Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why me?

I have recurring nightmares about forgetting to pay a bill for months and then I end up owing around $20,000.  And businesses are convinced this will really happen to me.

First there was the US Department of Ed that said I owed them $9000 for a clerical error (not on my part).  Then there was the same agency that allocated my student loan payments incorrectly and paid the loan not due and completely skipped the loan that was due resulting in late fees and a tremendous payment due the next month.  I finally got that corrected.

Now there is Verizon.  Who I have not had any business with since I cancelled my account in October.

I decided I was fed up with their service when I kept losing my internet connection because I lived too far away.  Of course, I live within two miles of their local corporate office, and near the airport as well as a university.  I'm not out in the sticks.  Yet I couldn't get decent service.  So I cancelled and went with a competitor (whose customer service reps are NOT located in India, by the way).  I've never been happier.

Until today when I received a call from a collection agency about a 6 month old bill from Verizon for $53.00.  Instead of paying it through the collection agency (much to the agent's chagrin when she saw her commission disappear), I called Verizon.  I was familiar with this bill.  And I wasn't paying it now.

Here is my side of the events.

October:  Cancel shoddy service.
November:  Receive a bill for $53.  Go online to pay it and be rid of them forever.  Except my online statement says everything is paid in full.  It won't let me pay extra...
December:  Receive another bill for $53.  Go online to pay it and my balance owed is still $0.00.  I call them to figure out what is wrong and I am told that the paper bill is a mistake and I don't owe anything.
January:  Receive yet another bill for $53.  Go online to check, it still says $0.00 so I throw it away.
May:  Get the call from collection agency for $53 in delinquent debt.

I don't know why trying to find a phone number for a communications company is so difficult, but I finally find it buried in their website (of course, not in the "Contact Us" section...).

The first lady I speak to asks me why I didn't pay the bills the first time and she quotes me all of the dates the bills were paid.  I run through my side and tell her that I don't understand the discrepancy between what they say I owe and why my online account was paid in full.  She then goes into detail about the charges. 

Me:  I'm sorry, I don't think you understand the part I have an issue with.

Verizon:  I understand.  You owe $53. 

Me:  I'm not disputing the charge, I'm just trying to figure out your dual accounting systems...

Verizon:  I'll transfer to the website support department.

Me:  Noooo, this is a billing issue.  You are in the billing department.  Don't just transfer me to random departments to get rid of me.

She transferred me.  But at least it was to some other bowels of the billing department.

Verizon:  Yes, I see where we sent you three paper bills.  And you neglected to pay all of them.  Would you like to use our pay by phone service?

Me:  No.  I'm not paying.

Verizon: owe the money.

Me:  I know.  But you screwed up.  I TRIED to pay the money.  Numerous times.  And you kept telling me I didn't owe it.  And now  you have turned it over to a collection agency and harmed my credit.  You owe me.  It shouldn't take over 6 months to get this taken care of.  So as a courtesy you can erase the debt.

Verizon:  Oh, I wish I could stop paying my bills because I didn't WANT to...but the world doesn't work that way.  You owe the money.  I don't care if you pay today or later, but you still owe it.  You owed it six months ago.  That hasn't changed.

Me:  Right.  I got it.  But I, in good faith, tried to pay the debt.  And you said I didn't owe it when I called in December.  I don't understand why I suddenly owe it now.

Verizon:  You've always owed it.  How do you want to pay?

Me:  Again, not paying.

Verizon:  But you have to.  See when you cancelled your service, we changed your account number and the remaining charges of $53 were on the new account number which wouldn't show up online.  So you still owe it. 

Me:  Creative accounting at its best.  I would like to speak to your supervisor.

Verizon:  They are just going to tell you the same thing.  You need to pay.  You don't get to pick and choose what bills to pay and which ones to skip.  Which is why it ended up with the collection agency. 

Me:  Whatever.  I asked to speak to your supervisor.

Verizon:  That's not going to change anything.

Me:  What part of this is hard to understand?  I. Want. To. Speak. To. Your. Supervisor.

Verizon:  Fine.  Hold on.

Me:  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  If he disconnects me I'll kill him.  Waiting.  Waiting.

Verizon:  You win.  My supervisor agreed to forgive the $53.  You now owe nothing.  Just like you wanted.  Are you happy you got your way?

Me:  Very.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Ahhh, lovin' the medicated life

*Disclaimer:  Since it has been two months since I last wrote a post, Blogger has changed their format and I can't figure a thing out.  It took me over five minutes just to figure out HOW to write a it can only go downhill from here.

About two months ago (exactly when I quit writing) I was prescribed Zoloft for depression and anxiety.  I didn't realize how much my anxiety was affecting me until it was gone.  Suddenly, I could drive without screaming obscenities...I could visit the grocery store without my blood pressure shooting way up....I stopped wanting to punch just about anyone I talked to....I have stopped being all yelly at just about any customer service rep.  I am now calm and composed.  I am the honey badger - I just don't care.  Zoloft is magic! 

I have been enjoying the new me.  I am not a fake happy, I have just lost my scary edge.  But, it was my edge that also gave me my funny (ie - cynical) view on life.  Hence the lack of posting for a while.

Until yesterday.  I needed an eyebrow wax...desperately!  I stopped at WalMart two days in a row and they were too busy to do it.  Really?  That many people get their hair cut at WalMart?  Not really.  One day the employee was drying her own hair.  I don't know why.  I guess it was wet.  But I couldn't get my brows done because she was doing her own hair.  I didn't yell.  I didn't get sarcastically rude (which is often lost on the type of employee who would dry their own hair in front of waiting customers).  I just looked at her and left. 

I went to the mall and decided on a whim to go to the brow kiosk outside of Barnes & Noble.  Because I thought getting my eyebrow hairs yanked out with dental floss in the middle of the mall was a good idea.  The girl that barely spoke English took my glasses away and had me climb into the torture chair. 

She first offered to remove my moustache.  I tried to inform her I didn't have a moustache and she shoved a mirror in my face and pointed to absolutely nothing above my lip.  I assured her I didn't have a moustache and she started poking my upper lip.  I finally convinced her that I liked my invisible facial hair and she went to work on my wooly worm eyebrows.  As she was twisting the string around my eye area a guy walked up to the counter.  All I could see was a bald, mostly red blob. 

Reddish blob - "I can go out to my truck and get my lawnmower.  It'd make your job easier."

Girl who spoke little English - "huh?"

Reddish blog - "My LAWNMOWER!  Looks like you need it to tackle that job!"

By the time his comments made it through my Zoloft Shield of Happiness he had wandered off.   So now I had been insulted not once, but twice.  First by the girl insinuating that I had high testosterone levels and some stranger who thought it was appropriate to offer the use of his lawn care equipment on my forehead.

As I paid I asked the girl where the guy went.

Girl who spoke no English - "huh?"

Me - "The guy.  The lawnmower guy.  I want to know where he went."

Girl who barely knew what planet she was on just pointed out to the center of the mall.  I knew I couldn't find the comedian because all I knew was that he was fat and in a red shirt.  Along with about 10 other men within sight.  I don't know what I would have said to him if I found him.  But I knew it wouldn't be pretty. 

My edge was back.