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Amy Is Annoyed Again


I get my mail at a mailbox rental place in Santa Monica -- as do about a hundred other people.

I started getting calls on Wednesday morning from Chase asking for "Deborah" and I can't remember the guy's name. Well, it turns out, if somebody isn't paying their bill, Chase (and probably other companies) just search for anybody else at that address and bug the crap out of them.

Telling them there's no Deborah here hasn't done the job. They just hang up and call again the next week. Finally, I called them. I explained that not only do I not know Deborah, I don't live in the 4 x 4 x 15" metal box where I get my mail. Grrrr. And naturally, they call when they're sure to get you.

I sleep late on Wednesday because I wake up at 4am on Tuesday to make my deadline, then I'm up into the evening. No...correction: I sleep late on Wednesday except when Chase gives me a jingle at 8:10 a.m. to let me know that total strangers are LATE ON THEIR BILL!

Posted by aalkon at August 2, 2006 11:53 AM

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A collection agency in Iowa (Nebraska?) has been calling at a growing interval since I got this phone number after moving here in 2001. They won't let go of the number, because it's all they have for collecting the debts of a woman named Jane Falken, who had the number in 1998. Ever X months or so, they hire some pathetic new fuck and hand them the file of unproductive numbers, and this one's in there. For the first two years I was polite with them. Lately it's become a great place to dump the miscellaneous rage from urban life! Nowadays when these people phone, I go all Gibson on them. I call them vile names; I mock their racial and religious heritage; I belittle the slope of their breasts (women) or ridicule their diminished tumescence (men). I describe the horrific fates that our cold planet invariably brings to weak minds and incompetent spirits such as their own. The trick is to be as mean as possible as quick as posssible. This ends the phone call sooner, which allows everyone to move on to productive things. So it's really just a way to be helpful; you've got to be cruel to be kind!

They haven't called since Thanksgiving '05. If you know someone in WLA named Jane Falken, tell her to pay her fucking bills.

Posted by: Crid at August 2, 2006 7:47 AM

We had to face a similar nightmare. We started asking with a stroppy voice "what's your name?", "your number?", "your address?" We systematically prevented them from asking questions, firing back questions about their identity, and pointing out that we were gathering evidence against them for a lawsuit.

We finally wrote a very business-like, bullet-point, certified letter to the CEO of the company. We included our logs [they showed we were keeping track]; mentioned that this could degenerate into a suit with damages for harassment; suggested that he has his legal department contact us if he needed more information, so we could put them in touch with our lawyer. Polite, unemotional, straight to the point.

Like Crid, we had to play ugly [they asked for it], but it worked. Don't let them waste any more of your time and well-deserved sleep. Strike back now -- they'll never go away otherwise. Changing your phone number won't be enough, as they could affect the credit of your "new" [real] I.D.

Posted by: LA Frog at August 2, 2006 9:13 AM

My Partner and I run a gift shop here in lovely Jackson, Mississippi.I'm a big Alkon fan....and yes some of us in Redneckssissippi can read. Recently we arranged DSL and phone service for our shop and at our home. Everything was fine until about a week later. We got a call from a friendly lad who was "just checkin' to make sure we are pleased with our service." I told him that all is well. He then proceeds to tell me that his records show we could qualify for a faster service at the shop for only $10 more a month. I said no. We get a call 2 days later for the same thing. I politely tell them that I am happy and to please stop calling. Get this....another call comes in about 3 days after that. I'm livid at this point and tell them to fuck off. It's just irritating. What was initially a nice gesture is now a nightmare. I realize they were'nt in the slightest bit concerned if my service was fine. They just want to squeeze every fucking penny out of me. Fuck Bellsouth.

Posted by: lizalounge at August 2, 2006 9:38 AM

Amy, The Onion has a story about you!

Posted by: Todd Fletcher at August 2, 2006 9:46 AM

As for that story in the Onion, I see nothing wrong with broken legs!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 2, 2006 9:57 AM

lizalounge: get on the Do Not Call Registry:
It works wonders, and you can file a a complaint against those who keep calling (hefty fines -- they get the message).

Posted by: LA Frog at August 2, 2006 11:18 AM

I had some dope from a collection agency call me to tell me about the debt owed by some renters across the street. I barely knew the guy's name, and told the guy so--and asked him what the hell was he trying to do? get money from ME to pay a stranger's bills?

Don't call me again or I'll call the cops, I said.

I have never heard from them again-- and of course the deadbeat is LONG gone.

Posted by: Deirdre B. at August 2, 2006 1:56 PM

Do-not-call legislation does not apply to business-to-business solicitation, or businesses that you are currently doing business with for residential calling.

Posted by: eric at August 2, 2006 2:04 PM

I had a similar situation, only more-so. I started getting messages from debt collection agencies on my home phone for some girl I have never heard of. I've had my phone number for almost 10 years. Within a week, though, I was getting 4 messages a day every day for this girl. 4 a day, every day!

I had to spend a lot of time calling these places back and explaining. And of course they don't believe you at first... and when you finally convince them to stop calling, they start again a week or two later.

I did finally get all of them to stop calling by being very firm (though polite) and mentioning a harrassment lawsuit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I haven't gotten a call from them in over two months now.

Posted by: squinky at August 2, 2006 7:05 PM

Credit card companies a the leeches of the world.

Posted by: claudia at August 2, 2006 7:05 PM

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