Owe Dad A Debt Of Gratitude

, , , , | Working | February 26, 2018

(I have just turned 16 and I am looking for a summer job. Since I am looking for employment and am about to get my license, my parents decide to buy me my first cell phone for my birthday. I don’t give my number out to people except to my friends, relatives, and potential employers. One day I receive a phone call from an unknown number, and since the number has the same area code as my city, I assume it is an employer looking to schedule an interview, so I answer it.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Yes, I am looking for Mrs. [Stranger]?”

Me: “I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number. I don’t know anyone by that name.”

Caller: “I know it is you! You don’t have to lie!”

(I try explaining that I don’t know who this person is, and that I have only had this number for two weeks, but she interrupts me.)

Caller: “I am with [Debt Collector Company], Mrs. [Stranger], and before I can go any further, I need to tell you that this call is monitored for quality assurance and this is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information purposes will be used to collect this debt.”

Me: “But I’m not—”

Caller: *interrupting me* “Now, you owe an outstanding balance of [balance] to [Major Credit Card Company]. Would you like to pay with a debit card or send in a check?”

Me: “Neither. I don’t owe you anything. I am 16 years old, and I’m not even old enough to have a credit card!”

(My dad, who has been listening to the entire conversation turns and looks at me. On the other end of the phone, the debt collector is laughing at what I just said.)

Caller: “Oh, sweetie! This ain’t kindergarten! Hasn’t your mommy or daddy warned you not to charge thousands of dollars on a credit card and not pay them back? You can’t expect to go through life and have everything to be handed to you. Do you really think I’m going to believe you, Mrs. [Stranger]? You will pay the [balance] in the full amount today, or I will sue you for your unpaid debts.”

(Having had enough, I hang up the phone and explain to my dad what just happened. He tells me next time they call to give the phone to him and he will handle it. Within the next couple of minutes, the same debt collector calls, and I hand my phone to my dad. He tells the debt collector to stop calling my number and that I am, indeed, only 16 years old, and we know no one with the name she’s looking for. After 15 minutes of arguing with her, the debt collector transfers him to the supervisor.)

Supervisor: “Hello, Mr. [Stranger]. This is [Supervisor] speaking. I understand you’re refusing to pay the debt your wife owes us?”

Dad: “Look, lady: you have the wrong number. Your employee called my 16-year-old daughter, has been harassing her to pay a debt that isn’t hers, and when my daughter told her she has the wrong number and she’s not the person you’re looking for, your employee told her that ‘this isn’t kindergarten’ and threatened to sue her. She doesn’t owe you anything. Now, either you can stop calling my daughter’s number, or I will report your company for harassment.”

(There was complete silence on the other line, and after a couple of moments the supervisor hung up the phone. They haven’t called back since!)

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