29 July 2009

New Low

Or maybe it's not new, just new to me.

So I get a call at home asking for "Rev. Curtis."

"This is he."

"Hello, sir, we're looking to get in contact with a member of your parish."

Maybe a long lost relative? Somebody looking for an old baptismal record? Uh, no. A business matter. Oh, well then, what exactly?

Several prodding questions later and, golly, how truth will out: a bill collector from Chrysler Financial, PO Box 9801921, Louisville, KY 40290 (although I would guess they were actually calling from Chicago judging by the accents of the two guys I talked to, an'dat.).

I spent a very cathartic 10 minutes explaining to the supervisor at this call center that trying to track people down through houses of worship was a bad business practice as from this moment on I would make it a small mission of my life to tell everyone I know about this utterly sleazy move from Chrysler. [NB: Don't get me wrong - people should pay their debts. But tracking down debtors for creditors is not part of the Church's job description - has society fallen so far that this is not evident to everyone? Really?]

So, word to the wise -

* inquire diligently if you get a call from someone asking to "get in touch" with a parishioner.
* rethink posting birthday or anniversary lists on your congregation's website - even in pdf format through posting the bulletin.
* ditto with officers, etc.

By the bye, the name he asked for was not a name I knew - but it all seemed so fishy right off the bat that I wanted to stay on the line and figure this out.

The best part: even as I was berating the supervisor about trying to track down people through my parish he asks, "So do you know Mr. Smith?"

You stay classy, Chrysler: I notice it's really been working out for you lately.


Please feel free to link to and replicate this post, especially if you are visiting from outside the Lutheran blogosphere: seems like something all churches should know about.


Chad Myers said...

Yeah, these people get paid by the find, so they'll rape, mame, and kill to get names. They don't care about your silly 'House of Worship' -- there's money at stake here!

+1 to your "don't post lists of people on your web site"

Sad, but true. The Internet is 99% scumbags and 1% good people.

WM Cwirla said...

Even more frightening when the member in question is a former Muslim and an "old friend" is trying to get in touch.

Fr BFE said...

Creepy, that's the word that comes to mind.

Kurt Onken said...

Yeah, had this happen to me once at the office. Told them they'd have to get the information from someone else.

Anonymous said...

I had this happen several times on my vicarage (none in the parish yet thankfully). But not only did I have calls from businesses and collectors looking for members. I would also get calls from the members, while I was at home, wanting so and so's phone number. I'm not your personal answering service, look it up yourself.