Scary Things In The Basement

, , , , , | Working | September 11, 2019

(My wife and I have just bought our first house. It is relevant to the story that it is a detached home, with a fully furnished basement. Although the basement is set up so that it can potentially be rented out as an apartment, it was not used this way by us or the previous owner. As is common after a move, we get a bit of mail meant for a previous owner. There is one piece of mail from a TV and telephone company addressed to “Resident” at “[Our Address] Bsmnt Apt.” A new envelope comes monthly. I call the company to correct the issue.)

Employee: “How can I help you?” 

Me: “Hi. I’m calling about some mail that is being sent to me in error.”

Employee: “I can help with that. Can I get your phone number or account number to pull up your info?” 

Me: “Actually, I don’t have any services with [Company]. That’s why I’m calling. I’m getting someone else’s info sent to my home.” 

Employee: “I see. Can I have the name on the envelope?” 

Me: “No, it’s just sent to ‘Resident.'” 

Employee: “Well, I can’t change the mailing information on your account if you don’t give me a name or a phone number.” 

Me: “It’s not my account. I just bought the house. It’s not even addressed to a real apartment. It says, ‘Bsmnt apt,’ but there is no basement apartment.” 

Employee: “Can you give me the address? I may be able to get your account from that.” 

Me: *provides my address*

Employee: “Please hold for a moment.” *brief hold music* “Okay, sir, I have the account pulled up now. It looks like you have an outstanding balance of [over $100].” 

Me: “What? No. You’re not understanding me. You have the wrong address on file. Whoever owes that balance doesn’t live here anymore. I just want you to stop sending his mail here.” 

Employee: “Sir, you still have to pay your bill, even if you moved.” 

Me: “But it’s not my bill.” 

Employee: “You live at [address], correct? Then this is your bill.” 

Me: “But I just moved here and have never had any services with you. Just stop sending any correspondence here. There isn’t even a basement apartment! No one lives there separately. You’re records are clearly wrong.” 

Employee: “If you own the house, then you own the basement apartment. You are the ‘Resident’ at [Address]. This is your bill. You have to pay it.” 

Me: “I’m going to make this clear. I do not have any business with your company. You are sending someone else’s bill to my address by mistake. I will not pay a penny. You have no name on file. You have an address that doesn’t exist. If you send me any more mail to this address I will consider it harassment.”

Employee: *long silence* “But this is your bill.” 

Me: “Transfer me to a manager.” 

(I spoke to a manager. She understood what I was saying and corrected the issue in minutes. I now record my calls with an app.)

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Listen To The (In)Voice Of Reason

, , , , , | Right | September 3, 2019

(Part of my job is going to customers’ offices to have invoices countered. This particular run, my manager is heading to the banks near a customer, so he offers me a ride. Since I usually just take a minute, he waits in the car while I go into the office. This happens after I’ve submitted the invoice for countering.)

Customer: “Your invoice is wrong. I’m not signing it until you fix it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. What’s the matter?”

Customer: “Your price for [product] is too high. We’ve never paid that much.”

Me: “Oh, I’m really sorry about that. I’ll take it back to the office and have it corrected.”

Customer: “No, don’t bother. Just change the price there and I’ll sign it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I don’t have the authority to do that. Only one of the people who signed off on the invoice can correct it, and it’d need to be countersigned.”

Customer: “Okay, go. It’s your problem if this is late.”

(I take the invoice and go back to my waiting manager. When he asks me how it went, I tell him the customer refused the invoice because the price is wrong. He checks the price and says it is correct, and that he was the one who informed this particular customer that there was a price hike. He takes the invoice and tells me to come with him back to the customer.)

Manager: “Ma’am, my assistant here tells me you have a problem with the price. I have to tell you that this price is correct. We changed it last December, and I told you about it right away.”

Customer: “No, you didn’t. We’ve always paid [price] for [product].”

Manager: “You did until last December. Ma’am, this isn’t even the first invoice we’ve issued at this price. Your order last January was at this price, and you signed the invoice then.”

Customer: “No, I don’t think so. We’ve been ordering [product] from you at [price] for years.”

Manager: “Yes, ma’am, you have. That’s why I informed you of the price increase last December and asked if it was okay.”

Customer: “I never heard about a price increase.”

Manager: “Ma’am, I can show you our text exchange on my phone. If you have a minute, I can even call the office and get them to send me a picture of the last invoice, which you countersigned. The price is correct.”

(My manager and the customer get into an argument because the customer refuses to accept that she was informed of the price increase. When my manager shows her the text exchange in which she was informed of the new price and even confirmed it, she insists she be given the old price for just this order, insisting her loyalty means they deserve a discount. My manager stands his ground, giving all the reasons the price went up and even insisting that the customer’s loyalty is the only reason it didn’t go up more. She finally decides that if that’s the case, she doesn’t want the goods anymore and demands we take them back, which we cannot do because the goods are at their warehouse, not office, and we would have to schedule the delivery team to do it. The whole thing would also require approval from the sales director, who probably wouldn’t give it because of the size of the order. She finally angrily signs the invoice, but of course, has to give the classic:)

Customer: “Just so you know, we’re not ordering from you again. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Manager: *smiles acidly* “Ma’am, given how small your orders are, I really don’t care. We’ll be back for your last check, then.”

Customer: “I’m not paying!”

Manager: “Then our lawyers will be in touch.”

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Friends With Money (Problems)

, , , , , , , | Friendly | July 10, 2019

(I am at the mall with a friend, who is also my roommate. We head into a cell phone provider, as I’m going to change my plan and buy a new phone. We get to talking about how expensive it all is. Side note: he’s notoriously bad with money.)

Friend: “I can barely pay my phone bill as it is. I can’t imagine paying [price] for a [brand-new model phone].”

Me: “I can’t afford it, either; that’s why I’m getting the older model. It’s on sale now, essentially free if you extend your contract.”

Friend: “Make sure you ask about cancellation fees. [Other Phone Company] was the worst when I couldn’t pay and tried to cancel my plan.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ll ask.”

Friend: “Or you can do what I did and just disappear.” *laughs*

Me: “What?” 

Friend: “Yeah, instead of giving [Other Phone Company] like 200 bucks to get out of the contract, I just stopped paying.”

Me: “But you still owe them that money, right? They can come after you for it.”

Friend: “Let’s see them find me.” 

Me: *silence*

Friend: *proudly* “I’ve moved twice since then. They’ll never get a penny from me.” *laughs*

Me: “That would kill your credit rating.” 

Friend: “What does that matter? I already have a credit card.” 

(It still boggles my mind. He was a good person, and smart in general, just absolutely clueless about money.)

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Risk Of Breast Cancer Is Not The Worst Thing In This Story

, , , , , | Healthy | May 26, 2019

I’m a young woman who doesn’t have to go in for yearly mammograms, but when doing a check one month, I notice a possible lump. Women are encouraged to visit their doctor immediately when this happens, as breast cancer can be very aggressive. I go in to my regular doctor office, but the PA I normally see is on maternity leave, so a different one is scheduled for my visit.

The new physician is nice, but it all goes downhill once she refers me for additional testing. Her assistant schedules the referral without a checking date or time with me and doesn’t give me all the appointment info. My mammogram appointment starts out rocky as a result, but thankfully they don’t find any cancer so I’m pronounced healthy and sent on my way.

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I get an outrageous bill for the facility I was referred to. I reach out to the hospital billing and then my doctor’s office. The hospital billing team is very nice but the doctor’s office doesn’t care that they botched my referral by pushing me over to one of their connected facilities. I talk to them about once a week for a month and a half, and their office manager can’t remember to return my calls. Finally, after leaving a message for the office manager’s boss, hospital billing gets involved.

The office manager has requested that they just comp my bill because of all the issues –more than what I mentioned above — I’ve had when dealing with them. She says it should be cleared up, so I end that call relieved. Hospital billing steps in, and suddenly I’m being told that my bill is not being comped. I’m normally non-confrontational, but the woman I’m speaking to is so rude and doesn’t seem to care that her organization’s facilities have repeatedly messed up just about every interaction I’ve had related to this initial visit, or that I’ve been promised the bill will be written off already. We argue for several minutes until she agrees to take another day to look into this more and decide. It’s really just a stall on her part, as reneging on writing off the remaining bill will be going back on what her colleague promised.  

She calls me the next day and begrudgingly agrees that they’ll comp my bill. I also end up speaking to the office manager again, who reminds me that they’ll expect me to pay my bills in the future.

For the record, I always pay my bills and had given them an initial payment which I thought was kind of a co-pay. I learned better as a result of this and will not make that mistake again.

We all think everything is resolved until a couple months later, when I get some cryptic call from some woman that I can barely understand. She’s asking for me to identify myself so she can discuss my account with me. I tell her that I don’t know who she is and I’m not comfortable with sharing personal info. She says that’s fine but I should call them back when I’m ready. Somewhere during the conversation, she says something that makes me realize this is a collections call.

Of course, she won’t tell me anything unless I share my info with her, but the only billing snafu of late was the hospital one. So, I call them and end up finding out that when they bill, the facility sends one bill but the radiologist sends a separate bill. And somehow, I should know that these bills are sent separately.

By now, I’m freaked because a) I thought this was resolved a few months ago, and b) I’m planning to buy a house and don’t want a collections account to show up on my credit report.

I make a few calls that result in me leaving a message with the rude hospital billing lady I spoke to a few months before. She leaves me a message later letting me know that she’s spoken to the second billing team and it should be taken care of. Our insurance person at work also tells me to call back the collections agency and let them know I’m working things out with the hospital. I do and they freeze the collections account for me.

I’ve not heard anything from either billing group, so it all seems to be resolved now. And I’ve switched to a different doctor’s office, one not connected to the hospital. Everyone is really nice and so far I’ve had no issues.

Moral of the story: ask lots of questions when your doctor refers you anywhere. And don’t go unless your insurance has signed off on that being the best in-network facility and estimated how much it will cost.

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This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part We Don’t Even Know Anymore

, , , , , | Right | February 21, 2019

(I work for a credit card company. The calls are frustrating, and honestly, I am tempted to close so many accounts and transfer the customer to Spanish. This woman calls in confused about interest.)

Me: “Thank you for calling. How can I help you?”

Caller: “My name is [Caller]. Why is there a $1.63 charge in my account? It says it’s a finance charge?”

(Looking over her account I see she is referring to interest; the company just marks it on the statement as a finance charge.)

Me: “Ma’am, I show this is interest because you only make the minimum payment.”

Caller: “Yeah, because that is all I have to pay.”

Me: “That is what you have to pay to avoid a late fee, but to avoid interest you have to pay the full statement balance. I show you have been receiving interest for the last ten months.”

(I am about to end my shift and don’t want to argue, so I am going to offer to waive three months of the small, $2 charges to try and end the call, but before I can offer…)

Caller: “No. I just have to make the minimum. That is how I avoid it. I’m new at cards, but I know that is how it works. So, you are going to waive the interest and make sure it doesn’t show up again on my account.”

(I really want to yell at her but I decide to try and teach her with sense.)

Me: “Ma’am, that is not how interest is calculate—“

Caller: “How the h*** am I supposed to know that? I want it in writing!”

Me: “If you have a copy of your statement, it says it there—“ *reads off the whole paragraph of info* “It also said it on your terms and conditions you received with your card and whenever you make a payment.”

Caller: “What if I didn’t understand It?”

Me: “You could call in and we can explain it to you; that is what we are here for.”

Caller: “What if I don’t know what I need to ask? Or find out what I need to know if I don’t know?”

(Confused and in utter shock at the level of stupid I just heard, I have had it.)

Me: “Then you call in and start the call with, ‘I don’t understand how credit cards work; please enlighten me.’”

Caller: “F*** you, b****!”

(I hung up and noted how rude and stupid she was. Someone ended up listening to it and my supervisor came and spoke to me about it. They told me I should have just given her what she wanted. I left the next week.)

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