On the Record

Over the past few months, our cellphone use has been bouncing around, which required changing our plan several times. On one month we had to raise our minutes from 700 to 2000 (we were a thousand miles from home, planning an unexpected funeral at the time).

My CellCo had started to make “mistakes” in their billing process — I use quotes because the “mistakes” were always in their favor. They also started to “forget” promises that they had made to us a month before. When my latest bill arrived, they had forgotten to apply a credit that they had promised a month before  — at the time, they said it was “too late in the billing cycle”. Yeah, right.

Fortunately, I had recorded the call when said promises were made. When I played the relevant part of the call back, the rep got really angry.

  • First he told me that I wasn’t permitted to record the call. I replied that I was; when Verizon said “this call may be monitored or recorded for Customer Service purposes”, it did not say by whom, and I interpreted the statement, quite reasonably, as permission.
  • Then he tried to say that it was illegal to record calls if the person you were calling was unaware. I said that that was not the case — it was legal in most states (including mine), as long as at least one party (me) was aware that it was being recorded. He disagreed. I told him that he was welcome to check with the legal department — or with Google.
  • Finally, he said that CSRs don’t like being recorded and would hang up if they were told that they were. I replied that I would make it a point not to upset them by telling them. I also said that had I not recorded the call, I would not have had a leg to stand on; a point he could not refute.

He applied the “promised” credit, and we parted amicably — at least I would like to think so; I guess I’ll find out next time I call Customer Service.

What do you think? Was I out of order? Was I breaking any law? Was he right to get angry with me?

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