A gay TD Bank customer alleges he was denied access to his account last week after a call centre representative mistook his voice for a woman’s.
Jeff Hare says he was attempting to retrieve some information about his account so he could have money transferred in, when the agent he was speaking to said he sounded like a woman.
Hare took offence and asked to speak to a supervisor. He says he then successfully answered a security question but was still denied access.
“People have mistaken me for a woman on the phone before, so I’m not totally appalled by that,” he says. “But this [call centre agent] didn’t bother to ask me any questions to discern if I was, in fact, Jeffrey Hare.”
“Somebody assumed something based on my voice, and from that point forward I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t say anything, even though I had all the information because it was me,” he continues.
Hare says he is a longtime TD customer and has banked with them for more than a decade without any previous incidents.
“A person’s voice shouldn’t be the deciding factor. They ask security questions for a reason,” he points out.
Hare says the supervisor told him he would have to resolve the matter in person. Frustrated, he went into a branch and got the information he needed. He assumed the problem had been fixed.
When he tried later that day to use phone banking to get his account balance, he was once again told that he’d have to go back to the branch before they could help him.
While waiting to speak to another supervisor, he says, the line was disconnected.
Then he discovered his bank card had been cancelled.
“This woman decided that I was a woman and didn’t ask any questions and cancelled everything on me,” he says. “There was no way for me to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is my voice.’ I am genetically a man and this is what my voice sounds like.”
On his second visit to the branch, Hare says the teller was apologetic and offered to waive his bank fees for that month.
He asked to file a formal complaint against the original call centre employee and was offered two additional months of waived bank fees.
TD spokesperson Suzanna Cohen says the bank is sorry about the “bad service” Hare received and plans to speak to the employees involved.
“We truly are sorry to Mr Hare,” she says. “We provided him with bad service, and we’re very sorry for that. That’s definitely not what we want to do. We’re all about making our customers' experience comfortable.”
“We are going to speak to the employees involved and coach them to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she continues.
“We don’t want this type of situation to happen. People shouldn’t have to call and experience this type of frustration and bad service.”