So, a back story. First, I want to say I totally take full accountability that I defautled on my card from HSBC. Not that I couldnt afford it, but after moving and forgetting to do a change of address with them, stuff got lost in a shuffle, and out of sight, out of mind and I spaced it. That being said, I will also admit I'm not the best when it comes to managing my money. I tend to be somewhat conservative with my spending, but I do splurge once in a while. Once of my new years resolutions is to be more mindful of my spending, and to get 75% of my debt (aside from my car) paid off before the end of the year, this coming to light after my FICO score went from about 740 down to something, well, a hell of a lot lower, mostly in part due to my HSBC card.
I've also work in a call center for a cell phone company which strives itself over its customer service. I deal with customers who call in full of piss and vinegar, and I can do a pretty good job at de-escalating and calming them. So having to endure this was like Chinese water torture.
On Wednesday I got a loverly collection letter from National Enterprise Systems for what I owed HSBC, $947.59. Along with an offer that they would settle for 80% ($758.07) if I were to call them. Now, I can pay $758.07 by the end of the month. Granted money would be tight, but I can. So I called their toll free number to take up this offer and to let them know my intentions to pay half this coming Friday, the 16th, and the rest on the 30th, both are days I get paid. Then everyone is happy!
So I call them, and after navigating their little intro phone menu, then on hold for about 2 minutes (with nothing but hearing a phone ring the whole time... hold music anyone?), I get greeted with a brusque and stern female (hereafter referred to as BSF) saying, "can I help you?!"
Me: *whoa, hi, nice to meet you to, sorry I'm bothering you?* "yeah, I got a letter in the mail and I wanted to discuss the settlement it had mentioned..."
BSF: "Okay, social?"
Me: *gives social*
BSF: "Okay one minute"
Me: *curling up in the fetal position over BSF, as this is so against everything I do at my job*
BSF: "Mike *butchers my last name*?"
Me: *inward sigh* "yes..."
BSF: "Okay so in order to accept the settlement, we need payment today. Did you want to do that with a check or debit card?"
Me: *oh HELL no* "umm, I cant afford to pay the settlement in its entirety until January 30th. If I pay this in full today, I will have other bills that will overdraw my account."
BSG: "Well we can only do this one time offer, if we dont get payment today then you'll need to pay the $947.59 by the end of January."
Me: "I want to work with you, your letter did not give a due date, nor did it indicate that if I wanted to accept the settlement that I had to call in and pay immediately over the phone with you. I want to work something out so that you get your money and I am paid up."
BSG: "Once we give you an offer you only have once chance to accept it, if you decline it now we cant offer it again, the account has been delienquent for too long."
Me: "This is the first piece of communication I've received from you, is this letter I got on Wednesday, I think it is fair to atleast be somewhat accomodating considering I got the letter 2 days ago and I'm being proactive enough to contact you."
BSG: "Thats how it works, 80% today or the full amount by the end of the month."
Me: "You will get your money by the end of the month" *hangs up*
So I then took a walk to the gas station thats a few blocks away (needed caffiene hehe), and contemplated taking up smoking. Seriously, if I treated my customers at work like how she treated me, I would be fired. Theres a difference between being stern and just being grossly unprofessional. And I'm also irate like no other over the fact that I feel like I was being tricked in to calling just to be cornered into an ultimatum which is not pracical for me at the time and would have no way to accept at a later time, and would only make financial matters worse for me if I were to accept it today. I'm trying to settle my debt here, not making it worse by paying $758.07 today and risk overdrawing my account between now and the 16th, when I have a few regular bills due and other higher-than-normal bills due to some recent health issues and me buying cell phones for my parents for Christmas and having them billed to my phone bill.
No wonder National Enterprise Services has an unsatisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau, good lord...
In a few days, National Enterprise Services will get their first installment of their $758.07, and a colorful report filed against them with the BBB. If the BBB claim doesnt phase them, they're going to have to fight tooth and nail to get the rest of their $189.52 from me. I can play hardball right back with them, not like my FICO score can go any lower than it is now and not harm me any worse...