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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Data Protection Protects You From Callers Like Her

, , , , , | Legal | May 16, 2019

(I am working in the collections department for an energy supplier when I get a call from a woman regarding a letter she says she received. She says she has a question about it. She gives me a reference number and I pull up the account.)

Me: “I’ve got the account up. May I ask your name?

(The customer gives me her name and it is the same as on the account. I then ask her to confirm address and DOB, both of which match what is on the account.)

Me: “Thank you for confirming those details. What was your query?”

Customer: “Yes, what is this letter all about?”

Me: “There is a balance on the account. It needs to be paid. You owe [amount].”

Customer: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “I’m not seeing any payments since [date].”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. This isn’t my account.”

Me: “Your name is on the account and you confirmed the address.”

Customer: “No, no. This letter isn’t for me. This is my friend’s account. My name is [Different Name].”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, I can no longer discuss the account with you without the customer’s permission. Is the customer there?”

Customer: “You just broke the data protection law. You disclosed my friend’s details.”

Me: “Actually, madam, you committed fraud.”

Customer: “No, I didn’t. I never said I was the customer. You broke the law; now you’re going to lose your job. I’m going to report you.”

Me: “Actually, madam, when I asked what your name was, you told me it was [Customer’s Name], when I asked what your address was, you said it was [Customer’s address], and when I asked you to confirm your date of birth, you told me it was [Customer’s DOB]. You pretended to be your friend, which is fraud.”

Customer: “No, I didn’t. If you heard that, that’s your fault. I’m going to report you!”

Me: “You are welcome to report this to the data commissioner. I’ll get you the details if you like. We are obligated to report this incident, as well, and will send the recording of this call to prove what was said.”

Customer: “How dare you say that to me?! Get me your manager!”

(I got my manager, who took over the call. My manager promised to listen to the call and arranged to call the woman back once she had done so. Later that day, my manager came and spoke to me. She listened to the call and confirmed that the customer definitely committed fraud – she clearly said her name, address, and DOB were the customer’s. My manager gave me an anti-fraud form to fill in so it could be passed on to the police. During the call, the woman gave me her full name, and she gave my manager several phone numbers when they arranged the callback, one of which was a work number. My manager also got the woman’s address because she wanted me to write her a formal apology for accusing her of committing fraud. All these details went on the form we sent to the police.)

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Money Makes The World Burn Down

, , , , , , | Legal | April 23, 2019

Years ago, my brother was working as an accountant for a small chain of mini-marts. Since he was considered management, he was not eligible for overtime, but they wanted him weekly to be on call and to come in on his day off to some task that was not part of his job and not a management task. California law indicated he might be eligible to collect overtime for that after all.

So, he requested about $10,000 to cover the unpaid overtime. The company refused, so he took them to the Labor Board.

He lost his suit with the Labor Board, but as part of the investigation, the Labor Board discovered that the company was shorting the overtime for other employees. The company was forced to pay the overtime and close to $100,000 in fines.

In addition, the investigator discovered that the company had official inventory taken, but then fudged the numbers on the tax returns and kept both the correct and the fraudulent inventories. So, the investigator turned them into the IRS. They were audited and ended up paying close to $500,000 in back taxes and fines.

This put a major crimp in the savings and income of the partners. Whether it was because she didn’t have enough spending money or because she did not want to be associated with the cheats, one of the partner’s wives filed for divorce and in the community property state, she ended up with a quarter of the business, which she insisted on taking in cash.

This resulted in the company going bankrupt. And it all could have been avoided for $10,000.

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Self-Tipped

, , , , , , | Legal | April 6, 2019

My husband and I went out to eat at a wings restaurant. We had a great meal, paid, and left. My husband has a tendency to forget things, so I always go through the same spiel anytime we go anywhere. Do you have your phone? Keys? Wallet? Sure enough, he had left his wallet at the restaurant.

We went back and they brought it out to us from lost and found. My husband looked inside to see if everything was there, and there was a $100 bill missing. The week prior was his birthday, and his coworker/mentor gave him $100 as a gift. My husband had been saving it to buy a nice jacket, which we were going shopping for later that day, so I know for sure the money was in the wallet.

When we realized that the money was gone, we asked for a manager. We pointed out the waitress, who denied taking it. We asked to see the cameras, but the manager said in order for us to watch them we had to file a police report, but he himself watched the video and said he saw no one open the wallet. I don’t know if he really watched the video, though, because he didn’t seem to be gone long enough. At this point, we were at a loss of what to do, and the manager was acting as if we were lying and asked us to leave.

We did call the police, but it was going to be a lot of red tape to get them involved, and my husband was so angry he just said forget it. I think the waitress took the wallet away from the cameras, anyway, to take the money.

The very next morning, I got a call from our bank asking if we had tried to purchase a really expensive gaming system online. The charge had occurred the night before and was declined. No, it was not us; neither of us plays video games. We had to cancel our card and get a new one issued, and I am positive that the waitress must have written down the card info from my husband’s wallet. After reading stories on NotAlwaysRight, I can totally see how the manager thought we were trying to scam them. But sometimes, the customers aren’t lying.

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“Check” The Date

, , , , | Right | April 3, 2019

(We have recently been reminded of the importance of following check-cashing rules, as one branch in the next county took a huge loss for cashing a large stolen check. A customer walks in.)

Customer: “Hi. I’d like to cash this.”

(I notice that the check is post-dated for the next week. We are not allowed to cash these until the date written on the check.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, sir, but this check is dated for next week.”

Customer: “So?”

Me: “[Bank] regulations state that I can’t cash a check that is dated in the future. I would suggest going back to the person who wrote you the check and seeing if they can get you a new one. Or, you can hold onto it until next week.”

Customer: “Why can’t I just change the date? I’ll do that right now!”

Me: “Um, sir, you actually can’t do that. It’s against federal—“

(Before I can stop him, he starts scribbling out the date and writing in a new one. The check is now considered an “altered check,” and cashing it would go against federal bank regulations. I could get fired for cashing it.)

Customer: *proudly* “THERE! Fixed!”

Me: “I still can’t cash it.”

Customer: “Why the h*** not?!”

Me: “As I was trying to explain, you can’t change any information on a check you haven’t written. It’s now an altered check, and per federal regulations, we can’t accept it. Whoever cashes it could get fired. I have to tell you to go get a new check now.”

Customer: “What if I go to another branch and find someone else to do it? HUH? What then?”

Me: “Then you could get another teller in trouble, sir. Please don’t—“

(The customer runs out the door, shouting that he’s going to go to another branch, and I’ll never guess which one. I sigh, pick up the phone, and call the manager at the only other branch in the area.)

Me: “Hey, [Customer] is coming your way with an altered check. I saw him do it. I told him he had to get a new check, but he ran out of here shouting that he was going to go to another branch…”

Manager: “Oh, we know him. I’ll have a chat with him when he gets here. Thanks!”

(They made him go get a new check. He was shocked that they knew what was happening when he showed up.)

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