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Question
Posted by: Harassed | 2007/11/27

Call Centre Harassment

Hi Cybershrink

I unfortunately am going through a rough patch at the moment forcing me to make an arrangement on my credit card. I pay each month on time, the agreed amount and they have copious notes on the computer. However, day in and day out throughout the day I am harassed by call centre operators or the automatic dialling machine. I started off being polite and confirmed the arrangement, then asked them to refer to the notes. But, they continue. I avoided the calls. They continue. I left a very rude message on my voicemail. They continue. I wrote to the Call Centre Manger - no response. This morning I actually ended up screaming and swearing out of pure frustration. It must surely be illegal to harass people like this, not from a rights points of view, but because of the severe mental stress it causes. I threatened to refer this to the Ombudsman (which I am going to do), but I want to write a letter to someone about the Mental Health implications. Who do you suggest that I write to? To me, when we live under so much stress and some of us get into difficulty not because of stupidity but because of unforeseen events it is unecessary to harass a person like this. I am concerned about the people that don't have the means to complain and do something about it. Its one particular Call Centre in particular and I can't be the only one. Is it a point that when someone is trying to work (without being interrupted by these calls), paying (without prompting) or not wanting to discuss their personals over the phone that they should not be mentally harassed like this? There must be a medical term for this. I cannot switch off my cell due to work and the fact that I have an elderly mother I worry about. BUT am now so desperate that I am thinking about changing my cell phone number.

As I asked before there must be some kind of name for this mental battering and there must be an institution that can put a stop to this. I think it is abusive in the extreme.

Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

How frustrating ! I am absolutely convinced that the majority, if not all, of the software and hardware systems that claim to be about helping customers and callers, are in fact designed to punish all callers and frighten us away from actually trying to speak to the people whose errors are causing us troubles. Our City Council has a brilliant system that has never yet helped a single customer or rate-payer, insitentily makes even simple queries a frustrating, lengthy and unnecessarily expensive process.
I believe at the very least that they should be by law forcved to provide alternative numbers by which one can reach actual human beings authorized to deal with one's queries and problems, and that there should be an opt-out option.
In the example you quote, I agree with Hope*, that this sounds like ugly harrassment, of no real benefit to anyone except the harrassers, and you should look into laying charges against them.
There SHOULD be an institution to stop such abuse, but I don't know of one ( and I would have a number opf complaints to lay with them, myself !)
Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: Siza | 2007/11/30

Hi Harrased,

I'm in a similar situation as you and I'm now at the point of being afraid to answer 'Unkown' or 'Private' calls - not because I do not want to pay off my debt, but because I'm avoiding the non-ending harrassment. These people seem to have a knack for calling at the most inconvenient times; like when one is in the company of colleagues or friends, or in the evenings when one is trying to recover from a hectic day at work, or when one is driving, the list is endless.

I've also reached a point where I've been rude to some of them, not because I'm nasty, but because no matter how many arrangements I make, I still get a different person calling me each time about the same matter. It's totally frustrating. I agree with you:surely its not right to be perpertually harrased like this??!!

Please keep us updated should you have any luck with the above-mentioned website. I'm also looking for ways to curb this intrusive conduct, and I plan to complain until something is done about it.

Reply to Siza
Posted by: Had enough of bad service | 2007/11/27

I also suggest hellopeter dot co dot za

I was so cheesed off as well, first I get a woolworths employee defrauding me (credit card) with R1000-00, well that gets sorted out and I am refunded in the end but then I buy groceries and bags and all the bags are faulty they split and my eggs fall out among other stuff and they break and the mess is gross. I go back to exchange faulty long life milk carton dispenser and get a rude employee saying he can't change it because I don't have the till slip. ITS WOOLWORTHS MILK, the sell by date has not expired. Whats up with the dude, I am not asking for a refund, just a swop/ exhange, they need to take it up with their supplier, just like the faulty plastic bags, some of their employees need to be trained how to deal with people.

Really have no patience for them!

Reply to Had enough of bad service
Posted by: Carol | 2007/11/27

Go to hellopeter dot co dot za and complain there .... or else lay a charge of harrasment.

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Hope* | 2007/11/27

If you've made arrangements and they have accepted your offer/proposal to rectify the problem, but they still persist in calling you day in and day out, then I would most certainly call that harassment. Surely you could lay a charge of harassment against the call centre?

Reply to Hope*

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