Let me show you a little of why I hate the phone.
[SCENE:] Our heroine is sitting at home, idly surfing blogs and munching on popcorn. The phone rings; the Caller ID says ‘Unknown Call,’ but in the spirit of charity our heroine answers the phone.
Nearly Incomprehensible Woman: Hallo, may I speak with SADDA?
Me: Do you mean “Sara?”
NIW: Yes, please may I talk with SADDA?
Me: May I ask who’s calling, please?
NIW: Dis is Barbara! Hello!
Me: I’m sorry, Barbara who?
NIW: Barbara in Las Cruces! Hello! Are you SADDA?
Me: Yes, I am SARA. I don’t know any Barbara in Las Cruces, though, so unless you identify yourself very soon I am going to hang up.
NIW: Well, jeez, if you would give me a CHANCE! I am calling with [random Las Cruces company] aboud your accound with Roswell Medical Hospital.
Me: Excuse me, Roswell Medical Hospital?
NIW: Yes. Roswell Medical Hospital.
Me: I have never been to Roswell Medical Hospital.
NIW: De accound is for Pino Connor.
Me: Do you mean Connor Pino?
NIW: No, it is for Pino Connor.
Me: I see. Well, my son — Connor Pino — has never been to Roswell at all, and has certainly never received medical treatment there.
NIW: De accound is in the amound of [$$$]. You need to pay it right now. Do you have… credit cards, bake accounds?
Me: Ma’am, perhaps you didn’t hear me. My son has never been to Roswell. He has never been treated there. I am not giving you my account information until you prove, to my satisfaction, that this account is valid.
NIW: Hokay, SADDA. I am not going to errgue with you, so don’d be so rude to me. This is your accound. You need to pay it. Tell me, the address I have for you is [our address]. Is this right?
Me: Yes. May I ask how you obtained it?
NIW: Your address is in Rose-ah-velt Coudy. Your bill is with Rose-ah-velt General Hospital. I don’d see how your son has never bend there, your son lives there with you. Am I right?
Me: Excuse me? You just told me, twice, very clearly, that the account was with Roswell Medical Hospital. I verified this with you multiple times. How is it now an account with Roosevelt General Hospital?
NIW: Miss, I told you once, don’d be so rude. This will remaid on your credit shore. This will go to collectiod. You need to be paying me right now, I need your accoud nubbers, please.
Me: No. Both of my son’s recent treatments at this hospital were paid in full, by me, in cash. His visits before that were covered by Medicaid. You have not proven that this debt is valid. You don’t even seem to know who the debtor is, who the debt is for, or where the debt is owed.
NIW: Okay, miss. We don’d deal with… Medical. You are very rude to me. This is why you will have bad credit. This will go on your credit shore and we will call de lawyers.
Me: You do that. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Okay, a few things. First, my son has in fact been to Roswell once, which I completely forgot in the heat of the moment. He hasn’t been treated there, though, so my argument still held water.
Second, since when is insisting on knowing who you’re talking to considered “rude?” For that matter, since when is it considered proper professional phone use to cold-call clients and/or debtholders and identify yourself as if you’re a good friend? I’ve noticed this a lot lately and it drives me apeshit — in my day, professional calls began with, “Hello, my name is [name], and I’m calling on behalf of [company].” I understand that if your agency’s name implies debt collection you can’t give out the name until you’re sure of your mark, but a) this company’s name in no way implied collection, b) the woman could have said something like, “I’m calling to speak with Sara about a personal financial matter,” and c) it’s not rude of me to want to know who I’m speaking with, regardless of laws that make the matter awkward.
Finally, when attempting to collect a debt, it is your job to prove the debt’s validity. Having the name wrong — even if it’s as simple as being too stupid to know that “Pino, Connor” is last name, first name — is bad. Repeatedly and completely misidentifying the debtor is worse. Requesting credit card and bank account information straight out of the gate, when you know the debtholder is already skeptical, is worse yet. Refusing to offer evidence of a debt’s validity on the grounds that you don’t want to “argue” is the worst. I sincerely hope that “de lawyers” do, in fact, contact me so that I can be presented with a new ass to chew.
(We are not even going to get into the police circus at my house earlier, when our asshole shit-for-brains trashy neighbor kicked my cat three feet into the air and then almost assaulted my father-in-law, okay?)
Suffice it to say that this Valentine’s Day sucked. Cupid seems to be shooting arrows tipped with Crazy this year, and all I can do is wait for midnight and hope nothing else happens. Sheesh.