Has Zero Understanding Of Zero

| Working | July 15, 2016

(My sister uses an installment plan to pay her tuition. Her budget changed mid-year and she ended up being able to pay off the year in eight payments instead of ten, but at the end of the tenth month we get a notification saying her account was cancelled and we have £80 in service fees. I call them to get this figured out.)

Agent: “The 80 dollars are late fees. They’re 40 dollars each for each month. We cancelled her account because she was late two months in a row. She won’t be able to sign up again with us for this year, so she’ll have to make those payments in full directly to the school and if she doesn’t pay that 80, she can’t sign up again next year.”

Me: “The reason why she didn’t pay February and March is because the balances for those two months are zero. I have her account open right in front of me and I can confirm it still says zero.”

Agent: “Yes, she didn’t pay that amount. She needed to make a payment, but she didn’t.”

Me: “She owed ZERO DOLLARS. That’s why she didn’t pay anything.”

Agent: “Yes. She didn’t pay anything for those two months, so she owes us the late fees and her account was cancelled.”

Me: “She didn’t pay anything those two months because she owed you guys nothing!”

Agent: “Excuse me?”

Me: “I gave you her account number so you must have it pulled up, right? Can you tell me what she owed for February?”

Agent: “Zero dollars.”

Me: “How about March?”

Agent: “Zero dollars again.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s why she didn’t pay. Because she didn’t owe anything. She paid everything off by January.”

Agent: “I don’t know what to tell you, ma’am. She didn’t pay us. I can’t get rid of these fees or reinstate her account.”

Me: *baffled* “Can I talk to someone higher up instead?”

Agent: “Sure, but nothing’s going to change.”

(I got connected to a supervisor who I explained the situation to again. When I gave her my sister’s account number, the supervisor understood right away, took care of the problem, but was confused why her employee couldn’t understand what was wrong.)

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