Truly Quantity Over Quality
This day was so out there that I had to record it for posterity. Sometimes we will go a period of time without dealing with nasty or idiotic customers.
And then some days they all get off the bus together and come into the bank.
I just had to record this day for posterity. I’ve got friends who either don’t work in customer service or in easy “I don’t need to give a s***” customer service jobs. When I tell them what we deal with at the bank, they are literally amazed at what I have to deal with.
So am I, sometimes.
So before I forget, this is a list of customers we had to deal with in a single day just recently.
1) The bank wants to sabotage your mobile banking
So we start off the day with this guy coming into the bank, angry about a “big problem he’s having with his mobile banking”.
He can’t get into it because–and I quote–“it keeps asking me stupid questions that I don’t know the answer to”.
What, the security questions?
I inform him that the security questions are all questions he chose, as well as the answers. If he’s locked out, then we have to unlock him and reset his questions.
He persists with his story that the bank apparently just made up random questions to ask him.
Okay, so here’s my advice to any of you out there whose online/mobile banking or debit card or anything else is locked out because of an invalid PIN/password/security question answer. Don’t try to convince us that the bank changed your information without telling you. The bank did not do that. We don’t even have that information on file. How would we change it? Why would we change it? Why would the bank do that? To screw with you? Because every day is April Fool’s Day? Has AI in banking passed the “singularity” and now the machines are taking over, starting with this guy’s mobile banking?
Or perhaps this guy is a moron?
Listen, banks do not change your passwords. They will not make up security questions. If you try to log into your online banking and a security question appears, that’s because you chose it and its answer. Please do not tell me you can’t remember the name of your middle school or your brother’s first name. How do you not know this!?
Trying to save face by convincing us that you don’t know the answers to these questions because the bank changed them makes you look like an idiot. You thought we would think you’re an idiot for forgetting your PIN or something, but we just shrug that off. We deal with dozens of people who do that per day. But once you try to convince us that the bank changed your PIN in secret? Now we think you’re an idiot.
And that was my first customer of the day.
2) Following instructions: So simple yet so hard
My second customer of the day has a hard time following directions.
First, I’ll tell you how he started the conversation. It was a completely separate issue. He got charged two overdraft fees because his overdraft protection didn’t kick in. I couldn’t figure out why, so I refunded the fees. But the first words out of his mouth were, after slamming his statement on my desk, “This is illegal.”
I just gave him a look like he started speaking in tongues while sprouting feet out of his ears.
Overdraft fees aren’t illegal, but we’re not talking about that right now. Like I said, I refunded the fees. It appeared to me to be a genuine bank error, and I didn’t care to investigate further. So that issue was put to bed.
Instead, we’re talking about a charge he has in his pending transactions that he’s demanding I explain what it is.
How would I know? I didn’t spend the money.
Okay okay, let me just explain one second. This is an ACH charge, meaning you’re using your account and routing numbers to pay electronically rather than your credit or debit card. When they show up on your statement, they will show up with the name of the company on it.
I have no information or insight that he doesn’t already have. I can’t tell you what XYZ Corp does. I’ve never heard of them. I can’t tell you their contact information. I don’t have it. I only have what’s already on your statement. With debit card transactions, I’ll often have some more info, but not on an ACH.
If your statement reads “Payment to XYZ Corp”, then all I know about this transaction is that it was an ACH payment to XYZ Corp. Don’t ask me who XYZ Corp is. I’ve never heard of them. I don’t know what type of business it is.
It takes three attempts to explain this to him. The first two times, he goes, “But I just need you to tell me what it is! I want to know more information about this payment! Who are they!?” Again, this is his response to me telling him that I don’t have any additional information and why. The third time, he just goes, “Oh, so you can’t help me!?” in that condescending tone insinuating that either you or your employer is incompetent.
Seriously, I’m just counting down the days until someone gets slapped. It will be worth losing my job over.
Now here’s the thing. He says that he didn’t do the transaction. Okay fine, but the payment is still in pending. It has to post before we could put a claim on it. So he has to either come back to the branch or call the 800 number tomorrow. I tell him this.
“Yes, I want to put a claim on it,” he says.
So I repeat what I just said, with instructions on what to do next.
“So yes, this is my official request,” he says, starting to get up. “You can just do the paperwork.”
Okay, it doesn’t work that way. Guy’s gotta sign it, which means he has to come back tomorrow. Or call the 800 number.
“I have to call? Write down the number,” he instructs me.
I explain to him that it’s the 800 number that he has to call and give him that.
“Is that your direct line?” the idiot asks me. After I explain to him that it isn’t, he tells me to write down my branch’s number. I do so, but explain to him again that he needs to call the 800 number if he’s going to do a claim over the phone.
“Okay, I will call you tomorrow to do the claim,” he tells me, turning around to walk out.
Shoot me now, we allow this man to vote.
3) Walking the wire can sometimes be difficult
So while I was dealing with these two pillars of human progress, my coworker next to me was fighting over a wire.
Ah, wires. They are wonderful to do. No, just kidding. I almost got fired over one just recently.
But this one wasn’t getting done at all.
This guy was getting passive-aggressive because she couldn’t do the wire. Why couldn’t she do the wire?
He didn’t have the beneficiary’s address or the receiving bank’s address. No wire information, no wire.
When we don’t have certain information, I’ll try to hunt for it on Google. Though you’d be amazed how hard it is to find the addresses of some of these banks, especially Asian and Russian ones.
But in the end, it’s the customer’s responsibility to bring in the required information in order to do the wire.
I didn’t hear the whole conversation, but the guy was a prick. That much I did hear. Apparently all the other banks can do wires without that information. International wires just need a name, account number, and SWIFT code. Either she’s demanding information she doesn’t need or our bank is.
Regardless of what other banks do or don’t do, and regardless of what the wire departments of the world require for a wire (try saying that three times fast), we need the information we need. And banks do need certain information to not only send wires out to the proper institutions, but to match the funds coming in and information provided to their proper customer.
And the system will stop us from sending the wire without that info, so yes we do need it whether you like it or not.
Here’s my advice to anyone doing a wire transfer. Come in with the following information:
- Recipient’s address
- Recipient’s account number or IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
- Receiving bank
- Receiving bank’s address
- Receiving bank’s wire routing/ABA number (for domestic wires. Caution: This may not necessarily be the same routing number as the ones used for ACH/direct deposits (the ones on the checkbooks))
- SWIFT code (for international wires)
Also, may God help you if you need to send a wire to Canada. They have something extra called a TRNO. Apparently Canadians themselves can’t understand it, as evidenced by this TD Canada Trust employee giving false information to his counterpart in TD Bank USA. Actually, all the Canadian TD Bank employees seem to be hiding the fact that they don’t know what TRNO numbers are.
Make sure you bring that stuff with you when you do a wire. And make sure to remember that the responsibility for getting that information is yours, not your banker’s.
4) No means no, no matter what
So it’s around lunchtime when this guy shows up. He sits down with another representative looking to open up a business account.
I don’t know what sort of business this guy does, but whatever it was, he had not done so well in the past because he had an account that was in collections.
Collections, or charge off, is when you leave your account overdrawn for months at a time and the bank closes your account. Usually the turnaround time is sixty consecutive days. Once the account has been negative for that time, it is charged off and reported to ChexSystems or a different consumer reporting agency (likely ChexSystems).
The representative wasn’t letting him open a new account because of it. We actually don’t open a new account for you even if you do pay it off because we have no reason to believe that it won’t happen again. But sometimes we will make an exception, but that requires you to have paid us back first.
The guy was trying to open the account with a bunch of cash, telling her to just put some of it towards his payment and the rest of it into the new account, but the rep was rightly refusing. He probably bounced checks or overdrew his old account with his debit card and just left it like that. We don’t want customers like that.
Then the guy tells her that the branch manager already approved the account to be open. Well, why didn’t you lead with that?
So she gets the manager because we actually double check claims like that.
Guess what? He never gave authorization to open a new account.
He actually told the customer, “You were already here the other day and I told you no.”
The customer started getting nasty with him, raising his voice telling him to “just take the money, pay it off, and open my account!”. The final straw was when he picked up the cash and tossed it across the desk. The manager pushed the cash right back to him and told him that no account was being opened.
The guy looked like he was getting up to leave, so the manager walked away. But then the guy started talking loudly about how we were mistreating him, demanded from the rep her name and the manager’s name (buddy, you spoke to the nametag-wearing manager twice and never got his name?), and recorded it all on a piece of paper.
He started writing on the paper and narrating out loud what he was writing. “[Representative’s name] refused to open account for me or allow me the opportunity to settle my debt. Branch manager [manager’s name] came over and threw my cash at me and told me to get out of branch.”
He started berating the representative about how he was going to make a corporate complaint and how she better hope that she and the manager were only reprimanded and not fired for their treatment of a customer. And the guy wouldn’t freakin’ LEAVE.
At this point, I was going to lunch and wasn’t going to stick around for the rest of the show. But I know myself, and I know that if I didn’t find a way to vent, I would just let my desire to cripple this man stew.
And, by the way, people like that should be force-crippled or something. Honestly, if you’re against abortion rights for women, just come work with the general public and see how quickly you change your tune. You’ll be handing out free condoms to everybody you see in a matter of days.
But, unfortunately, bank policy does not allow for the breaking of customer kneecaps. So instead, as I walked by to the back, I told the rep, “Make sure you log everything that happened during this interaction, including whatever curses and threats the customer makes, so that if he does make a corporate complaint then they will see that he’s intentionally making a false complaint in order to scam the bank.”
I didn’t even look at the customer, didn’t stick around, or anything after that. I just walked to the back and clocked out for lunch (I had been told to go to lunch). From what I was told, the guy didn’t stay for more than another minute. Another customer who had watched the whole interaction apparently told him off and said that we could take his name as a witness that the customer was the one mistreating the employees.
I have a feeling we will never hear of this incident again, except when we’re telling stories about our worst customers and making fun of them viciously.
You do know we do that, right? Causing a scene makes you a comedy routine, nothing more.
5) You can give us better ID than that
Not every schmuck of a customer came to the platform, don’t get me wrong. The tellers got a piece of the action too.
Usually, they get the bulk of it. I couldn’t imagine what this blog would have looked like had I started it back when I was a teller. I’ll have to go back and start telling the stories I remember one of these days, once I’m out of retail banking and onto something else.
I only heard the end of this one. But the head teller was assisting one of regular tellers in dealing with a non-customer who wanted to cash out a check drawn on our bank.
Problem is that we need two forms of ID in order to cash a check if you don’t have an account with us. And guess what this guy didn’t have?
Technically, he did have a state driver’s license. But like I said, we need two forms of ID if you don’t have an account with us. That’s bank policy. Please don’t argue bank policy with us because you will not emerge victorious.
But he did. And his check is still not cashed. At least, it wasn’t cashed with us.
The reason he ends up on this list is because of his reaction. Another one raising his voice and all that. These are grown adults, people. Or so I thought. Who comes into a bank and acts the way they do?
As he walked out, I heard him mutter “Buncha f***ing a**holes.” Actually, I’m not that special. We all heard him say it.
Listen, if you can’t get your check cashed at the bank it was drawn on, go to your own bank. If you are one of the many unbanked out there, then head on over to a check cashing place like Check Into Cash or any other reputable MSB (Money Services Business). A lot of them will also do payday loans and other types of short term dollar credit if you also don’t have the necessary credit to obtain a personal loan.
Just don’t stand there and curse at a teller. It makes their life harder without making yours any easier. And with one third of bank tellers being on public assistance, it’s likely that whatever situation you’re currently in is quite enviable to the one they are in.
6) End scene……….I SAID END SCENE!!!!
It’s always great when someone makes a scene.
Even better when someone makes a scene every single time they come in.
And the woman that came in next fits the bill to a tee. Seriously, we had more trashy customers on this day than an episode of Hardcore Pawn, and the way this woman acts, I figured that there was a camera crew somewhere in the branch.
If they ever did a banking spin-off of Hardcore Pawn, this woman would have been given a mic and told to do her thing.
She was cursing out a teller who had only been with us for about two weeks. Screaming about how the teller is retarded and slow as anything and how every time she comes to our branch the service is terrible. She’s shouting and hollering and making a scene.
What’s amazing is that this isn’t the first time. This woman has been a customer for I don’t know how long, but this is the second time I’ve seen her and the head teller told me that this was far from the first time she’s been acting up in the branch. Apparently, they gave her name and account number to the manager but the manager never got around to closing her account.
The argument apparently started with the new teller asking her for ID in order to process a cash withdrawal. The woman started demanding to know why she had to show ID when she was there “all the time”.
For those of you who don’t know, yes you have to show ID at the bank if you want us to give you money, open accounts, process maintenance requests, or give you any account information.
Also, for those of you who don’t know, you don’t have to come into the branch. If pulling out your driver’s license is such a terrible hardship, you have other options. You can go to another branch, use our ATM machine, slit your wrists, or not use a bank at all and instead keep your money underneath your mattress.
As a matter of fact, if “the service at this branch is the worst I’ve ever seen! The line is always so long because you’re all so goddamned slow”, then don’t you owe it to yourself to go somewhere else or just use the ATM?
Trust me, you’re not doing us a favor by continuing to grace us with your presence. Do us all a favor and never step foot inside the branch again.
Because we’re not Hollywood movie directors. We don’t want to watch you make a scene.
7) Sadly, you’re not the worst I’ve dealt with
Some guy walks to my desk and wants to open an account. There’s something off about him that I can’t quite put my finger on.
Other than him being a sleazeball, at least.
He had an out of state driver’s license, but he had existing accounts with us. One of them was overdrawn, but he had no charge off history. While I would have preferred not to do business with this guy, I had no grounds for denying him an account.
But this guy was what I like to call “ghetto corporate” . Meaning that he comes in acting swanky and cocky, but he then likes to pretend that he’s book-smart and/or has figured out the way that the corporate/financial world “really” works.
You can see this sort of person from a mile away. Expect to see baggy jeans, a T-shirt, a backwards baseball cap, an electronic cigarette, and the revelation that every fee and policy is just an ingenious way for the bank to screw customers out of more money. And they’ll always try to talk to you like you’re in on the whole thing but it’s okay to be jovial with them because they’re secretly in the know too.
This guy checked every single one of those boxes.
An alternative name you can use for “Ghetto Corporate” is the “Occupy Wall Street Economist”, someone whose knowledge of the economy comes from his angry college peers, a handful of Youtube videos, and sleeping in a tent in a privately owned park in New York City that’s not owned or operated by any major global corporation or government fiscal policy making institution. Their knowledge of the economy stems down to “corporations are evil and want to screw us little people” and nothing more.
So first, this guy wants to open up a separate account for reasons I can’t remember off the top off my head. Then he asks about the balance on one of his accounts. Not the overdrafted one, but one that he’s on with two other people.
I tell him the balance. Something to the tune of $70 and change. He’s all like, “Yo, man, that’s impossible! How is it that low? There’s supposed to be, like, $300 in there”.
So we check out his statement and see that he’s been paying maintenance fees and other fees for optional services that he opted into since January 2017. It’s June.
“Yo man, that ain’t right,” he complains. “Why I gotta be paying those fees?”
“Well, your account hasn’t been above the minimum balance in six months,” I answer.
We go back and forth for a few, with me explaining to him the services that he opted into and him trying to convince me that he’s not enrolled in the services.
“Yo man, I opted out of that in, like, February,” he says.
“You did it here at this branch, or somewhere else?” I ask.
“I did it online,” he answers.
“Okay, and what happened? You got an error message?”
“No, I saw thing that says it went through fine.”
“……..Okay, are you sure that you opted out of these services?” I ask suspiciously, knowing that whatever he tells me is going to be a load of BS and that he didn’t. Guys, I know what you did and didn’t do. I’m not dumb.
“Of course, man! I got screenshots and everything to prove it!”
I just look at him with an expression that tells him that not only is he full of s*** but that I know that he knows that I know that he’s full of s*** and that I’m finding his attempts to convince me of his lack of s*** to be amusing.
Screenshots don’t prove anything. How would I know that you didn’t opt back in immediately afterwards? Of course, I never did see these screenshots.
“Man, the banks are smart, aren’t they? They are absolutely genius at making money. Man,” he says to me, smiling like we’re buddies and just discovered a major secret together.
Confused, I ask him what he means. He explains, “This is how banks make their money. They hope that customers forget their stuff so that they can keep charging whatever fees they make up. It’s ingenious, man.”
“No, actually, we try to advise you to keep tabs on your finances so that you aren’t getting charged unnecessary fees,” I reply. “Part of my job is to put you in accounts and services that don’t charge you any unnecessary fees.” When he tries to respond, I cut him off. “You can sit there and think that corporations are out to get you and that’s fine, but it’s up to you to keep tabs of your finances and if you can’t do that, then I can’t help you.”
We go back and forth for another minute or so (mainly reiterating the same stuff because this customer, like so many others, are deaf as well as dumb).
“Yo man, what can you do for me? Can you refund any of those fees?” he asks.
Ah, the nonsense of fee refunds. Now, he’s been a customer with us just long enough to justify refunding some of his fees. But, well, I’m not refunding him a penny. To be honest, I didn’t like him and I don’t appreciate his attempts to bulls*** me. If you’re not straight with me, I have no interest in helping you.
So I explained to him that I can’t help him. I ask him when the last time he checked his statements was. After all, he never either put enough in to avoid the fees, asked to downgrade or change his account, or closed his account? He never saw that his alleged attempt to opt out of certain paid services failed and that he was getting charged while still having said services? Come on.
“Man, I don’t check my statements. I ain’t got time. I’m busy,” was his lame excuse.
“I see here you have an online banking profile. You have 24/7 access to your account,” I tell him. I lean back in my chair. “You’re telling me that in six months, neither you nor the other two people on your account had time to check your online banking?”
“You see that person on the account right there? That’s my sister, man,” he says, pointing to the second name on the account. “She’s a really smart businesswoman. She runs her own business. She’s in meetings all the time, man. She’s always working. She don’t have time to check her online banking.”
Still leaning back in my chair, I look at him dead in the eye and respond, “So you’re trying to convince me that three people on this account have been so utterly busy and so devoid of free time that not one of you was able to pull out your phone and check your balance? I fail to see how it’s the bank’s fault that none of you have had five minutes of free time in six months.”
Now, customers who try to pull crap like that on us, this is the banking/customer service way of us saying “You’re a retard”. I’m pretty much sitting there calling him a retard to his face.
“Man, I know it ain’t right that I’m being charged these fees and I know I opted out of all that stuff. I dunno, maybe I gotta call and escalate this further,” he said.
“No problem,” I told him, ending the matter. He’s gonna “escalate this further”. What’s he gonna do next? Lawyer up like he’s Mike Pence or something? His broke a** can’t afford a lawyer.
We continue on with opening the account. We open a basic checking account (his fourth one), and he opts into the overdraft service. The one that’s been demonized for the past ten plus years by people who still believe that it is overdraft protection. Seriously, how are even J.D.’s incorrectly referring to overdraft coverage as “overdraft protection”? That baffles me to no end.
But he opts into it, and that worries me. Because I don’t trust this guy, and he does say he is going to make some payments and doesn’t know if he will necessary have the funds available at the time.
But I still open the account in spite of this red flag. Why? Because that’s a service offered by the bank and I can’t deny someone an account just because they say they will use one of our offered services. Plus, he does have money in his other two accounts in case his account is charged off. Our bank uses what’s called a “right to offset”, meaning that if you have an account that is charged off and another account that has money in it, the latter account will automatically be debited to pay off the former.
Still, I do plan on keeping tabs on this account. I don’t trust this guy. Maybe it’s because he’s the sort of person I’d expect to approach me on the street and sell me weed. But like I said, I can’t deny him an account because of nothing more than a gut feeling and a distrust of him.
Near the end, he asks me, “So tell me, man. I’m not the weirdest customer you ever dealt with, right?” Oh, trying to make pleasant conversation with me? “What am I? Top ten?”
I shrug and reply, “Top fifteen. You’re not the worst.”
8) A very important matter
I was tagged in near the very end of the day (maybe 20-30 minutes left to go) to do some Lobby Leadership. Oh thank God, because the bank would have certainly gone out of business had I not been out there greeting customers.
A guy in his late fifties or early sixties is standing there with a folder. I ask him if there’s anything we can help with, and he tells me he’s waiting for the branch manager. The manager is currently with a customer.
Eventually the customer leaves, but the manager is still sitting at his computer. After a couple minutes, I ask the guy if the manager knows he’s here, but he says no. So I go in and let the manager know that someone is waiting for him.
It turns out the manager has a doctor’s appointment in about ten minutes and was shutting down his computer so he could leave. The manager doesn’t have time to do anything other than get the eff out now.
The manager and I walk out of the office at the same time, and the manager lets the guy know that he’s leaving but asks if he can schedule an appointment tomorrow to take care of his issue. The guy isn’t having that. He wants to speak to the manager now.
So the manager asks what this is in reference to, and the guy replies, “It’s a very important matter.”
Ugh, we’re sure it is but that’s not the question he asked you, moron.
Getting nowhere, the manager tells him that he has to go, but he will have the supervisor take care of him. The guy just replies, “Do whatever you want to do.”
Now I was leaving too, so I don’t know what this “very important matter” was. Maybe it was legitimately important. I don’t know.
But you know what? A little courtesy goes a long way. There’s no reason to come in and disrespect us like that. Because that’s why retail employees see customers as their enemy rather than as their source of income. Customers pay our paychecks, but employees see them as problems to deal with and it’s because of customers like this.
Plus, how does catching an attitude help? I guarantee you that the supervisor (who overheard the conversation) went out of his way only to get this guy out the door rather than going out of his way to deliver the best possible customer service.
I wouldn’t bust my butt for someone who treated my fellow bankers with such disrespect.
I don’t care what might have happened in the past. Maybe the bank wronged him in some way and he’s looking for us to fix the error. Again, I have no idea.
But have a little respect. No one is asking anyone to worship the ground we walk on, but we do demand and expect to be treated like fellow humans.
When you walk through the doors of our bank, you don’t treat us like trash. Don’t treat us like we’re your children. Treat us with respect and as adults and we will do the same to you. If you can’t do that, then don’t come in. This isn’t a hostage situation; no one forced you in here.
I just wrote over 5,800 words about the obnoxious customers that came into the bank in a single day.
This should not be something I’m ever able to do. But here we are.
No, I’m not going to go on about how customers are the worst ever and how me and all my fellow retail workers need to find something in non-client facing positions. I’m sure I’ve played that fiddle to death.
Instead, I’m issuing a challenge to my fellow tellers, bankers, and even non-financial retail employees. I want to hear your customer stories. I want to hear your absolute worst tales, and I don’t care how you go about telling them.
Leave a comment with your crazy customer stories. Email me for your own guest post. Go on anti-customer websites and vent. Hell, even best of all, start a website using iPage or some other low cost hosting service and create a blog like this that continuously gives us stories and insights into what you do.
I’d love to see what you all got for me. Let’s compare notes and see how bad customers can be.
Readers–What do YOU think!? Are you shocked that I could have that many obnoxious customers come in during the course of a day? Or is that something you’d expect from the general public? Anyone else who works in banking or customer service that wants to share their customer stories, or even start their own website and profit off their negative customer experiences? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: The links to Check Into Cash and iPage are affiliate links. Clicking on them and applying/signing up for their services will earn me a small commission at no cost to you. The former will allow you access to short term credit even if you have no credit or bad credit, and the latter will allow you to create a website that earns you passive income (just like this website does).
Another disclaimer: This article has a sequel. That’s not a good thing.