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This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 105

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Akschadt | October 3, 2021

I work for a collections job in a bank where I deal with people behind on their payments for retail services. One of the more common things I deal with is past dues on [Credit Card Company] cards. I get this lady on the phone who is irate.

Caller: “Your automated system won’t accept my payment!”

That’s normal; most people hit an extra button and type in the wrong account number or switch the expiration date up. I go through the normal business of collecting this payment — something like an $800 balance with $200 of it past due.

Me: “I can use a debit card or bank account information for the payment.”

Caller: “Card.”

She gives me her information and I pull up my screen to process it through. It gets declined. She loses her mind.

Caller: *Screaming* “How dare you decline my card?! I’ve been a customer for years! When I got this card, you said it would be accepted anywhere [Credit Card Company] is accepted, and that’s everywhere. And now you’re declining me!”

I sit there for a second and look at the card number she provided and then at her account number; they’re the same number.

Me: “Ma’am are you… trying to pay off your [Credit Card Company] card… with your [Credit Card Company] card?”

The answer was yes. What followed was a twenty-minute conversation about how you can’t pay off a credit card with the same credit card. She hung up after threatening to sue me personally for false advertising as, “[Credit Card Company] apparently isn’t accepted everywhere like you said!”

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 104
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 103
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 102
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 101
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 100

Take It To Your Grave

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 18, 2021

I had a client come into my office to deal with her brother’s estate. Her brother, unmarried and childless, had known he was terminal for almost a year before he died. He chose to spend that year applying for as many credit cards as he could and maxing them all out. Amazingly, he got credit cards for four major banks and managed to rack up more than $50,000.00 in debt before he died. He had maybe $10,000.00 in savings that he had kept as a cushion to make sure the debt collectors didn’t come after him until it was too late.

The first thing I did was assure the sister that no one was responsible for her brother’s debts except his estate. After that, I gave her the options.

Option A was the technically correct way to handle the estate: contact all the banks, get them to agree to take a ratable percentage of the remaining assets, and pay them out. This could take months and would cost a lot of money.

Option B was not technically the correct way to handle it but it was easier: contact the banks, tell them that the sister had resigned as estate trustee and no one was replacing her, and ask them not to contact her.

She obviously went with Option B. With no one in charge of the estate, the banks couldn’t even attempt to collect on the debt, and there was no way to go through legal channels to collect the money that would not cost ten times the money owed.

Do I have sympathy for the banks? Nope.

College Debt Will Haunt You Forever

, , , | Legal | March 1, 2021

I recently had my college debt forgiven because of my degenerative disability and my inability to work enough to pay my debt. Nearly two weeks after everything is processed, I receive a call from a number I don’t know.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Yes, [My Name]?”

Me: “Who’s calling?”

Caller: “I’m looking for [My Name].”

Me: “Yes, and I’m asking who you are.”

Caller: *Annoyed* “[My Name], I’m not playing.”

Me: “Neither am I.”

Caller: “[My Name], you owe [amount].”

Me: “Who is this?”

Caller: “It’s [Debt Collection Agency].”

Me: “Oh. I actually had everything taken care of.”

Caller: “It doesn’t matter. You owe us.”

Me: “No, I actually don’t.”

Caller: “You do!”

Me: “I don’t.”

Caller: “What is your social security number?”

Me: *Laughing* “Nah, man, that’s not happening.”

Caller: “I’ll call the cops!”

Me: “Okay, you do that.”

Caller: “I will!”

Me: “Yeah, f*** you, bro.”

The caller hung up and I called the company. They denied having someone call me but couldn’t explain why some random scammer would know the exact amount I owed. I’m sure it was actually the debt collector still trying to get money from me, but when I researched the number, I couldn’t find anything.

The Last Payment Is A Tax On Those Who Do Not Listen

, , , , , | Right | February 9, 2021

I work at a debt collection agency. As part of the process, we send letters, including when an account is paid in full.

Debtor: “Yeah, I received a letter from you but this account is already paid!”

Me: “Okay, let’s take a look.”

Debtor: “This is utterly ridiculous; this account is paid!”

Me: “Okay, I do show the account is paid, as well, and we did send a letter to notify you of that on [day]. What’s the date on that letter?” 

Debtor: “[Same day].”

Me: “All right, so that’s the letter we sent for your records so you know the account has been marked paid. You’re all set with us!”

Debtor: “But the account is paid! Why did I get another letter?!”

Me: *Facepalm*

Thank Goodness For A Happy Ending

, , , , | Legal | February 4, 2021

I rent a condo. When renting, it’s not uncommon to receive mail for a previous resident who hasn’t updated their contact information. Since I’ve lived in the condo for about four years, the mail for other people has tapered off except for the occasional bit of junk mail.

Then, I suddenly start receiving a flood of mail for a woman whose name I don’t recognize. At first, I do nothing but mark the envelopes as “return to sender” and put them in the outgoing mail slot. Once I’ve gotten well over twenty pieces of mail, I ask my landlord if she recognizes the name as a previous resident.

My landlord is a retired woman who owns just the unit she lives in and mine, which she rents out for some income. She doesn’t recognize the name of the person whose mail I’m receiving, and she’s only rented out to two people before me. Since she keeps to herself, for the most part, she doesn’t know if there’s anyone in the condo complex by that name.

Over time, the mail looks more and more urgent, even from the outside. I start getting a lot of envelopes marked “past due” and “final notice.” One day, someone knocks on my door.

Debt Collector: “Hello. I’m looking for [Person whose mail I keep getting] regarding some debts that have been sent to collections.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but there’s no one here by that name. Her mail has been coming to my address for months, but I don’t know why.”

Debt Collector: “Oh. Well, do you know her current address or a phone number?”

Me: “No. I’ve never heard of her before receiving her mail. My landlord has owned this unit since it was built and doesn’t know her, either. No one by that name has ever lived here.”

Debt Collector: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes! If you do find her, please tell her to stop having her mail sent to me.”

The debt collector leaves and the mail doesn’t stop. Several other debt collectors come looking for the woman over the next week, resulting in pretty much the same conversation each time. I’m getting very frustrated with the situation. A week later, there’s another knock on my door, but this time it’s the police.

Police Officer: “Good afternoon, ma’am. Are you [Person whose mail I keep getting]?”

Me: “No, I’m not. Her mail has been coming to my address for months now, but no one of that name has ever lived here. I don’t know who she is or where you can find her. If I knew how to contact her, I would tell her to stop sending me her overdue bills.”

Police Officer: “Do you know anyone who might know her location?”

Me: “You can try asking my landlord, but she didn’t recognize the name, either.”

I gave the police officer my landlord’s phone number and hoped it would help in clearing up the situation. The mail did start to slow down after about a week. The next time I talked to my landlord, she told me what had happened.

At an HOA meeting not long after the police officer contacted my landlord, she asked the other homeowners if they recognized the woman’s name. One of them did. She turned out to be an elderly woman with undiagnosed dementia, living alone. After moving into Unit 33 several months before, she had mixed up the address and thought she was in Unit 3, my unit. She used my address for all her contact information. Due to her mental state, she didn’t find it unusual that she simply stopped receiving bills upon moving in.

The police officer was looking for her, not to collect a debt, but to do a wellness check; an elderly person who stops paying bills for several months raises some red flags, after all. Once he found her and saw that she was clearly unable to live alone, he got in contact with her family. They found a safer living arrangement for her.

I’m glad the woman got the help she needed, but I started feeling pretty guilty once I learned the full story. I’d spent months feeling annoyed at this woman and suspecting her of fraud. All the while, she was in a vulnerable situation and might have gotten help sooner if I hadn’t just ignored her mail. Nothing like this has ever happened to me again, but if it does, I’ll bring it to someone’s attention far sooner.

This story is part of our Best Of February 2021 roundup!

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