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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas, Credit and the Unibomber

We have been systematically closing all of our extraneous credit card accounts. Money is tight, credit cards are a temptation and most of our creditors would prefer we take our business elsewhere anyway. So yeah, it's one of those win/win things.

Anyway, the phone has been ringing off the hook from some number in an area code we've never heard of. Putting the number into a search engine I hit pay dirt.


Now several months ago I talked to Sears and told them to close the account and we made a pay off the balance with no interest arrangement. $78 a month for three months. Yeah, we're BIG spenders.

Last week they got their first 78 bucks. About four days later the phone started ringing. Yesterday the hubster answered. Answering a phone is no longer easy because there is seldom anyone on the other end of the line. But finally, contact was achieved. They wanted to know where the $78 dollars was. He explained that he had no idea what THEY had done with it but WE had handed it over. "No, you didn't, sir" said the nice lady with the thick Indian accent who's name was "Britany." "Yes, you did. You make up a check and you made up a check number and you posted it." "No sir, that check was returned."

Okay. The check is posted to our account, money is deducted and I have a lovely scan of said canceled check on my screen at that very moment. Britany kept telling us that wasn't really the case. Britany was looking at some other screen. I'm hardly pure as the driven snow but at 34 bucks a pop I'm damned careful about bouncing checks, the bank is making enough off of me without THAT donation. I figure I contributed to their bail out, I've contributed enough.

Needless to say the call did NOT end well. My husband was bandying the words "fraud" and "harassment" about by the time he and "Britany" had parted company. The phone, however, was blessedly silent the rest of the day. That lasted until 8:01am this morning. When the familiar 520 area code began popping up on the caller ID on the television. That's a seriously cool gizmo, btw, it shows up on the TV now that we've switched from cable to dish. One no longer has to move one's carcass off the sofa to see who's on the phone, one can sit on the couch and never miss a card on "Legend's of the World's Greatest Poker losses" while one waits breathlessly to see if the guy in the black hoodie can win enough to get his laundry done so he can wear something besides the black hoodie next time. Sorry, if my nickname was "the unibomber" I'd change my clothes but then, that's just me.

After about six such calls this morning my husband finally got someone to say hello on the other end.

The nice man with the heavy Indian accent who's name is "Ryan" said he was calling about our Sears Card. "Great. Are you calling to apologize?" hubby asked. "Um, apologize? I'm calling about your past due payment for $78.00" "The one you got last week?" was my husband's reply. "Let me check" answered "Ryan." "Yes, I see you made a payment last week. And you have an arrangement in place. Two more payments of $78.00 and your account will be at a zero balance. Is there anything else I can help you with?" "Sure" said my husband. "Would you mind telling me why you called?" After a pause of approximately 15 seconds, "Ryan" answered:

"I don't know."

And a peaceful and happy Christmas Eve to all who celebrate. And do those who don't as well.

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