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If You Test Me, You Will Fail

, , , , , , | Legal | CREDIT: MeowSchwitzInThere | July 3, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a legal nature. It is not intended as legal advice.


I’m a lawyer. A friend from school reached out to ask for help dealing with an ambulance company. Her parent had passed away in an ambulance while traveling between a nursing home and a hospital. The ambulance company sent my friend a bill that she could not afford to pay, and they were threatening to send the bill to collectors.

Me: “Not a problem, friend! Your parent’s estate is responsible for this bill. You don’t have a personal obligation to pay it, so they can’t send it to collections in your name. Let me just mail a short letter, and they should stop bothering you.”

I typed a very polite letter (“This person has legal representation, please cease any and all shenanigans, etc.”) and thought that was the end of this nonsense. Fast forward a few weeks when my friend sent a picture of another bill. Because the law is so cut and dry on debt collection, I assumed the ambulance company had some computer or human error which caused another letter to be sent.

Me: “No worries, friend. I bet someone messed up. Let me give them a call real quick and figure it out.”

Imagine a super cool montage of me working through a really long automated phone tree before talking to an actual human.

Me: “Hey, I’m [Friend]’s lawyer. I sent a letter asking you to stop sending her collections notices. She got another notice yesterday, so I just wanted to figure out why and how to make sure these letters stop.”

“Surely, this will be a quick call and we can all have a laugh about whatever error occurred,” I think.

Employee: “We will stop sending her bills when she pays.”

Me: “Umm… but that’s pretty illegal for, like, a lot of reasons. I can think of three right off the top of my head. So, instead of me getting all riled up and starting a lawsuit, can you just be cool? Pretty please?”

Employee: “It’s not illegal. Try to sue us if you want our lawyers to explain it to you.”

She made me say the phrase that I hate more than any other phrase IN THE WORLD.

Me: “May I speak with your manager, please?”

Employee: “Nope, I am the manager, and I’m also more familiar with the FDCPA than you. What we are doing is perfectly legal. Tell your friend to pay.”

The FDCPA (Federal Debt Collection Practices Act) sets out certain rules for what debt collectors can or cannot do. But some states, like Texas, have stronger rules which protect debtors. I didn’t know whether or not the ambulance company was violating any FDCPA things, but I knew FOR SURE (and when a good lawyer says, “for sure,” that means one hundred percent sure) that they were violating Texas DCPA.

Me: “Telling me I don’t know what I’m doing is rude. Hassling [Friend] after their parent passed away is shockingly rude. So, last chance before I hang up to angry-type a lawsuit and angry-file it. You don’t want me to sue on this, because I will win.”

Employee: “Please do, and we will see you in court. Have a nice day!” *Click*

She hung up on me. Oh, man, I was pissed — easily in the top ten of pissed in a professional context.

The whole conversation took about ten minutes. I have a fairly high tolerance for abrasive people; most people don’t look forward to talking with a lawyer, I get it. Still, sending collection notices to the wrong person AFTER that person buried a parent AND telling me I’m a bad lawyer was pretty mind-blowing.

I literally started working on this complaint as soon as I hung up. Because if I threaten to sue and you ASK me to follow through, my hands are tied.

I filed and the company was served, presumably followed by an actual lawyer reading the complaint and thinking, “Oh, wow, we f***ed up here.” A very apologetic lawyer called, and we reached an agreement to settle which included an apology to [Friend].

If I Have To Walk You Through It, You’re Gonna Pay

, , , , | Right | May 21, 2022

A couple of years ago, I was asked to write copy for a start-up’s website. The client wasn’t sure what they wanted, and in the course of “taking the brief,” it became clear that they also hadn’t worked out who their business was aimed at. I spent a lot of time getting them to focus on target customers, market sectors, and so on.

Once this was done, I wrote the copy and sent them my invoice.

Client: “I don’t think I should have to pay for this.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Client: “We spent too much time answering questions beforehand.”

Just Pay Your Bills, Dude

, , , , , | Right | May 17, 2022

I was working on-site for a client for several months. He then started questioning every point of the invoice.

Client: “I didn’t see you on Wednesday, so I am not going to pay you for it.”

Me: “I was here; you didn’t see me because you weren’t in the office on Wednesday.”

It was at this point that I decided to cease our relationship.

Just Call Me Jon Snow

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: patrickseastarslegs | May 16, 2022

Where I work, I deal in phone and Wi-Fi plans. A couple of days ago, a guy came in asking for a number to be ported to his SIM card.

Me: “What’s the number?”

Customer: “It’s my mom’s. I’ll go get her.”

He came back and his mother gave me her number to port. Turns out it was ported already.

We have different SIM cards; red is top up and blue is bill pay. She had a red. Now the fun began.

Mother: “So, if I call him, it can show up with my number?”

I nod and check her credit. It’s at zero with no top-up plans on. I explain this and she snaps.

Mother: “Um, no? It’s on a bill. This is a bill. The person I talked to online sent me this.”

Me: “Then they sent you the wrong one. That’s to top up. Want me to top it up?”

Mother: “Get me someone else. You know nothing. You clearly know nothing!”

Me: “There’s nobody else here, but I know that that isn’t for a bill.”

Mother: “I want to talk to someone else. I don’t care that nobody else is here. Make them be here because you’re incompetent. You gave me the wrong thing!”

Me: “Sorry, but I am the only. One. Here. We didn’t give you the wrong thing. You’ll have to call the helpline or talk to someone online because I can’t do anything else for you.”

She simply scoffed and stormed out.

A Monthly Payment Plan To Hate

, , , , , | Right | April 11, 2022

I work for a retail software company and am in charge of billing for all of our customers.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I need to give you new credit card information to pay my stupid bill to your stupid company.”

Me: “All right, I can certainly help with that today! What’s the store name or customer ID?”

Customer: “[Store].”

I verify her on the account.

Me: “Okay, I’ve got your account pulled up and am ready for the new card number!”

Customer: “I hate that I have to pay you guys.” *Gives her card number*

Me: “Okay, and the expiration?”

Customer: *Gives the expiration* “I cannot wait until I can cancel this stupid service!”

We have an anytime cancellation policy; there are no contracts whatsoever and she could literally cancel any time she wanted to. This is stated on every agreement that our customers sign before services are provided.

Me: “And the card security code?”

Customer: *Gives the security code* “You know, I wouldn’t recommend your company to anyone, even at the point of a gun! Well, okay, maybe at the point of a gun, but that’s it!

I am trying VERY hard not to laugh.

Me: “All right, the last thing I need is the zip code, please.”

She gives me the zip code.

Me: “Okay—”

Customer:No, it’s not okay, but whatever!

Me: “I’ve processed your payment, ma’am. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Customer:Yeah! You can do this for me! Imagine that you are stuck in a room that is painted the most horrible, awful color you can imagine, and you have to pay for that awful room every month and you can’t ever leave. So you can just think about that for the rest of your day today!”

Me: *Pauses* “All right, ma’am, well, thank you for calling in and—”

Customer: “Don’t thank me! Don’t pretend you liked talking to me! Oh, whatever, you’re just reading from a script anyway!” *Click*

I promptly burst out laughing as soon as the call ended. We do not use scripts and I was genuinely thankful for her call. She may have said she hated us every other sentence, but she still paid her bill and gave me all the details I needed while also providing some entertainment, which is more than can be said for most callers!