Unfiltered Story #160114

, , | | Unfiltered | August 14, 2019

Please note I am a woman about five years younger than the caller. My boss’s office is about ten feet away from me. Information has been changed to protect identities.
Me: Collector’s Office, can I help you?
Caller: Yes, hi, I’m trying to renew my driver’s license, but it says I owe excise tax to Springfield*
Me: Sure, let me look that up for you. What’s your last name?
Caller: Smith.
Me: Smith, okay, Karen? Did you have a 2001 Dodge?
Caller: Yes.
Me: Okay, so the bill is from 2010 and the total amount owed is $120.00. To pay for this, you can use a credit or debit card and go to the deputy collector’s website at –
Caller: Okay, but what is that for?
Me: It’s for the 2001 Dodge.
Caller: No, I know that. I’m calling because I have no idea what excise tax is.
Me: Oh! Okay. It’s a yearly tax. All of the cars registered in Massachusetts have a yearly tax.
Caller: I’ve never heard of this before. I live in Wisconsin, and I’ve never paid this before. Why is Massachusetts the only state that taxes you on your car?
Me: We aren’t the only state. Lots of states do this. Some call it personal property tax. Some build it into your real estate taxes. They have their own ways of doing it and their own terms, but this is Massachusetts’s way.
Caller: Well, that’s stupid. I’ve lived in three states and none of them have this tax. Three states, that’s a pretty good sampling of what the country does.
Me: Right, but like I said, other states have it, too. I don’t know about Wisconsin specifically, but Massachusetts has it, Connecticut has it, Rhode Island has it… We call it different things though.
Caller: This is ridiculous! I’ve never even lived in Massachusetts!
Me: Okay, somehow the Registry of Motor Vehicles had your car registered in Massachusetts in 2010. It has your name and an address on Longmeadow Street.
Caller: That’s where my school was.
Me: You must have changed your registration address or mailing address to be directed there.
Caller: No! I didn’t even live in Massachusetts! I was only going to school there from 2004 to 2007, so I don’t know why you would have my car there in 2010!
Me: Okay, so you did live here at the time you were going to school, correct?
Caller: I never lived in Massachusetts! I was only going to school there and they made me get a Massachusetts license plate. (side note: we never found out who “they” were)
Me: Were you telecommuting from Wisconsin?
Caller: No! I was going to school in Massachusetts, so I only lived there from 2004 to 2007!
Me: Wait…you said you didn’t live here, now you’re saying you did live here?
Caller: You’re not listening to me!
Me: I’m trying to understand what you’re telling me. We’re going in circles, and I’m trying to help you.
Caller: You’re not helping me! You’re screwing with me!
Me: I’m not trying to screw with you. I’m trying to give you the information to-
Caller: I have lived in three states! None of them have this tax! Why is your state the only state that taxes cars! This is stupid!
Me: Like I said, we are not the only state. Many states do this, but we all do it differently.
Caller: No, you’re just trying to ruin everybody’s lives! Why was my car even registered in Massachusetts if I didn’t live there in 2010?
Me: Registrations are good for three years. You must not have cancelled the registration, so the RMV was still recognizing the plate as active. If the plate was active as of January first of that year, it would have generated a bill for the year.
Caller: But I wasn’t even living there! Why would you send me a bill if I wasn’t living there?!
Me: Again, the registration was still active, meaning you didn’t cancel it. That tells the RMV that the car is still on the road with that plate.
Caller: But I was living in Wisconsin! I’ve lived in three states! They all have registrations that expire after a year! Why is Massachusetts the only one that has three years? I’ve lived in three states! You don’t have to cancel the plates when you change states! It does that automatically!
Me: I highly doubt that. The state doesn’t know when you are moving, so you have to let them know either by going to the RMV or doing it online that you are canceling the plates. Otherwise-
Caller: I’ve lived in three states, and none of them do it this way! That’s a pretty good indication of how the country runs things!
Me: Three states out of fifty, so six percent of the states, that’s not very high.
Caller: Ohhhh you’re sooooo smart! You know how many states we have! Well, you know what? I’m very intelligent, and I know how these things work, and you’re doing it wrong!
Me: I don’t doubt that you’re intelligent. I’m just trying to let you know how the excise tax works here and how to pay your bill. (side note: she’s been crying for about five minutes now)
Caller: You either aren’t listening at all, or you don’t give a s*** about me and this whole situation!
Me: I assure you, I am listening to you, and I’m not going to repeat that second part.
Caller: No you don’t give a s***!
Me: I mean, I’m sorry you’re having a bad day-
Caller: I’m not having a bad day! What, just because I’m a woman and I’m crying and upset, that must mean I’m crazy?!
Me: No, I’m a woman, too, I’m not discriminating against you-
Caller: I’m a crying yelling woman, so I’m crazy! I’ve lived in three states! You’re not helping me!
Boss: Hang up, you’ve explained everything to her, if she keeps yelling and swearing at you, hang up.
Me: Ma’am, if you keep yelling, I’m going to hang up.
Caller: Don’t you hang up on me!
Me: Okay, well you can either pay the bill and I can give you the phone number and website of the deputy collector, or you can talk to the RMV, and I can give you their website and phone number –
Caller: No! I’m not going to call them, be put on hold for 20 minutes, then they’re going to say they’ll get back to me in 24 hours and I’ll never hear from them!
Me: I’m sorry, but I’m trying to help you –
Caller: You’re not helping me! You’re not f****** doing s***!
Me: Okay, I’m hanging up now.
Caller: DON’T YOU F****** DARE-!
Me: *click*

Not 30 seconds later she called back, my boss recognized the name/number, and she took the call.
Boss: Collector’s office, can I help you?… I am the supervisor… I was listening the whole time… She was not yelling, she was keeping her voice calm… Well, you didn’t let her explain it to you… She was trying… You can call the deputy… Well, they’re website is… If you’re not going to listen to me, how am I supposed to help you?… I looked up your name, you did have bills in the past… Diane paid them for you, do you know a Diane?… She’s your mother? Well, maybe you should talk to her… Okay, but you were billed in the past, and they were paid… I’m not talking to you anymore. *click*

The following week, our reports showed that she paid the bill, so I don’t know what happened after that or what poor person had to deal with her.

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