Guard Gone Goofy

, , , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

(I have a birth defect, spina bifida, which caused my legs and feet not to grow properly. Though I can stand and walk some, it is immediately exhausting and I can only walk with support. I use a wheelchair and drive with hand controls. I have a van which I put my wheelchair in from the back passenger door. One day, I drive up to a shopping center, park in a handicap spot, and start getting my chair out. I notice a security guard looking at my handicap license plate. That’s cool, no problem; you can’t tell I’m in a wheelchair right away and I hate when people park illegally. I get into my chair and smile at him. This is not some cheap hospital wheelchair someone might use to pretend they are handicapped; it is an expensive custom fit chair.)

Guard: “Ma’am, do you have your placard for this spot?”

(I look at the license plate he was just looking at, and then I look down at myself.)

Me: “Um… no, I have my license plate.”

Guard: “Oh… Well, I just want to make sure; people steal these spots from people who need them a lot.”

(I look down at myself, and then look at my license plate.)

Me: “Uh-huh…”

(The guard walked away after looking at me blankly for several seconds. I don’t know if he thought the chair meant I didn’t really NEED a close spot, thought I was faking it, or was just on automatic.)

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A Lot Of Fuss For Twelve Bucks

, , , , | Working | March 30, 2020

My company has a program where employees can buy products at a significant discount. One time they had an event at our site where we could try stuff out and then order what we wanted. The very next day the program changed to increase the discount so they refunded the difference in prices to all of us who had ordered at the event, which was quite nice.

My stuff all came except one part, which turned out to have been discontinued, so they canceled the order of that part and refunded the price to me — the original price I paid, not the lowered price. This netted me about an extra $12.

Being an honest guy, I asked how I could pay back the extra $12. After several weeks of back and forth, I ended up in a teleconference with my manager and two local site lawyers “live” and two lawyers at the corporate HQ via the phone. They discussed this for — I kid you not — almost a full hour before deciding I should make a payment of the $12 to the local finance people. Those people were quite confused when I made the payment to them and tried to explain why.

Later, my manager told me, “If anything like this happens again, just keep quiet.”

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This Debt Collector Had Better Hope HE Has Insurance

, , , , , | Healthy | March 29, 2020

(I’m a broke college student supporting myself with student loans, whatever hours I can get at my work-study job, and the small amount of money my parents can spare. Luckily, I’m still on my parents’ insurance. When I get into a bad bike accident and have to get stitches and x-rays at the hospital, their insurance covers the bill. It’s been a couple of months since then when I answer a call from a number I don’t recognize.)

Caller: “Am I speaking to [My Name]?”

Me: “This is her.”

Caller: “My name is [Caller], and I’m calling on behalf of [Debt Collection Agency] about an unpaid medical bill.”

Me: “What? I didn’t think I had any unpaid bills.”

Caller: “The bill is [amount] for an ambulance ride on [date of the bike accident].”

Me: “But my insurance covered that!”

Caller: “Sometimes insurance doesn’t cover certain services, like ambulances, if they are seen as unnecessary.”

(The ambulance was definitely necessary since there was a suspicion at the time that I’d seriously injured my neck and I was bleeding profusely from my head.)

Caller: “The billing department attempted to contact you multiple times, but you’ve consistently ignored them. Now the bill has been sent to us, and it will negatively affect your credit. However, if you pay it right now, we can try to remove it from your credit report. How will you be paying today, [Card #1] or [Card #2]?”

Me: “Um, I won’t be paying today. I need to contact my insurance company to see what’s going on. This should have been covered, and I’ve never heard of it before today.”

Caller: “If you don’t pay today, your credit will be negatively affected. You will never be able to get a loan, a mortgage, or a credit card.”

Me: “I need to talk to my insurance company before I do anything.”

(He keeps trying to convince me, so I eventually just hang up. I contact my insurance company and find that no claim was ever submitted for the ambulance trip and that they would have covered it if it was. Then, I call the hospital billing department to figure this out. It takes a very long time to reach the right person, but I finally find out what happened.

In an amazing display of incompetence, someone had billed it to the wrong insurance company in the wrong state using the wrong contact details. Obviously, that claim was denied, so they sent the bill to whatever address they’d written on the claim. With this level of screwing up, I’m guessing they mixed up my file with someone else’s.

Luckily, the person I talk to is more helpful, and she gets all the information she needs to submit the claim to my real insurance. She also promises to take the whole incident off my credit report once everything’s done. However, it will take several weeks at the very least for the claim to go through. In the meantime, I get another call several days later from the same bill collector.)

Caller: *after making sure he’s speaking to me* “Our records indicate that you still haven’t paid your bill. What payment method–”

Me: *cutting him off before he can get too far into this* “I’ve contacted my insurance and the hospital’s billing department and gotten the whole thing sorted out. There was a billing mistake. Many, in fact. But the claim has been properly submitted to my insurance now. It just takes a while to go through.”

Caller: “Well, you still haven’t paid. It’s on your credit report. I can’t take it off at this point since you’ve refused to pay it once already, but paying today will make sure your credit doesn’t get even worse. How will you be paying today, [Card #1] or [Card #2]?”

Me: “As I said, my insurance is paying it. We just have to wait for the claim to go through.”

Caller: “But your credit–”

Me: “The billing department said they’d take it off my credit report completely, as they’re the ones who made the mistake.”

Caller: “I’m looking at your credit report right now, and it’s not looking good.”

Me: “The claim was only submitted a few days ago. It hasn’t gone through yet.”

Caller: “If you pay in full right now, this will go away immediately. No need to wait for the claim to go through.”

Me: “Hold on. You want me to pay for something that I never needed to pay for in the first place, just to speed things up? That’s ridiculous! And even if I was going to pay, it’s not like I have that kind of money just lying around.”

Caller: “Surely you have some jewelry or electronics you could sell. I can give you the address of a pawn shop nearby.”

Me: “What? No! I didn’t mean I intended to pay you. My insurance is paying it directly to the hospital. We all just have to be patient.”

(This went back and forth for a while. It became clear that he was working on commission and wouldn’t get any money if the bill was paid through the insurance company. Eventually, I just had to hang up on him again, since it was obvious he was not giving up. He continued to call me multiple times a day for weeks, sometimes during class. Finally, the claim went through, and the debt collector stopped calling.)

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I Set Up The Payments And I Will Now Set The Phone Down

, , , , , | Working | March 27, 2020

(I’m married. While I love my husband very much, he’s not great with the administrative work of running a household. Because of this, I’m the one filling out forms, paying bills, lodging maintenance requests, etc. I work full-time; he is looking for work. Both our names are on the lease but my phone number is the primary contact. Our property manager has just changed, and the new guy is pretty old-fashioned. I get a call.)

Me: “[My Name] speaking.”

Property Manager: “Hello. Can I talk to the head of the household?”

Me: “This is she.”

Property Manager: “I mean [Husband].”

Me: *passing the phone to him* “It’s for you.”

(He listens to the phone for a few seconds, growing increasingly confused.)

Husband: “Uh… I don’t know about that. You should speak to my wife. She’s the one who set up those payments.”

(I get the phone back. It turns out that the property manager wants to know why we are paying by direct deposit instead of a rent card. I tell him I don’t want to pay a $2 fee every week just to pay my own rent, and I’m not interested in changing it. His last comment is a kicker.)

Property Manager: “I don’t get why [Husband] couldn’t tell me this. The head of the household should know what’s going on under their roof!”

Me: “She does, though.”

Property Manager: *click*

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In A Vicious Elliptical Cycle

, , , , | Working | March 26, 2020

(We’ve purchased an elliptical exercise machine to replace an old broken one. I am at the point in life where “delivery and setup,” even with a service charge, is a nice thing. The salesman pulls me aside.)

Salesman: “Uh, we’ve had some problems with this company. Expect a call from them within 24 hours to schedule a time. After that, they will call the day before delivery and cancel, typically rescheduling the delivery for the following week.”

Me: “Uh, okay.”

(I work from home, so while annoying, this isn’t inconvenient. Also, the neighborhood I live in is fairly new, with several houses still under construction. The back-and-forth between myself and the delivery company plays out pretty much like the salesman said, except I get a call on the rescheduled delivery day:)

Delivery Company: “We’re really backed up, so we’ve outsourced your delivery and setup to another company. They should be there today.”

Me: “Okay, thanks.”

(They show up as expected and do a great job setting up the new elliptical.)

Me: “Thanks, guys. Uh… how much to haul off the old elliptical?”

Delivery Guy: “Does it still work?”

Me: “No, the bearings are shot.”

Delivery Guy: “$20 okay?”

Me: “Sure!”

(I gave them $20 plus a nice tip. They hauled off the old elliptical and I was happy… until the next day, when I saw my old elliptical peeking out the top of a construction dumpster one street over.)

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