A stupid and pointless story from the office where I work

Setting: An insurance company.

Job: Pushing papers, mostly via electronics.

A customer buys an insurance policy, signs up for monthly payments to be drawn from his bank account, but he doesn't fill out the form with his banking info, just writes, "Call me."

We've been calling him for a month, 1-2 times weekly, and he never answers. Then he complains to the agent (salesman) that he hasn't received his policy in the mail, and his agent complains to us. Well, I know it's nuts but, we won't mail a policy until you pay for it, and he hasn't paid a dime.

Agent calls the customer, and customer actually answers the phone. Says he always screens his calls and didn't want to talk to an insurance company. Which, OK. Says he doesn't want to write down his banking info, because it could be stolen or misused. Well, OK. Says he'll call us and read the needed numbers over the phone, but two weeks go by, he hasn't called, and still doesn't answer our calls.

We call the agent, who calls the customer again, who says he "will not give his bank info to a damned insurance company" but agrees to give the bank info to the agent. But he doesn't want to do it over the phone, because "someone might be listening."

A week and several phone calls later he comes to the agent's office and brings his first payment in cash, so the agent writes a check to the insurance company.

For future monthly payments, the customer finally provides his banking info, sort of. We always ask for a voided check, because bank routing and account numbers are complicated and easy to get wrong, but the customer refuses to do so because "it might get stolen". He grudgingly reads his bank info to the agent, who writes it down and faxes it to us. We input the info, ring it up, and of course the info is wrong and payment bounces.

We've now made, according to our work logs, 19 phone calls and sent two letters, to get this guy's $148 first payment on his policy. I show the work logs to the boss, and we agree that (1) this customer has already cost the company more than his first premium payment, and (2) he will probably be a pain in the ass about every monthly payment.

I'm therefore granted extra-special permission to — ta-da — send a letter to the customer, refund his $148, and inform him that we've declined to issue his policy.

It was cathartic writing the letter, but the letter was only two sentences and I wanted to say more, so there you go. I promised you a stupid and pointless story, and you'll probably agree that I've delivered. 



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