Allow Me To Deposit Some Reality Right Here

, , , , | | Legal | May 21, 2018

(I work for a telephone company and one of the laws governing unpaid accounts is that after a certain length of time they become “statute barred” for approximately six years, which means that the statute of limitations has expired and we can no longer collect from the ex-customer or refuse service due to an unpaid account. There are some “customers” who know to the day how long they have to wait before once again getting service they have no intention of paying for. Often a family will cycle between companies and family members getting free service most of the time. Then the company changes their policy so that even if their account is “statute barred,” the “customer” is considered a poor risk and can get basic dial tone only — which we cannot not refuse — but absolutely no services like long distance or calling features, or they can open a “deposit” account where we get our money up front, and a full service package comes with a very hefty deposit. When I get someone who is just past the date, I sometimes slip into passive-aggressive mode.)

Customer: “Hi. I would like to set up service.”

Me: “Certainly. Have you had service with us before?”

Customer: “No, I haven’t.”

Me: “Very well. We need to set up an account for you.” *collects identification information* “Oh, it looks like we have an old account from just over six years ago for you.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. I guess I forgot.”

Me: “No problem. Well, it looks like you left owing us money, so you have a choice between a restricted account or a deposit account.”

Customer: “What is a restricted account?”

(I explain how it is dial tone and local dialing ONLY.)

Customer: “But I want features: long distance, Internet, and TV.”

Me: “Then you would require a deposit account.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “Because you left your last service without paying your bill.”

Customer: “But I don’t owe you any money.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “So when can I get service?”

Me: “After the deposit posts to your account.”

Customer: “But I don’t owe you any money.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “How much is the deposit?”

(For the size of the service package and the equipment it is — no kidding — $1800. I advise the customer it is the charge for three months service in advance, plus the value of the equipment.)

Customer: “How about hooking me up, and I’ll pay the deposit in instalments?” *clearly no intent to pay*

Me: “I’m sorry, but the computer will not complete the processing of your order until the full amount of the deposit posts to the account.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: *becoming more and more agitated as they can’t find the loophole to get free service* “BUT I DON’T OWE YOU ANY MONEY!”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Customer: “WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY A DEPOSIT?”

Me: “Since you did not pay your balance when you last had service, you are now considered a high risk for non-payment and the company wants their money up front.”

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *click*

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