I’ve been answering my home phone lately. As an experiment. Just to see who calls and why. So far, the results lead me to believe I should disconnect the thing. Everyone who legitimately needs to speak to me knows to call my cell phone. Well, okay, there was the very helpful reminder about the appointment to get my teeth cleaned. Other than that? Nothing I’ll ever regret missing.
I got a call today from a woman who claimed to work for my mortgage company. I’m pretty sure she said there was no problem (it was hard to tell — I don’t think English was her first language), and that she was calling about my mortgage payment. Usually this means someone wants me to re-finance. So I’m ready to hang up. Except she said she worked for MY mortgage company.
So I asked, “What about my mortgage payment?”
“Yes, thank you ma’am. I wish to inform you that this call will be recorded to ensure customer satisfaction.”
“Fine.” I’m already dissatisfied. Recording the call isn’t going to change anything there.
“Yes, thank you ma’am. First, would you please give me your address so I can verify the information?”
Right. And next she’ll want my bank account and SS numbers? “No, I won’t give you that. You called me.”
“Yes, thank you ma’am. That’s fine. I want to verify that your address is (she reads off my address).”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Yes, thank you ma’am. And your phone number is (she reads off my phone number).
“Yes.” And stop thanking me. That’s just irritating.
“Yes, thank you ma’am.” Or not. “And is there another phone number you’d like to add to this information?”
I think the one you have is one too many. “No. There isn’t.”
“Yes, thank you ma– “
“Excuse me. Why are you calling?” Because I’m not sure this isn’t a scam and I’m fast losing patience here.
“Yes, thank you ma’am. We want to ask whether you plan to make your next mortgage payment.”
What the hell? “Yes, I plan to make my next mortgage payment.” When have I ever not made my mortgage payment?
“Yes, thank you ma’am. I see here that you usually make your payment on or before the XXth?”
Okay, so maybe she is with my mortgage company. “Yes. That’s when it’s due.”
“Yes, ma’am. I see that. And you make this payment online?”
“Yes, I do.” I’ve never even paid it late.
“Yes, ma’am.” Why has she stopped thanking me? “Is that what you plan to do this month?”
No, I thought just for the hell of it I’d do something completely different this month. Maybe send it by carrier pigeon. “Yes. Is there a problem with that?”
“No, thank you ma’am. I just need to document the information. And do you plan to pay the full amount of $xx?”
No, actually, now that you mention it, I thought I’d only pay half this month, just to see what happens. “Yes, of course I’m going to pay the full amount.”
“Yes, thank you ma’am. And what about the next month’s payment? Will it be the same thing for next month?”
Oh, well, you got me there. Because NEXT month, that’s the one I was planning to skip. “Yes, of course. Are you telling me that’s a problem?”
“No, ma’am. Not a problem once I document the information.”
Document the information? I’m starting to feel like an illegal immigrant here. “But there is no problem with my mortgage.”
“No, thank you ma’am. I have all the information I need.”
“Great.” That makes one of us.
“If you have any questions, please contact our customer service department at 1-800-xxx-xxxx.” Right, since I enjoyed this conversation so much. “Thank you ma’am and have a nice day.”
And then she hung up.
Okay, I know that people are defaulting on their mortgages at an astronomical rate, but this call did not leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy about the financial health and well-being of my mortgage company. Something is very rotten in Denmark if this is the call they’re making to customers who pay in full and on time every month. For thirteen years. Maybe I should call and ask them a few pointed questions. See whether I can get them to thank me some more.
Either way, I think my phone answering experiment is almost complete.