i dream of making pretty things. i usually fail.
This DIY really doesn’t have a finished product that I could photograph and put up on the blog, but it’s probably one of my most successful projects that I’ve taken on recently.
I talked my way out of a parking ticket. Actually, I got the ticket, I just talked my way into getting it reversed.
Saturday night I drove into the city (I live in the suburbs of Vancouver) and scored what I thought would be cheap parking, only $5 for the evening!
I paid using the ticket machine and glanced at the ticket to see it expired at 6:00, assuming it meant 6:00am (I parked at 5:51pm). Upon returning to my car around 10pm I noticed a ticket on the dash, I was fined $80 since I had paid only until 6:00pm… a whole 9 minutes! On my way out of the lot I noticed night rates were $6.00, so I was basically fined because the machine didn’t allow me to choose to park longer.
Monday morning I called to see what could be done about the fine, I didn’t want to be out $80 that I don’t really have to spend because the meter wouldn’t let me pay the extra $1 at the time.
I’m happy to report Madeline reversed the ticket for me. Having worked in numerous customer service jobs, including a call centre for a credit card company, I wanted to share a little DIY for getting you out of fines, tickets, interest charges, whatever.
1- The most important tip is to be nice. Never ever phone a customer service agent while angry or begin the conversation by accusing them of something or by being angry. This only gets them defensive and will make them not want to help you.
2- Honestly explain what happened. If you’re partly to blame, take blame. But explain the mistake, I told them that I didn’t read the ticket carefully and just assumed my payment covered the whole night. Companies do not expect everyone to read the fine print, they know that they will need to excuse tickets/fines/payments, but they want to know that you know what went wrong and that you’ll avoid the mistake in the future.
3- Don’t demand a refund or for the ticket to be reversed. Explain your story and usually at the end of it they’ll put you on hold by telling you they’ll see what they can do. Here’s where they’re looking at your history and making a decision about your account. If you’re a first time offender or haven’t received any special privileges from them in the past, they’ll most likely help you out. Don’t demand, whenever someone demanded something of me I tried my hardest to avoid giving them what they wanted, partially because I’m annoying but mostly because it’s rude to assume you can get anything you want, especially if it’s a legitimate charge. Only if they seem like they’re not about to do it, kindly ask “is there anything that can be done since this is my first ticket?”
4- Be appreciative. If they tell you they’ll put you on hold and see what can be done, say thank you. Once they’ve decided they’re going to do it, they’re going to explain why they’re doing it. The explanation will include tips to avoid the ticket/charge/interest next time, listen patiently and don’t interrupt. They want you to know this to avoid charges in the future, not only because you maybe didn’t know you could pay for parking via a iPhone app, but also because they’re not going to reverse your charge when you get a ticket next month. Once they tell you everything you need to know say thank you and confirm that you can toss the ticket, avoid the payment, etc.
5- Be kind. The whole time, I cannot stress this enough, be kind. So many people will start a call nicely and quickly turn to name calling and mean tones when I tried to explain why they were being charged fees or what could be done about them. You may not get exactly what you want, they may only reverse half your fee’s or you may need to make a payment before they can reverse your interest, but if you stop being nice when you don’t get exactly what you want, you’ve lost the kindness of your agent and they can change their minds.
6- Remember their name, ask how they are. I cannot tell you how I appreciated people asking me how I was doing and remembering my name. Just drop their name in the conversation, it shows you were listening. Thank them by name when you’re hanging up. If you have to, write it down so you don’t forget.
Anyone have any tips for talking your way out of fees or tickets? Check out this article at Cracked, they have more tips and hilarious insight about working in a call centre.