Which people, you ask? All of them. Him. Her. You.
I’m well aware that people are prone to the occasional contretemps or miscalculation – I am generally a very forgiving person. But recent efforts put forth by multiple institutions to complicate my life have been, I assure you, nothing short of epic. I mean, I don’t want to come out and say conspiracy just yet, but it certainly bears a striking resemblance to a collaborative exercise.
Offense the first: Some weeks ago, I ordered pizza from a place called Hounddog’s in the campus area. The total came to $18 and change, including tip. A few days later, I went online to pay some bills from my bank, and I noticed that my account was nearly $1000 overdrawn. I didn’t panic immediately – figuring there was simply a charge that had been charged in error to my account. Indeed, it was so. Hounddog’s charged me $1,678 for a pizza. To be fair, it was a large pizza, but the charge still seemed off somehow.
I called my bank immediately – happily there were no overdraft charges appearing on my account just yet. I assured them the charge was a mistake and that I would call the merchant directly after hanging up with them. I called the restaurant – they said they caught the mistake seconds after it went through and they had already reversed it. Excellent. Back to dealing with the bank – told them the story and asked if I would be subject to fees since the charge had already been reversed and no fees had appeared yet. Unfortunately charges to the account go through immediately while credits take several days to clear, meaning that I would, in fact, be charged fees for each day my account was overdrawn.
“Sorry, there’s nothing we can do about that.” Goddammit.
In addition, I had made several other charges on the card, unaware that I actually had no money at the time. I got fees for each of those charges too. And since it was the restaurant’s fault, the bank wants me to get reimbursed for the nearly $300 in fees from Hounddog’s before even talking to me about what they can do to fix it. This all happened around June 25, and I’m still trying to get them to pay up.
Offense the second: My electric company grossly underestimated my bill over the last couple of months. So when they did an actual reading, I got hit with a $500 electric bill to cover the difference. That wouldn’t suck quite so hard if my checking account wasn’t $300 short . . .
Offense the third: After I switched my cell phone over to a company paid plan, I got a prorated bill from Verizon for the portion of the month during which the phone was still my responsibility. I attempt to login to my account on Verizon’s site to pay. However, as the account is not technically mine anymore, I no longer have access to the online utilities. Fine. So, I call them to make a payment over the phone. The woman asks for my phone number and looks up the associated account. She informs me that I’m not showing any balance on that account – it has apparently been taken care of. This sounds like good news to me, so I leave it at that.
A month later, I get another bill. I make another phone call. I get more assurance that I owe nothing on that account.
Today, I got a notice from Verizon that they are about to turn my account over to a collection agency. I try once again to pay the bill over the phone. I give the woman my phone number, my social security number and a number present on the nasty “you owe us money” letter. She finds the account – and says “Oh, you let this get very overdue – we’re about to write this off for collections.” I say, yes, I know. May I please pay it over the phone? This issue looks to be at rest now – I’m told I’ll get a receipt in the mail in a few days confirming it as a dead issue. Plus I have her name and a confirmation number, just in case I need to attach a name to a fuck up this time. You may yet hear from me again, Tammy.