Yesterday, I spent most of the day on the phone with creditors. Unfortunately this time in my life with paying for school as well as paying for the mortgage and upkeep of a house that I no longer live in has taken its toll on my ability to pay my bills. Gone are the days when I could buy things without really paying attention to my account balance. My financial situation right now is precarious, to say the least.
Before coming to school, I bounced a check. Irresponsible, yes. Until that point, I hadn’t bounced a check since undergrad. But that is neither here, nor there. The debt passed to a law firm and together we agreed upon a payment plan that was automatically taken out of my account at the first of each month.
Last month, I got a threatening letter from a collection agency saying that I had 48 hours to respond, my account was in arrears and they would shut down all my accounts, etc. I called and inquired about why my account was moved, they had no answers and suggested that I call the law firm.
When I called the firm, I asked the account rep why my account was moved when I was following my payment plan. He responded with, “it looks like you were offered a settlement which you apparently didn’t take advantage of.”
Excuse me? I was taking advantage of it as seen by my payment history.
He then tried to insinuate that I wasn’t paying the debt fast enough to which I responded that this was a payment plan that we agreed to. I getting more upset by the minute, not only with his arrogant tone, but the fact that he was making assumptions about me instead of looking at my account to see what the issue was. He transferred me to a manager who then stated that he didn’t know why the account was moved and it was at the company’s discretion.
I then called the collection agency back and got connected to this hick bitch. I use the word because it is a truism. I attempted to explain my situation to which she nastily replied, “Honey, this is a not a bill, this is a debt. The company has no responsibility to finance your debt.”
I HATE when people call me “Honey.” Another blog…another blog. Anyway, I agreed but said what can I do, I don’t have the money right now.
She said, “Well, the company didn’t ask to get their money piecemeal so I suggest you borrow the money and pay now.” She was just so nasty. Disgust just dripping from her voice. I felt powerless, frustrated and dejected.
After a pause, I told her, “You really get off on this, don’t you.”
Oh, she got mad and upset and started raising her voice at the very proposition that she got enjoyment from being a bitch. I finally asked for her manager and thought she hung up on me.
When a manager came on the phone, I explained to him the problem with his employee and he was very conciliatory. We spoke about my problem and we worked out the same payment plan that I was paying before. I told him that there was a problem with this lady and she shouldn’t talk to people like that. I’m sure she has a difficult job, but it’s my intuition that people who actually get a letter AND CALL, are probably attempting to pay their bills.
This is just one bill but I can just imagine from this experience the sense of worthlessness and shame one has to go through if you are in a bad financial situation. The aggravating phone calls to your home and workplace with employees who think they are better than you because they are collecting debts. The nastiness and ignorance of the employees who seem to use their jobs to take out frustrations about their own, most likely, low-income, debt-ridden, stress-filled lives. The time involved in calling these agencies and looking up past bills and gathering information to fight against some of these creditors. It’s no wonder that people dodge or raise hell with creditors.
My debt does not erase my humanity.