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  1. backspinner says:

    Many corporations certainly do employ people with terrible manners and social skills. Thanks for the new example.

  2. joeblevins says:

    Now we wait for the response from Capital One. I hope it is fun..

  3. jblake1 says:

    I’ve had nothing but excellent customer service from Capital One. Sorry to see someone provide such poor service.

  4. acambras says:

    Wow — someone was really having a pissy day. And she seems to think she’s totally justified in going off on a customer like that. Very unprofessional.

  5. faust1200 says:

    I would like to have heard the conversation before Miss Brown from Brooklyn ‘went off.’

  6. ancientsociety says:

    *Devil’s Advocate Hat On*

    While what the CSR said was certainly confrontational and a bit unprofessional, we’re not hearing the whole conversation. It sounds to me like Steve’s wife probably provoked the CSR to respond this way.

    The CSR wasn’t really “abusive” – she never swore, she never personally attacked the caller – it sounded like she was defending herself after dealing with an angry customer. Not only that, it seems like the CSR WAS attempting to help her becasuse the person she tried xfering the caller to was not in the office. The CSR’s “tirade” was only about 10 seconds long and, at the end, she xfered the call to someone else.

    Sorry, but we don’t know the whole story and I kind of doubt Steve’s wife is totally innocent in all this.

    *Devil’s Advocate Hat Off*

  7. Keeko_ca says:

    Yeah I agree. Needless to say, there was something said to lead her to this ranting.

    I dunno, I love big corporations getting ugly stains in their reportoir, but sometimes the customers themselves are the ones that can be the unreasonable &*$%heads.

  8. iMike says:

    @faust1200: No kidding. Something tells me that the customer got pissy to trigger such a response. And then sista called her out.

    I didn’t necessarily agree with the content of the rep’s statements, but [the rep] seemed reasonably calm.

  9. Capital One doesn’t need poorly trained CSR’s to loose customers, company policies and general business practices takes care of that.

  10. cgmaetc says:

    @ancientsociety: She wasn’t yelling or cussing, just terse. The thick NYC accent, deeper voice, and poor grammar doesn’t help her sound charming in the first place. Maybe Steve’s wife isn’t used to hearing people who talk like that. Or her perceptions amplified what she was hearing.

  11. bbbici says:

    The CSR seemed pretty calm to me, and it’s true, her voice was the same througout. She did not yell, insult, provoke, or use even mild profanity. She seemed very logical and articulate.

    I can only imagine the bitchy, whiny tone of the complaining wife. This article is totally one-sided and not worthy of Consumerist attention.

  12. DallasGooner says:

    This reminds me about a call I had with First USA. They guy was being a jerk to me and I asked why. He then said that I was the jerk. I asked to be transferred to a supervisor but he said that was not possible. I called back and talked to a supervisor. She said he did not call me a jerk because if he did was supposed to put that in his notes. What an idiot, no one is going to put in the call notes they are breaking the rules.

  13. acambras says:

    Even if the CSR was provoked, her tirade (which seemed to last more than 10 seconds to me) seemed a little over-the-top and unwarranted. The CSR didn’t raise her voice, but she became pretty hostile. And what was all that stuff about “Brown from Brooklyn” ? (Whenever I’ve called Capital One, I’ve gotten “Brown from Bangalore.”)

    The professional thing for this CSR would have been to put the caller on hold, take a breath, and then either handle the call (sans tirade) or transfer the call to someone who could handle it.

  14. rbb says:

    What’s in your wallet?

    Certainly not capital one…

  15. nakmario says:

    people take out their problems at the CSRs as though CSRs control policy of something. I wont buy this until i hear the other side of the conversation. From what the CSR said i can imagine the wife saying “i dont like the attitude youre giving me, the attitude in your voice”

    This would piss me off if I was the CSR going out of my way to help someone.

    Yeah, im being the devil’s advocate here, it simply does not sound that bad.

  16. IC18 says:

    Who stole my wallet?

    Certainly capital one…

  17. Wait, isn’t 1 to the nth power still just 1?

    Without hearing the beginning of the conversation it’s hard to blast the CSR. They probably should have kept it at, “I’m not being short with you” but we have no idea what led up to this.

  18. ancientsociety says:

    Regardless of whether the CSR acting correctly or not:

    NO “verbal abuse” took place here.

  19. Milesthecat says:

    She is saying “I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY” in her non-sweet, God blessed voice. My guess is Steve’s wife is not used to be talked back to by “the help”. I also think it is one sided and would like to hear what happened prior to the start of the recording.

  20. bambino says:

    Moments like these make me thank god I don’t live in the northeast. I get my fill of the ‘bricktown badasses’ when I visit.

  21. xskeptictankx says:

    I’m not surprised – all of this from the same company where 5 customer service representatives, on at least 3 separate occasions, told me that I COULDN’T cancel my Visa and that keeping my Capitol One credit card active (even if I didn’t use it!) would be GOOD for my credit and then hung up on me. I would have tallied up all of the hours I spent pleading with them to cancel my card, which had expired and a replacement was never sent in its place, because seeing it on paper would undoubtedly make me lose my mind. About 2 months after I thought the fiasco had ended, my replacement card with a current expiration date showed up in the mail.

    Almost a year later, I still can’t get off of their e-mailing list.

    I’ve never dealt with so much frustration over a credit card in my life.

  22. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    Spelling anyone? Yeesh.

  23. Wormfather says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen/heard/experienced better CSR lid blowing. This feels like the CSR was baited.

  24. tadowguy says:

    Sounds like a confirmed cased of BWA.

  25. acambras says:


    Hey, some of us are very nice, dammit!

  26. jodles says:

    it doesn’t matter if the rep was baited or not–it’s part of her job to handle customers the right way. she was rude, period.

  27. othium says:

    It didn’t sound like an appropriate exchange on the CSR’s part to me. Might have been baited into it, but I have no way of knowing.

    I do have an issue of having “God” brought up into any business conversation, no matter how small the reference. Save the speech for church.

    “God blessed me with this voice..” Blah, blah..

    God also blessed this person with their dismal CSR McJob too. I didn’t hear that being praised.. How odd.

  28. vincedotcom says:

    Is a brown an african american? Did I just learn some Brooklyn slang?

  29. Hoss says:

    Certainly sounds to me like the CSR is an extremely offended person — who knows what provoked this, she’s certainly conveying that she’s trying to help and didn’t appreciate comments about her manner of speech. Of course she’ll now get fired once Capital One gets the Google alert about a name mention.

  30. Shelly27 says:

    @Naughty Consumer:


  31. Hawkeye1659 says:

    The CSR was rude and unprofessional but I didn’t hear any “racial comments”. It’s not racist for the CSR to call HERSELF brown. It would be different if the CSR had made comments about the customer being white but that didn’t happen. Also there is no context of what happened before the CSR got all angry.

  32. Judes says:

    That’s rude?!? Steve and his wife should visit Brooklyn for a weekend. That’s not rude. Sounds like she was sticking up for herself after some snippy, dame gave her attitude.

  33. jaypee68 says:

    I’d like to hear a recording of what the CUSTOMER had said to the CSR to make her so upset. I have a feeling that the whole story is being presented here.

  34. Scuba Steve says:

    There are ways that a CSR should handle a customer being irate and there are ways a CSR should handle a communications problem…

    I don’t believe the customer was abused but rather the CSR wasn’t being very helpful at all.

    I don’t think this offense alone should be worth losing a job, but rather maybe a meeting with the person to explain the different ways to handle customers and ways not to handle customers.

  35. dantsea says:

    Capitol One sucks. So does posting edited/partial recordings where the customer service representative was obviously baited to elicit a negative response.

  36. royal72 says:

    can i have back the two and a half minutes of my life i just lost please? obviously we don’t hear the rest of the conversation, but that wasn’t at all as described… i’d like to read more about a resolution to their problems with cap one.

  37. CSR says:

    Yeah, I agree with the majority of the posters on this one. It sounds like *something* pushed the rep over the edge and it would be very educational if we could have heard the entire conversation.

    I’ve listened to this several times to try and figure out what the parts were that weren’t transcribed. I couldn’t make it all out, but the first bit sounds like she’s saying basically that she was doing something to help the customer that she didn’t have to do. The second part sounded like she said she had her own cases that she needed to work on to help others. Did anyone else make it out more clearly than that?

    From what we were given, it seems to me (just my opinion, of course) that the rep was going out of her way to help the customer and she felt that she wasn’t being appriciated. Plus it’s clear the customer said *something* about her voice that offended the rep. I’m not saying that the customer said something over the top–I simply don’t know since we didn’t hear that part. I’m saying that it seems the rep interpreted it that way.

    And I’m not saying the rep should have said what she did–simply explaining that her voice is like that all the time and she didn’t mean any disrespect would have been enough–saying it as pleasantly as she could, of course. I’m just pointing out that it appears there is more to this story.

    As to the start of the video, where we are told Steve’s wife was abused and there were racial comments….I don’t see what took place as abuse, but maybe Steve’s wife is thin-skinned enough to where she honestly does feel that way. But unless I missed something–and I admittedly didn’t understand part of what was said in the recording–the only racial remark the rep made was about herself, saying she was a brown from New York. Having the begining of the video state there were racial comments gets the viewer thinking that the rep was using racial epithets at Steve’s wife. So Steve, if you are reading, I suggest snipping that part out. Having it worded that way ends up damaging your credibility.

  38. altoidboy says:

    Another devil’s advocate here. I hate poor customer service as much as the next guy, but I’ve seen plenty of these “exposes” and I do sometimes wonder if they are faked. Just as counterintelligence is sometimes more valuable than intelligence, propaganda can be well designed by people who want Capital One to look bad and can be made to look like the real thing.

    I don’t know that that’s what Steve is doing, but there’s certainly enough in this case that’s not provable, so I take it with a grain of salt.

    I have no feelings, positive or negative, towards Capital One, except for their obnoxious commercials. What’s in my wallet? Not Capital One.

  39. Buran says:

    @ancientsociety: That doesn’t matter. You never, ever, EVER go off like that on a customer. CSRs are trained to be polite. My ex-husband has done work like that for years and he has let me know this when I’ve asked a few times.

    This woman should be reassigned to a job where she doesn’t have to interact with customers, or should be fired. She crossed the line.

    Because of what she did, she personally lost her employer a customer.

    As someone who is hearing-impaired, I personally think that anyone who complains when asked to speak up or try to be a little more clear or whatever should just freaking do it. Chances are there’s a good reason you’re being asked to.

  40. Buran says:

    @xskeptictankx: It is true that keeping a card active even if you don’t use it does boost your credit score because available, unused credit is a good thing to the score algorithms; so are long-standing, long-term credit accounts.

    However, you’re the one who gets to dictate whether or not the account is closed. Demand that they close it, in writing, and cut up the card.

  41. Crazytree says:

    I refuse to pass judgment on a snippet of a telephone conversation played out of context.

  42. Milesthecat says:

    She is not saying she is brown.

    If you listen she is saying “I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY, OKAY.”

  43. kenposan says:

    The CSR went on a rant. Not professional but not abusive either. And not having heard the first part of the conversation makes it hard to judge the situation.

  44. Erskine says:


    “She is not saying she is brown.

    If you listen she is saying ‘I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY, OKAY.'”

    No wonder she had a hard time being understood – Brownsville is where The Three Stooges are from.

  45. Uriel says:

    I believe she called herself “a brown from New York”. I’d call that racial. And yeah, that’s being pretty nasty.

  46. Uriel says:

    Correction, “Some brown from Brooklyn New York”.

  47. Milesthecat says:

    Nope. It is ‘I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY, OKAY.’

    Perhaps it is cause I am in Brooklyn, that I can understand the words through the God blessed attitude. I think she did just what Jesus would do. Hang up.

  48. dmc says:

    It is crystal clear to me that she is saying “I’m from Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY” — sounds like Steve is the racist here.

    I refuse to believe this couple’s story without hearing the first part of the conversation.

  49. TPIRman says:

    Yeah, it’s definitely Brownsville, etc. The tipoff is the fact that no human being has ever uttered the phrase “I’m some brown from Brooklyn, New York” in the history of mankind.

    I’ve got to agree with the bulk of commenters who lament the enormous missing piece here. I understand that they weren’t set up to record the call prior to this outburst, but at least tell us what really went down beforehand. Consumerist readers are not going to be duped by the type of story that goes, “I was innocently seeking help and SUDDENLY THIS HAPPENED!”

  50. I’d hate to agree with the previous posters, but I must admit I’m rather disappointed that consumerist decided to post this. First the transcription provided by Steve is off. As other readers have pointed out, she is saying “Brownsville, Brooklyn.” NOT “some brown from Brooklyn”.
    Furthermore, while it might have sounded like a “tirade”, we have NO PREVIOUS REFERENCE to what the wife said or didn’t say to get this CSR to make these comments. For all we know Steve’s wife could have made any number of statements. We get one faulty side of this whole ordeal.
    No sympathy.
    If you want to trash a company, at least provide context. You caught 15 seconds of someone probably standing up for themselves and now you’ve got your pants all pissy about it.

  51. Televiper says:

    To me it seems like a universal truth that when someone appears frustrated with you, you don’t calmly point it out to them. Even your best buddy will take it the wrong way. It’s just very condescending.

  52. smarty says:

    Agree with majority of posters. What makes it worse is Consumerist editors always siding with the complainers who offer little if any proof of their accusations (like where is the racism?).

    As for those who say CSRs shouldn’t be rude, that’s true, but at what point? In case anyone forgot, including the editors who obviously have forgotten, CSRs are humans first, CSRs second or someplace after that. If Consumerists editors and some posters can learn how to treat CSRs are humans first, maybe many of these situations wouldn’t happen.

    Lastly, why didn’t Ben P. and “Steve” reveal what was said by the wife to cause the CSR to defend herself? What was it about the way she talks that offended the wife? Seems like Ben P, Steve, and wife need a little “Diversity” training. Why aren’t we getting the complete story?

  53. 160medic says:

    I think she sounds hot ha ha

  54. SexyRandal says:

    As has been stated before, I think we do need to hear the rest of the conversation to get some context here. I do get the impression that something provoked her, though it may not have been entirely intentional.

    Either way though, it was a bit unprofessional on the agent’s part. If the customer did make a comment about the agent’s attitude, the agent could have handled it much better (“my apologies, I’ve had a long I apologize for my tone blah blah, let’s just get this fixed”). The long winded rant was a bit much.

  55. @Erskine: Sigh… half my mothers side is from New York so I understood it as well. Shame, stopped just short of being Comcastically insulting.

  56. bnissan97 says:

    I have done customer service phone work most of my life. I feel that we were not given all the facts and like an earlier post from CSR, I agree that the rep most likely went out of her way as the rep said she could have transferred Steve’s wife to voice mail and instead choose to try to assist.

    I do understand the previous frustration of getting the credit and statements. Perhaps Steve and his wife should have used the lessons here on how to drop a corporate email bomb or try to go through the CEO’s office to get someone that could sort things out pronto.

    The rep NOT transferring Steve’s wife and trying to assist I feel should be commended and it is people like Steve and his wife that will make it even harder for reps to assist the masses as with this post it shows that in my opinion, this rep got stabbed in the back for trying to assist versus pass the buck.

  57. TDJ says:

    “To me it seems like a universal truth that when someone appears frustrated with you, you don’t calmly point it out to them. Even your best buddy will take it the wrong way. It’s just very condescending.”

    I have two takes here.

    First, Televiper is absolutely correct. I never give people attitude that I am trying to use for my benefit. I can’t extract the help or information from them that I so desperately need if I decide to come correct on them by letting them know that I sense there attitude with me and it’s not appreciated. I never give my waiters in restaurants shit and I never give a CSR shit on the phone when I need them to go to bat for me. Or in the case of the waiters, I need for them to not give my food any extra add ons that I did not request. After I am done with their service or lack of service, then I will speak to a manager or supervisor if I still deem it necessary. In my home, I am the one with the temper but my wife is ALWAYS the one who loses it on the phone in situations like this because she treats it as though it is a normal face to face but it’s not. The CSR’s have the customers by the short hairs and they know it.

    Second and lastly, the “Brown from Brooklynn” is ill suited for this type of work and her dumbass should be fired immediately. As long as the customer is not insulting, a CSR should be angelic. If all Steve’s wife said was something to the affect of (I sense you are being short with me and I don’t appreciate it), then the CSR should have remained calm. This should not have rattled her in the least. Worst case senario is that Steve’s wife said something like (I don’t appreciate the attitude lady besides you’re here to help me not get short with me). In that case, the CSR should have kicked her up to a supervisor. Instead, she goes off about God making her and where she’s from. No matter how you look at it, the CSR twisted the confrontational remark by Steve’s wife into something else altogether. Besides, no one should be able to sense from a CSR that they are running out of patience. This entire adventure started when the CSR showed very little restraint by letting the customer know that she was becoming impatient with her.

  58. Orchid64 says:

    I’ve been working in Japan doing work via the phone for about 12 years now and the first thing you learn is that you are being paid to provide a service to the person you are speaking with and you must be helpful, polite, and calm at all costs. It doesn’t matter what the other person says or how they “provoke” you. They’re not the ones getting paid to assist and speak, you are.

    In the U.S., where people have a highly-developed sense of individual rights and also take offense easily and react strongly, you find that manners on the whole are poor and that people put the work they do second to their own egos.

    It doesn’t matter what the customer said. The CSR is paid to handle the situation professionally. If she isn’t up to the task, then she should find another line of work.

  59. SexCpotatoes says:

    I’m a vanilla from NE Ohio…

  60. NaomiS says:

    I have worked as a CSR for over 7 years, in that time I have facilitated many customer service courses for other CSR’s. While this CSR certainly didn’t diffuse the customer, I have had to deal with too many customers, to be naive enough to think the customer didn’t play a large part in creating this situation. If the customer and her husband want to be upset at the way they were treated, I would suggest they start with the way their online statements and records were promptly removed. By focusing attention on one side of a conversation with a CSR, they lose all of their credibility.

    IF there was any customer abuse on the part of the CSR, Capital One would have reviewed the call (most call centers do monitor all calls, and have them available for requested playback), and there would have been a call made to apologize to the customer.

    It sickens me to see someone use the vast availability of the internet to record an unknowing person and twist stories to their own benefit to attempt to get their way.

  61. synergy says:

    Well. It would’ve been nice to hear, but it’s been yanked from YouTube.

  62. loraksus says:

    Nice… Youtube yanked it.

  63. rbodell says:

    Even if the customer had been rude or otherwise to the CSR, it wouldn’t have gotten that far if they had taken care of the customer in the first place.

    NOW, here is my story.

    First a few facts. when you cancel a cap1 card you can reinstate it again for something like 60 to 90 days after cancellation. When I signed with cap! for credit protection which is a small charge when there is an active balance. I also signed up for credit reporting which I never got any credit reports as long as I had the card but was billed for. Credit card companies do not cancel cards with a balance so they can continue to charge intrest.

    Now check this out …

    About a year after canceling the card I started getting phone calls from a collection agency about a 125 dollar bill from cap 1. They never gave the name of their company or gave me any chance to contest the charge only pay the bill. I had never gotten a bill from cap 1 for anything since I canceled the card.

    I called capitol one and although I had signed up for these with cap 1 I had to turn them off from a different company and I wasn’t told about that. I called the companies and one withdrew all charges and the other withdrew the recent month and I had to go to cap 1 about the previous months. Cap 1 would do nothing even though the card was canceled at the time.

    Now you want to talk about irate customers? I was Irate about this and believe me, when a bill collector calls about fraudulent charges and I have no way to contest them, I get irate. When their callers (who never hang up on you) who actually hung up on me and refused to call me back a second time, I finally got a call from the collection companies corporate offices. They listened.

    They called capitol one and got the date of cancellation of the card and the dates of the charges which were for credit reporting and credit protection on the existing credit reporting charges. They determined the charges were fraudulent and the fraud was perpetrated by CAPITOL ONE and that it was intentional., not a computer glitch. They actually had to call corporate and threaten to report it to the feds to get them to cancel the charges.

  64. TFM says:

    What some of you are forgetting, is that even IF the lady provked the representative, she still shoudl have been profession ad not said a word. professionalism is an important part of American life. I think there are some highschoolers that are more professional that this woman.

  65. Notrep says:

    I am a diabetic. My diabetic supply company(Minimed) and the firm that finances their equipment (Monterey) are supposed to be two different corporations.I owe Monterey mone, and they told me that if I don’t bring my account current byDecember 1st. They will have Minimed stop shipping to me. Telling a Diabetic he will not receive suplies is the same as saying “If you don’t pay, we will kill you.”Today, I sent a certified letter to the CEO of Minimed, Chris O’Deonnell, one to thePresident of Monterey, Robert Steinke and a third letter to the Stt’y General of Florida, Bill McCollum. Collection agencies are getting too stupid with their threats.