“Our System Isn’t Set Up for Death”

It’s Friday. We all need a little chuckle.

This little transcript has been making it around the blogosphere and e-mail lists. I can’t vouch for its authenticity. It may be the stuff of Urban Legend but I can testify that it’s a "dead ringer" (pun absolutely intended) from real conversations I’ve heard in the countless calls I’ve analyzed over the past 14 years.

A young man calls Citibank because they keep sending bills and finance charges to his dead relative:

Family Member: "I am calling to tell you she died in January."

Citibank: "The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply."

Family Member: "Maybe, you should turn it over to collections."

Citibank: "Since it is two months past due, it already has been."

Family Member: "So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?"

Citibank: "Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau , maybe both!"

Family Member: "Do you think God will be mad at her?"

Citibank: "Excuse me?"

Family Member: "Did you just get what I was telling you – the part about her being dead?"

Citibank: "Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor." (Duh!)

Family Member : "I’m calling to tell you, she died in January."

Citibank: "The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply." (This must be a phrase taught by the bank!)

Family Member: "You mean you want to collect from her estate?"

Citibank: (Stammer) "Are you her lawyer?"

Family Member: "No, I’m her great nephew." (Lawyer info given)

Citibank: "Could you fax us a certificate of death?"

Family Member: "Sure." (Fax number is given)

Citibank: "Our system just isn’t setup for death. I don’t know what more I can do to help."

Family Member: "Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. I don’t think she will care."

Citibank: "Well, the late fees and charges do still apply." (What is wrong with these people?!?)

Family Member: "Would you like her new billing address?"

Citibank: "That might help."

Family Member: "Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69."

Citibank: "Sir, that’s a cemetery!"

Family Member: "What do you do with dead people on your planet?"

  13 comments for ““Our System Isn’t Set Up for Death”

  1. June 29, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Good stuff…not sure it is real either…but checked the story on Snopes.com and they also did not know…but guessed it might be. MPL

  2. June 29, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Call Center Quick Tip: Have Fun!

    How are you having fun in the call center?

  3. June 30, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Are They Brain Dead on Your Planet?

    In Our System Isnt Set Up for Death Tom Vander Well reminder us that its Friday and time to chuckle.In Toms words This little transcript has been making it around the blogosphere and e-mail lists.&rd…

  4. July 1, 2007 at 7:59 am

    Sunday Morning Goodness – 1 July 2007

    Just poking around my feed reader this morning and there is so much great stuff out there you oughtta see. For example,
    First off, Simplerich is on vacation right now. But before he left he celebrated 2 Years Smober/Smoke Free. And he shares some of …

  5. July 1, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks Tom. Who cares its it’s real or not. We all know it’s typical!
    That’s a great way to keep your customers…. you just never let them out of your clutches, even after they’re dead.
    (Sorry for commenting twice…. the first one was a slip of the finger. Please delete it.)

  6. July 1, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    No worries, Eliezer. If I had a dime for every time my finger hit the wrong key…
    I just wonder how that would be when a company asked our group to survey their customers. I don’t think our phone lines reach that far 🙂

  7. July 1, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    You’d have to have little hole in each coffin for the telephone lines to go through.
    But I reckon cremations would of grave concern to any serious customer retention strategy like Citibank’s. 🙂

  8. July 5, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Hilarious, Tom! =)) And it’s most likely true… too bad!

  9. July 6, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Isn’t it sad that we all find this so darn easy to believe?

  10. July 7, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    Oh, this is beautiful! Real or not, it doesn’t matter.
    I have to share this with my call center.

  11. July 8, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Share away! Glad to provide you with a chuckle 🙂

  12. July 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    I’m going to… on Friday. This week has been pretty bad: our service levels have been close to abysmal. I’ve even been on the phone, and I don’t normally take calls. So I figure by Friday, these guys are going to need a laugh.

  13. July 25, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Tom, what an unbelievable yet hysterical story. Thank you for sharing.

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