Battling with the queen of the bitches

I moved from Ghent to Leuven 1,5 year ago. At that moment I obviously cancelled all my utilities contracts, internet subscriptions etc etc... while checking cancellation periods and cancellation procedures etc...

You can imagine I was rather shocked to receive a letter in June from a collection agency with the request to pay an outstanding internet invoice that I would have failed to pay. The amount had already more than doubled due to administration costs. If I failed to pay within x days, it'll all get worse etc etc... Immediately I remembered all the trouble we've had in the past with Scarlet and since a collection agency was already involved, I feared this wouldn't get easy either. But I was certain I did not have to pay this unknown invoice as it dated from after my cancellation period.

A phone call to the former internet provider Tele2 turned out easier than I had expected it to be: the agent on the phone confirmed to me that this must be a mistake as the invoice dated from 2 weeks after my cancellation period. They'd make a creditnote for the same amount and contact the collection agency to stop their procedure. After some enquiries she managed to take note of my new address to ensure she didn't send off the credit note to my former address in Ghent as I really wanted a written proof that the situation was ok.
That same day I got a second letter from the collection agency, but that must have been sent before Tele2 could have taken action so I ignored it.

....

3 weeks later I had not received a credit note yet and just when I started to worry, I got a third letter from the agency. The interest they were charging me was getting higher and higher and I was now officially declared as failing something (there is some legal Dutch term for it which I cannot translate). If I didn't pay within 5 days, it'll proceed to a judicial officer (who have the power to come and get stuff out of your house in worst case).

Then I made the mistake to make a phone call the the collection agency itself. I had not expected a friendly and easy call but I had not prepared myself for a battle with the queen of bitches either. When I started to enquire why the procedure had not been stopped yet and if they had not received the notification from the internet provider that the invoice was wrong, I got interrupted right away in a very rude way. I tried to stay firm , consistent and polite and urged Mrs Superbitch to let me finish my sentence.

"no I had to listen to her, because I knew very well I had to pay this invoice. I might have cancelled my subscription in January and I was no longer customer since February but this invoice dated end of February applied on costs made in January and I knew that very well"
"the internet company Tele2 had nothing to do with my file anymore as they had legally transfered my file to the collection agency so they could not help me in any way. And why would they even try to help me since I was no longer customer. Why would I think they'd bother at all?"
"the fact that I had never even seen this invoice was irrelevant. She had proof in front of her(computerlogs etc) that the internet company had actually sent me the invoice ...If they would not have had that proof in their hands, Tele2 would have never been able to transfer my file to the collection agency. If I had not received the invoice I could always try to sue my postman but frankly she couldn't care less. Besides, I had not mentioned my new address to the internet company upon cancellation of my subscription (eum...true...why would I?) and that was a breach of contract. If I would have read my contract well, I would have known that".

Whenever I tried to say something she immediately interrupted me and launched another salvo of intimidating insults.

"What do you want to do....go to court for this one invoice?"
"I had to listen to her because I had still not paid and they had already sent 3 letters. Clearly I was being stubborn to this. I had to make my own decision, but from next week onwards the outstanding amount would have been multiplied by ten. But hey, it was my choice...frankly, the longer I waited the better for them, so she didn't care. But I simply had to listen so I wouldn't be whining the next week and claiming that I had not known what was about to happen".


Seriously after that phonecall, my hands were shaking and I had tears in my eyes from feeling so helpless and angry. Wow, that agency sure had the right woman in place at the right spot. Anyone would pay her a gift, just to make sure she stopped talking!!!!!! Even though I knew she was wrong....because I did NOT have to pay that wrong invoice, I did feel intimidated. And I worried that they would go up the next step before I could fix the situation somehow. The thought that it was not worth all the discussions and stress and potential problems and that I maybe should quickly pay what they asked for, crossed my mind for a moment.

So I phoned back to Tele2. The agent on the phone was very friendly and helpfull again and she admitted right away again that I did not have to pay the invoice. But they had somehow not gotten around to actually creating the credit note and stopping the collection agencies procedure. She confirmed to me that they were legally allowed to still stop the procedure at the collection agency (unlike what they told me) because this invoice was faulty. I tried to be very friendly and firm (from the past, I have learned that aggressive and angry phone calls only trigger defensive reactions) but also sounding desperate to convince her to act immediately. She assured me that she understood the urgency and that I could be 200% it would be ok that afternoon.



But I didn't trust it anymore. I did not dare to sit and wait for a credit note anymore. The next day I called back and got confirmation that the credit note was made, my balance was zero and the collection agency had gotten instructions to close my file. But they can't confirm that on fax or e-mail. Argh. A little bit anxious I phoned the collection agency as well where now a very sweet lady with warm voice answered "oh but that file has been closed. You really shouldn't worry anymore".

So I don't....but I'll be really happy if the credit note is in the mail as a physical proof. Then I'll be certain to have won my little battle with the queen of all bitches.


PS: I actually pity her. Does she play a role (how shyzofrenic would that be?) or is she all the time like that. How sad to have such a horrible personality!!!!!!!!

Comments

lies said…
You go girl! Wat goed dat je hebt doorgezet en je niet hebt laten intimideren! Er zullen genoeg mensen zijn die gewoon zouden betalen om "er vanaf te zijn". Wij hebben hier ooit iets gelijkaardigs meegemaakt met UPC. Ze zetten blijkbaar altijd hetzelfde soort bitch op de juiste plaats.
Lilacspecs said…
I had similar situation with a workman's compensation claim I made when I fell off a later and severely sprained my wrist at work about 6 years ago. The story is waaaay too long and annoying to get into but I had a creditor on my back about it for the next 5 years, despite the fact that I had filed everything correctly, followed all the procedures and gotten guarantees from everyone I spoke to that the matter was settled.
What a horrible situation! I hope it's finalized in writing very soon.
Alex Elliot said…
I am so sorry you went through that! I hope it's set straight soon. I wonder what the credit card collector is like at a holiday party. Bet she's not a barrel of laughs!
anno said…
What a bureaucratic nightmare! I suppose it's small consolation to imagine that this woman has bad hair, chronic halitosis, and spends her friendless evenings finding solace in cheap gin. I hope your persistence pays off and this horrible situation is quickly resolved.
Snooker said…
In my experience these "bitches" are paid based on the amount of money that they bring in to the agency. Thus they are willing to do whatever is necessary to "guilt" people into paying.

Remember that the great majority of people she speaks with are deadbeats and do not have a valid excuse as you did...

Regardless, I imagine it to be a horrible job which for me ranks somewhere around used car salesman, and I second what Anno says, I bet her life is not a pleasant one.

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