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I'm Not Even The One Who's Supposed To Be Here Today!
March 30, 2011 9:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm a temp on a longish-term assignment (I'm here through the end of May). I'm filling in for someone who gets a lot of calls...and I've just learned that some are from collection agencies. Is there any best way to handle this?

So far, fortunately, the calls aren't harrassing or rude. Just...frequent. I'd say about one every other day. But the callers are always very polite; they ask for the regular person, I say she's not here, and offer to take a message, and they ask to have her call them.

The first couple times they asked for the person I'm replacing, and I explained she wasn't in and took a message, then left it on her home voicemail. But then when the same company called back a few more times, and I took more messages, I Googled the company name and learned it was a collection agency.

My hands are probably tied, to a point -- the most I can do is take a message and pass it on to the person I'm filling in for. And I think they get that. But they're pretty frequent, and it's getting a little annoying. However, I'm afraid to tell them to buzz off because I hate to get HER into a bad spot. I'm also afraid to give out her home number because that would just suck for her. I could also just ignore all my calls (I don't have to cover phones where I am), but I'm afraid that they'd just escalate and try to track her home number down and hassle her that way.

Is there a best way to handle this? What would a collection agency do if I just stopped answering the phone?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total)
 
Can you ask the person you're filling in for what she would prefer you do or if you can give her home number to frequent callers -- or just to this specific frequent caller? You don't have to give away that you know it's a collection agency. You could just tell her the calls are persistent and you're looking for a more effective way to handle them that doesn't disrupt your work (so when she returns everything will be in order, etc.).
posted by hansbrough at 9:14 PM on March 30, 2011


tell them they are calling a business and to please stop. that should slow the calls down. and eventually stop them. it won't make things any worse.
posted by lester at 9:16 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you tell them that she's not expected back until June?
posted by demiurge at 9:20 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


My hands are probably tied, to a point -- the most I can do is take a message and pass it on to the person I'm filling in for.

And that's exactly what you should do. I know it's annoying, but taking a message once every other day is what, 10 minutes a week? You're filling in for the next couple months, it's not like you've taken over the position and they have a completely wrong number. Tell them she's not there and won't be around anytime soon (don't give too many details, not your business...if it were me, I'd say "she's out of the office for the next few months" and leave it at that), but you'd be happy to take a message. Pass the message along and be done with it.
posted by AlisonM at 9:22 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm also afraid to give out her home number because that would just suck for her.

Oh, and this? Yeah, don't do that. They probably already have it and are calling her there too. And if they don't, they have ways of getting it that won't involve you losing your job. Just take and pass along the message, there's nothing more you can (or are morally obligated) to do.

I used to work in AR and am familiar with collections.
posted by AlisonM at 9:25 PM on March 30, 2011


"I'm sorry, X is no longer at this number. No, I cannot forward messages to her. If your call is not about Name of Business, please do not call again."
posted by orthogonality at 9:56 PM on March 30, 2011 [24 favorites]


Orthogonality ABSOLUTELY HAS IT.

Don't get involved. Don't give out numbers or information. Tell them they are calling a business and X is no longer at that number.

Tell them to stop calling you. Ask that the number be put on the Do Not Call List.

I've moved and changed my number a few times. Get collection calls for folks I don't know all the time. This request always stops it, at least from each individual agency.

This is none of your business. Stay out of it.
posted by jbenben at 10:07 PM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm also afraid to give out her home number because that would just suck for her

For your future reference, irrespective of this situation, it is a firm business rule that you never, ever, give out an employee's home phone number to anyone, especially some stranger on the phone.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:12 PM on March 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


I wouldn't even bother passing on the message. Just say that she is no longer at this number and to please take it off their list.
posted by radioamy at 7:46 AM on March 31, 2011


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