Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hello this is your bank calling to shake you down for a couple of bucks

Today as I was waiting for my train, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize. It was an automated voice for a bank I didn't recognize, so I hung up. But then I started worrying. What if that was the first sign of a identity theft? Out comes my Evo phone- I pulled up Equifax and saw that my credit was still locked and no alerts had been issued.

I called the number back and was reconnected with the automated voice, which asked for the last four of my ssn. No way was I giving that to anyone, especially if I didn't know who they represented! Eventually I refused to enter my info enough times that I was directed to a person. I said, look, I don't even know who y'all are.

So then she said she was with a bank that I have a credit card account with, and that she was from the collections department. As far as I knew I was up to date on all my payments- I have them scheduled automatically every month. I told her I would contact the bank directly and hung up.

20 minutes later I am sitting out side of the American Museum of Natural History with my Evo's hotspot turned on so my iPad can access my bank info. I call the credit card bank and babble out the whole story about how I always pay and someone called and how do I know my identity hasn't been compromised...

Well it turns out that my automatic payment for the past month was $11.29 short of what they required. Why that would be is anyone's guess.  This is a static debt for me. I guess they raised the minimum and I didn't look at the statement email they sent. 

That little bit of missed money apparently was considered as being late payment and thus the collection service calls. I said to the guy, fine, I will pay it right now with my debt card. But he said that due to company policies, I could only make a payment on the phone for $105.29. And he said that I HAD to pay the $105.29 by March 8th. I told him that my next automatic payment would be on the 2nd. He said that in the mean time I would continue getting calls from the collection office and I could risk my credit score getting hit... Even though the required payment would be made days before their deadline.  I lost my cool and said, What? All this over $12.00? Are you Kidding me?

The guy felt the need to correct my rounding, pointing out that I did owe them $11.29. Only imagine that the 29 cents part was said with a staccato for each syllable.  And it is their policy to blah blah blah.
He was talking while I scheduled a payment for tomorrow on my bank's iPad app.

I've scheduled a payment, I told him. He said I still had 3 days before I would get more calls from collections so as long as the payment hit before then the matter would be solved. (I also asked him to verify if someone had called me this morning, just so I could stop worrying about my identity. His system showed that someone, presumably me, had called at 10:58 eastern (this guy is clearly a stickler for specifics) but had refused to confirm their identity.  so I don't have to worry about that).

Is anyone scratching their head other than me? It was less than $20 on a account that was always paid every month. Now, if you figure those collections phone operators get paid min wage...

It probably cost the bank more to have them call me than it was actually owed.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That guy needs to go work for the phone compnay in England. It was pretty much that bad all the time, only they hired out ALL their service calls to India to people who BARELY spoke English and would get mad at you when you couldn't understand them. I had one actually hang up on me because I said, "I'm sorry, I can't understand you." a couple times. Seriously!!! And it was ENGLAND. THEY SPEAK ENGLISH!


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