There’s a great deal that I don’t about the world I live in so I try to take in as much as I can. I am not the one who has lots of patience but I also do not give up easily on people and things.

Just this morning, however, I’ve added another item on my AbaShet List (Abandon Shet – something borrowed from Gang Badoy): EastWest Bank. It now joins the ranks of things I boycott (if it’s an establishment) like Chowking and Manila Adventist Medical Center in Pasay City; and those that I do not mind (if it’s a person or a group) like L, D, N, and B. They are on my AbaShet list mainly because they are not needed in my portion of the universe.

EastWest Bank and I started off on the wrong foot. My first billing statement went to the 2nd floor of our office building and not on the 20th, where I am and it took some days before the billing statement found its way up. As a result, I had to pay some fine because I settled my account late. I called them up to rectify the mistake on my billing address and, if possible, to reverse the late payment charge as it wasn’t really my mistake. They got it right only after a couple more phone calls and some three more billing cycles. They never got back to me on the reversal of charges. But I let it pass.

I elected to maintain my now almost two-year old credit card with them for two reasons: (1) they waived my membership fee for the second year and (2) it’s the card I enlisted under an alternate Apple ID account, bearing a fake US address, to enable me to buy music at the Apple iTunes store and to buy ebooks at the iBookstore. It was supposed to be a happy co-existence with both of us benefiting from each other–or maybe not, as I always pay the exact amount every month thus, they are not earning from me, but still.

But with barely two months to go before my 2nd year is up and they are about to charge me a (waivable) P1,500.00 membership fee there came the straw that broke the camel’s back. And I’m decided–I’ll close down my account with them.

It was this certain Melanie that sealed the deal. She was the customer service representative who received my call this morning. I was telling her how come that I still haven’t received my billing statement (I always receive it on the 2nd week of each month) when I called them up early May to inform them that I am transferring office and that I’d like them to send my statement at my home address.

And then the most disrespectful thing happened while I was rambling off my complaint: she muted the phone. I could tell because the other line went into this silence much like when they are putting calls on hold. It was as if I wasn’t talking to anyone. She came back only after I said “Hello” several times. And it happened twice. My suspicion was even affirmed when she failed to repeat the last statement I said when I asked her to. And only God knows what she was doing the whole time. Was she sniggering? Was she making faces? Was she telling the others that it’s another one of those irate callers? I wouldn’t know. But boy did I blow my top. And I didn’t calm down until I have talked to her manager to express my indignation.

Like many of us, I am a consumer. Some businesses call us their Clients and some even call us their Partners or any other names, depending on their philosophy. Muting the phone while a customer/client/partner is expressing a concern is bad customer service. It’s like shutting me up when I what I just wanted to tell her was that I want to pay my credit card bill on time. I am a good customer like that.

Oh, Melanie. Hell hath no fury like a customer put on mute.


7 thoughts on “Muted

  1. When she put you on hold, did she actually mute your line? Because in some call centers, when they put a caller on hold, you cannot hear them but they can still hear you.

    1. Hi, Onyx. I thought she did and it was proven when she wasn’t able to repeat the last point I was making. And besides, why would she put me on hold while I am still talking? It’s rude, don’t you think?

  2. The customer service representative’s job is to listen to complaints. Notwithstanding if the customer is shouting, he/she should simply listen because that’s his/her job. If she has to love her job and she does not love it, there is always a door where she can walk away.

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