A customer pays a monthly bill for a specific service. The company wasn't able to provide this service for three days. The customer calls me since I work as a customer service representative and he asks for a refund or an additional three days as a a substitution. The policy doesn't allow me to give any kind of substitution in this scenario. I can't even place a complaint for him because it will be useless.

Here's what I would like to say and please convert it into a polite speech:

  1. No substitutions by any means or under any circumstances.

  2. No complaints.

  3. I wish If I can help you but it's something out of my hands.

  4. If there's something I can do, I would have done it but it's impossible to substitute.

Edit: I wrote this story so that you can understand the context only. I'm not asking "What to do in this case?" I'm asking about how to say the four sentences mentioned above in a polite way? Please, answer me (at least, for the sake of learning English). BTW, sometimes customers sign the contract and agree that the will not receive any substitution for occasional technical issues but they still ask for it.

  • #3 is close. I wish I could help you but... – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 15 '18 at 14:18
  • If this really does represent a "real-world problem", ask your boss for guidance. It's far too open-ended to be covered by an ELL question. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '18 at 14:58
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    Frankly, this is not an English question, but I would gently advise you to try to find another job. – Lambie Jul 15 '18 at 15:15
  • I think your question is not about learning English other than how to use polite phrases in general. Rather it asks for advice on how to handle a specific business communication. If you are asking how to use polite phrases, some research on your part should be in your question. Otherwise there are too many options (please, sorry, I'm afraid, etc.) – user3169 Jul 15 '18 at 21:47
  • Honestly, since they come up so often, your company should provide guidance how to answer these kind of questions, as there are many options. If they expect you to figure it out on your own, that's just bad management. – Andrew Jul 17 '18 at 15:26

The best that you can do is to say, "I am sorry, but I do not have authority to do that."

That is truthful. It is polite, and it directs the ire of the customer for your corporation's behavior away from you and toward the proper party, namely your employer.

It is likely to elicit the request to talk with someone of greater authority, who may in fact be authorized to respond ethically.

In fact, back when I used to be responsible for this sort of thing, what I specified was to be said in such situations was: "May I transfer you to someone who has the authority to waive charges?" That is truthful, polite, and helpful.

Whether it is prudent for you to say something similar depends on whether your employer acts unethically or merely has failed to provide you with proper training. I cannot judge whether your employer is malevolent or incompetent.

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  • +1 for malevolent or incompetent. It is apparent that the company has failed to give even the minimal level of training. That combined with the fact they have charged for a service then not provided it, and the note that "you can't place a complaint" makes me suspect "malevolent". – James K Jul 15 '18 at 14:10
  • Are they mutually exclusive? – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 15 '18 at 14:18
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    @ James For several decades I ran an organization and read every complaint received by our complaint department. Mistakes happen, and authorities need to be assigned. But many complaints arose because people assumed incorrectly that what they were not permitted to do were things that the corporation was invariably unwilling to do. It took me a while, but I eventually learned that front-line people must be trained that they do not have the authority to say "no" to a customer. They can only say "yes" or "may I transfer." My error was in not providing the right training. – Jeff Morrow Jul 15 '18 at 14:22
  • I'm sorry to give -1. Please, see the edit. – user2824371 Jul 15 '18 at 17:32
  • @ OP It is a little odd to downvote an answer based on an edit to the question made after the answer is given. Second, you have not said what was wrong with my suggested sentence as substitutes for 3 and 4. As for 1 and 2, they are not even complete sentences. In any case, I shall try to avoid your questions in the future. – Jeff Morrow Jul 16 '18 at 13:01

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