Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The GRRRR factor

It's a good thing it's been a few hours since I thought about writing this post, or there may have been some obscenities involved.


Back in February, I got a parking ticket downtown after dance one Sunday night. It was a STUPID parking ticket, cause the signs were TOTALLY not clear and it looked like it was free to park after 6 on weekends. I am not the only one who interpreted the sign this way. There were at least 6 others who scrutinized the sign with me at various times and agreed that, yes, indeed, parking was free after six.

So great was my assurance that I was right that I went down and took photos of the sign, sent them to the parking company, and told them that I was disputing my ticket. Of course, after sending the signs away, I saw that, yes, actually I DID have to pay after six. BUT IT WAS STILL UNCLEAR! And I hold to that to this day. They have since changed the signs. And upped the rates. D'oh.


The ticket was for something like 45 bucks, and $65 if I didn't pay it within a week or something. Well, I was contesting the ticket, so they told me that it wouldn't go up.

But then I got no answer from them about my email. One week went by, then two, then three. Four. Five. Then I got a letter from the parking company stating that I now owed $75 - the higher ticket price, plus interest and fees for who-knows-what.

So I emailed back, stating rather bluntly that, uh, no, I had contested, and hadn't heard from them in five weeks. So they emailed me back on April 12, complete with no less than 4 condescending paragraphs about private property, right to collect revenue, legal blahbitty blah, I had infringed, yadda yadda yadda. Yeah, whatever buddy. Shaddup. At the end of the email (and it was LONG!) they said they'd accept payment for $26.75 so long as I paid it within 7 days.

So I did. Fine. Got an email, thanks for paying, here's your confirmation number, done. Finito. Or so I thought.

Around mid May I began getting calls from a collection agency (which, as the recorded voice never actually said what it was about - "a very important business matter" - I had no idea and just hung up on them every time, so didn't actually know it was a collection agency till maybe July sometime.). They called every. single. day. I got letters. The amount was now up to ninety-something.

I called in July and they told me the details of my ticket, which wasn't even with the right parking company. Clearly they were on crack, so I decided to ignore them. And still they called.

Around September I got fed up with the calls and called them back to tell them to get lost, I'd paid eons ago. Of course, by this time, I was getting more threatening calls from a DIFFERENT collection agency saying that my credit rating was affected, I'd be taken to court, and all that blahbitty blah blah.

So I called the original collections agency again. I was not rude, but I was not polite, either. I've paid this flippin' thing, I have email confirmations to prove the mount we settled on, and that I'd paid, where do I send it off to?

I got the fax number, prepared the documents, and faxed it off with a cover letter saying in no uncertain terms that they were to stop calling me immediately, and repair any damage to my credit rating, and inform me in writing via email when this had happened.

That was about a month ago. No email, but really, I wasn't expecting one anyway. But no more phone calls, either.

Until last week. More threatening phone calls. Now the amount is $125. Usually they're on my machine, but the robot got me home tonight. I called. I left a message (which ticked me off, too, as their stupid rigmarole voicemail thing took me almost TEN minutes before it rang through to an agent, and by that time they were closed. They weren't closed when I called in the first place). I left an aaaangry message.

Honestly, WHAT do I have to do to get these ........ [words you don't want to hear] off my back?????

ARG! I'm SOOO angry! Just leave me the heck alone!

Blah. Somehow barfing all that up on my blog makes things feel better. But seriously. If they call me back again....

In other, happier news, one of my kidlets totally cracked me up today - and a real live crack up, not just one of those "over enthusiastic for the sake of the kid" kind of laughs.

In their writing books (journals) today, I told them that they were to imagine that they were a turkey, and that the farmer was looking forward to a yummy Thanksgiving dinner. They, as the turkey, had to tell the farmer why he shouldn't eat them, or maybe who or what to eat instead. So complete with ESL grammar and kid spelling (which I don't have here to replicate, I'm just going with the gist of the grammar), here's what one grade two boy wrote:

"I'm a turkey. If the farmer want to eat me, I tell him you don't want to eat me, I'm too skinny. You should go eat Mr Chicken. If he say no, then go ask Mrs Cow. If he say no, then go ask Mr Pig. If he say no, you can go eat rice."

Laughing, I asked, "Really? Rice!"

To which he replied, "Yeah. Rice can't talk back."


Melissa said...

I'm sory about this Hillary. Document everything and start sending things via post. In the USA we can send things by certified mail so there's a record that a letter was sent and recieved and we can request a signature from the recpient for further proof. Not sure if it's the same in CA. You need a paper trail of all of this to show someone. For anything you can't get that for (phone calls etc.) keep a written log. Dates, times, names of who called or who you spoke to etc. like a diary.

Additionally, you might want to go to the proper offices in person with all your correspondence and any records of payment with you, including the photos. Get names and signatures of anyone you speak to and whatever they tell you have them type it up on letterhead and sign it with you there and take the original with you -and don't take no for an answer if they don't want to do this. It could take an entire day and lots of waiting around but stick it out and then you'll be done with it for good.

-Then maybe you can sue them for harrassment ;)

nachtwache said...

Kids think in very simple, uncomplicated ways. That's cute, and true :)
To the harassing phone calls from the collection agency, once you tell them to stop calling, by law they're obliged to stop calling you. They can contact you by mail, they can take you to court, but they can't phone you anymore. If they do, they could get get huge fines.
Call ENQUIRY B.C., # 604 660-2421, it's in the blue govt. pages. They'll give you a the phone number for the right department, or sometimes connect you with the people dealing with these issues. When I used the service, it was a branch of the attorney general of BC. It helps if you have a name, of the collection agency, the agent calling or their phone number.
The collector got rude on the phone, I said:" who do you think you are?", he got cocky and proceeded to tell me his name :) He must have been reported before, they knew which company he worked for!
It's a free service. Good luck.

Jenn said...

oh, wow. I hope this settles out soon - that's getting ridiculous! I've heard stories of the scare tactics used and I just can't fathom that these agencies get away with this.

(and yay for silent rice!) :)

naclydogg said...

The sad part is you gave them the $26.75
Send them rice next time. I have walked many a block to not pay them for parking if it is who I think it is.