Author Topic: When people say "I left a message"  (Read 3017 times)

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jpcher

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When people say "I left a message"
« on: June 20, 2013, 04:30:51 PM »
What is the best way to respond when you, in fact, know that no message was left?

I give my home land-line number out as my best POC. I don't have time at work to deal with personal issues, so I don't give out my work number. Normally this isn't a problem. People leave a message either on my answering machine or on my land-line voice mail.

Due to a recent accident, there were several people that I needed to talk to. I called them, left them a message with my home number and never received a call back.

I finally was able to get a hold of them today. Two people said "I left you a message" and now there is a bit of a kerfuffle due to the fact that I didn't return their calls in a timely manner.


I checked, double checked both my answering machine and my voice mail. There were no messages left by either of the two. There were plenty of other messages left, so I know my message system is working.

And, no. There is no way that anybody else erased the messages.


What is the polite way to respond to people when they claim "I left a message" when you did not receive the message?



TootsNYC

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 04:36:07 PM »
"Are you sure you dialed the right number? I received absolutely no message. I assure you that I didn't blow you off. But it really doesn't matter--what is the next thing we can do?"

And you, yourself, don't dwell on the "why didn't you call me?" blame game.

WillyNilly

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2013, 04:52:43 PM »
Well you don't know they didn't leave a message. You only know you didn't get a message. Those are not exactly the same thing. They might have dialed the wrong number. Or in the case of VM - occasionally messages get lost into the depths of digital technology. Or maybe they didn't wait for the beep and 'left a message' and hung up before it started recording, or after it had stopped.

I think the best thing is to say "oh? Huh, I never got the message..." and you move forward.

PastryGoddess

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2013, 04:54:56 PM »
I agree, you move on. If you are on the phone with them at that time, there is nothing to be gained by bringing it up or forcing them to acknowledge that you are right.

its very much as he said/she said situation at that time

cwm

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2013, 04:59:09 PM »
Well you don't know they didn't leave a message. You only know you didn't get a message. Those are not exactly the same thing. They might have dialed the wrong number. Or in the case of VM - occasionally messages get lost into the depths of digital technology. Or maybe they didn't wait for the beep and 'left a message' and hung up before it started recording, or after it had stopped.

I think the best thing is to say "oh? Huh, I never got the message..." and you move forward.

This. For a while my cell phone would randomly give me voicemails from up to five months beforehand, ones that I had never received! None of them were important, thankfully, but it was really weird.

I know our phone system at home had intermittent problems where we'd miss a call and see it on the caller ID (back when we still had a landline and caller ID), but never get a voicemail. The person who called swore up and down they'd left a voicemail, but we never got it. It has been known to happen on digital devices, though never when we had an actual physical tape recording, oddly enough.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2013, 05:07:57 PM »
"A message, what number did you call?"
"Two, four, niner, six, five, seven..."
"I can't hear you, you're trailing off and did I catch a 'niner' in there? Were you calling from a walkie talkie?"
"No, it was cordless."

Sorry, had to get that out of my system. :)   But while leaving out the sarcasm so well known to David Spade, I don't think asking them what number they called would be too bad of an idea, in case they did actually dial the wrong number. 

Sometimes I do get voicemails without seeing the # in my call log because...well any number of reasons really.  Phone's off, was texting with another person when the call came in, in an area with no service.  But usually if I don't have a voicemail, no one left one.

Our house phone though, that was a mess and a half, which is why we gave it up and only use our cell phones now.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

sweetonsno

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2013, 05:21:59 PM »
I'd assume that they did leave a message (or honestly believe that they did). Instead of approaching it as though they are deliberately lying, simply approach it as a technological difficulty of some sort.

"I left you a message, why didn't you call back?"
"I'm so sorry, but I didn't ever get your message."

I like the idea of confirming that they dialed the correct number.

CaffeineKatie

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2013, 05:29:22 PM »
Our phone number is one digit different from the local cinema, and evidently very similar to that of an elderly woman with lots of sickly friends.  Plus, our answering machine has a long gap between message and BEEEEEP.  We get a load of strange messages and a lot of hangups from people who thought they left a message but were talking during the waiting for the beep gap.  All this is only to say, sometimes people do THINK they left a message when their efforts are really floating off into space.  I'd just blame the phone and get on with it.

VorFemme

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 05:57:28 PM »
At a previous job (insurance adjuster) I got screamed at over the phone by a lawyer representing an injured person that they had faxed the paperwork to me three times - the last time, they dialed it themselves from their notes, so I was LYING if I said that I hadn't gotten it yet.

I asked him to read the number back...his handwriting must have been terrible because the area code had two errors in three numbers....I recognized the area code that he had inadvertently called as being about 800 miles WEST of where I was (somewhere in Texas) because it was the area code for San Angelo (since changed) and my in-laws (MIL, FIL, and Sister-in-law with her DDs) were living there - in the past, six or seven families (us, ILS, my parents, both brothers - one single & at home, the other married, and both of VorGuy's siblings) had been there.  I *knew* that area code well.

His "oh" was rather stunned but I got the impression that I should have made sure that he could read his own writing....somehow....over the phone.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 02:42:15 PM by VorFemme »
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Secret

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2013, 10:12:28 AM »
"A message, what number did you call?"
"Two, four, niner, six, five, seven..."
"I can't hear you, you're trailing off and did I catch a 'niner' in there? Were you calling from a walkie talkie?"
"No, it was cordless."

Soo off topic, but that totally made me smile.   And to continue off topic, I ran into Tommy Boy's dad in the grocery store last week.  That made my day. (but I was too shy to say anything)

bloo

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2013, 10:27:30 AM »
I've left voicemails that friends or family have said they did not receive. I'd be furious if they doubted me as I would not lie about that. I assumed (and hope they did to) that the voicemails were 'lost' somehow.

On the other hand, I always assume that someone is not lying when they tell me they left me a message - that doesn't exist on my machine or voice mail - unless I've seen them make a habit of claiming to have left messages that I or others don't receive.

And I can think of two people I know who do that right now. So if I really had to get a hold of them, I'd leave a short message (that I know they won't listen to but their phone will indicate that I have a message for them) and I call them over and over. That lets them know I really need to get a hold of them.

And, no, we aren't close. Why do you ask?

At any rate, even with outright liars, I still don't accuse them of lying about not getting or leaving messages; I just work around them. I have sympathy as I hate retrieving messages (although I LOVE leaving them..."yay I don't have to talk on the phone!").

In other words if you have a relationship with these people that necessitates regular phone contact, your voicemails will have to indicate something along the lines of: "...and I really, really, really need you to leave a message if you don't get ahold of me. Or text me your response."


Piratelvr1121

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2013, 11:14:13 AM »
"A message, what number did you call?"
"Two, four, niner, six, five, seven..."
"I can't hear you, you're trailing off and did I catch a 'niner' in there? Were you calling from a walkie talkie?"
"No, it was cordless."

Soo off topic, but that totally made me smile.   And to continue off topic, I ran into Tommy Boy's dad in the grocery store last week.  That made my day. (but I was too shy to say anything)

That's still one of my favorite movies.  :) So cool that you saw Tommy Boy's dad! :)
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

jpcher

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2013, 05:58:02 PM »
"Are you sure you dialed the right number?"

You know, that's an excellent point. I've received messages on my machine that clearly weren't meant for me. I've even called them back (if they left a number and it sounded important) and told them that they left a message at a wrong number.

No. I'm do not want to play the blame game.

In fact I bleeped over an "I never received a message" and went directly to "Since I didn't call you back by Xdate, is there something that we can do to solve this."

Everything turned out okay, I just had to jump through a few extra hoops. No biggie.


I was just wondering if there was a polite way to mention the lack of message without sounding like an "Uh, yeah, the check's in the mail" type of excuse.

From your responses, I'm guessing the answer is "No" and I handled the situation correctly.

Thanks! ;D




Feel free to add your funny "missed messages" stories! ;D


At a previous job (insurance adjuster) I got screamed at over the phone by a lawyer representing an injured person that they had faxed the paperwork to me three times - the last time, they dialed it themselves from their notes, so I was LYING if I said that I hadn't gotten it yet.

I asked him to read the number back...his handwriting must have been terrible because the area code had two errors in three numbers....I recognized the area code that he had inadvertently called as being about 800 miles WEST of where I was (somewhere in Texas) because it was the area code for San Angelo (since changed) and my in-laws (MIL, FIL, and Sister-in-law with her DDs) were living there - in the past, six or seven families (us, ILS, my parents, both brothers - one single & at home, the other married, and both of VorGuy's siblings) had been there.  I *knew* that area code well.

His "oh" was rather stunned but I got the impression that I should have made sure that he could read his own writing....somehow....over the phone.





A CW of mine had to fax something to Big Company (BC) that he was having problems with. He faxed the papers, then waited a few days and was upset that he hadn't received a response from them. He called them back and they said they never received the fax.

He verified the number and sent the fax again . . . by the 3rd time CW was pretty livid.

It just so happened that I needed to send a fax one day, so I waited while CW ranted about his problem as he was trying to send yet another fax. He asked me to check the number. He pushed the buttons and asked "That's the right number, Right?" Yup. Right number. "Then I put my papers in here and push this button, Right?"

As he pushed the buttons and the papers started going through I said "CW? Your papers are upside down. They need to be face up. You've been sending BC blank faxes."



So, yeah, I do understand how dialing wrong or leaving a message before the beep or not having your fax oriented correctly can come into play.

I'm glad I didn't press the issue.

VorFemme

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2013, 06:14:03 PM »
"Are you sure you dialed the right number?"

You know, that's an excellent point. I've received messages on my machine that clearly weren't meant for me. I've even called them back (if they left a number and it sounded important) and told them that they left a message at a wrong number.

No. I'm do not want to play the blame game.

In fact I bleeped over an "I never received a message" and went directly to "Since I didn't call you back by Xdate, is there something that we can do to solve this."

Everything turned out okay, I just had to jump through a few extra hoops. No biggie.


I was just wondering if there was a polite way to mention the lack of message without sounding like an "Uh, yeah, the check's in the mail" type of excuse.

From your responses, I'm guessing the answer is "No" and I handled the situation correctly.

Thanks! ;D




Feel free to add your funny "missed messages" stories! ;D


At a previous job (insurance adjuster) I got screamed at over the phone by a lawyer representing an injured person that they had faxed the paperwork to me three times - the last time, they dialed it themselves from their notes, so I was LYING if I said that I hadn't gotten it yet.

I asked him to read the number back...his handwriting must have been terrible because the area code had two errors in three numbers....I recognized the area code that he had inadvertently called as being about 800 miles WEST of where I was (somewhere in Texas) because it was the area code for San Angelo (since changed) and my in-laws (MIL, FIL, and Sister-in-law with her DDs) were living there - in the past, six or seven families (us, ILS, my parents, both brothers - one single & at home, the other married, and both of VorGuy's siblings) had been there.  I *knew* that area code well.

His "oh" was rather stunned but I got the impression that I should have made sure that he could read his own writing....somehow....over the phone.





A CW of mine had to fax something to Big Company (BC) that he was having problems with. He faxed the papers, then waited a few days and was upset that he hadn't received a response from them. He called them back and they said they never received the fax.

He verified the number and sent the fax again . . . by the 3rd time CW was pretty livid.

It just so happened that I needed to send a fax one day, so I waited while CW ranted about his problem as he was trying to send yet another fax. He asked me to check the number. He pushed the buttons and asked "That's the right number, Right?" Yup. Right number. "Then I put my papers in here and push this button, Right?"

As he pushed the buttons and the papers started going through I said "CW? Your papers are upside down. They need to be face up. You've been sending BC blank faxes."



So, yeah, I do understand how dialing wrong or leaving a message before the beep or not having your fax oriented correctly can come into play.

I'm glad I didn't press the issue.

What got me was that the number in Texas was also on a fax machine......what are the odds?  The last seven digits were identical. 
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

TootsNYC

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Re: When people say "I left a message"
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2013, 08:20:00 PM »
Quote
I was just wondering if there was a polite way to mention the lack of message without sounding like an "Uh, yeah, the check's in the mail" type of excuse.


Well, actually, you can say, "I don't know what went wrong, but I didn't get it."
As long as you then move right on (as you did) to what we can do now.