our billing schedule. And a reminder two weeks before the change."

Customer: (long pause)

Operator: "Hello? Are you still there?"

Customer: "You expect me to remember that email weeks later? It's not good enough!"

Gimme the cash

Operator: [explains to the caller that she can't receive her email without dialing up and connecting to the server]

Customer: "Well that's very convenient for you, isn't it? How much money have you scammed out of people this way?"

At least she's well-prepared for work-at-home spam...
Money worries

Customer: "I just got your email and you can't put your prices up, it's illegal!"

I can see why he's been a loyal customer.
Money worries

Customer: "Listen, I'm a loyal customer who's been with you for years. Now, I want you to put me back on the old pricing plan so I don't have to pay."

Gimme the cash

Customer: "I'd like a refund of the time I spent online with you, I thought my account was with a different ISP."

Operator: "Did the other ISP charge you for the same time?"

Customer: "No, I just opened an account with them this morning."

Operator: "Was there any problem with your [RIP] account during that time?"

Customer: "No, it worked fine."

Operator: "Well... if there were no technical issues, and the other company hasn't charged you for an account over the same period, I'm not sure what we would be refunding the money for?"

Customer: (very patiently) "I told you, I thought I was with a different ISP."


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