Right now, I'm in a financial pickle. I don't think that I'm alone. Until my financial situation changes on 02/06, I can't even cover all of my bills with my income, and after that things will still be lean until 05/01/08 assuming that nothing else bad happens between now and then.
So, with that said, I took a long hard look at my bills and made what wasn't the best choice, but was the best I could come up with at the time. I decided to shave $50 off of my car payment last month and this month and then over pay it $75 in Feb and Mar to cover the past due and late fees.
I called the loan company and talked to them about it. The customer service rep could not agree to that plan, but did admit that so long as they were receiving regular monthly payments no action would be taken against me until I was 60 days past due. So, my plan, while not approved, would work. I would not be over 30 days past due the entire time.
My payment date is the 10th. I set up my electronic bill pay to make the two shortpayments on 12/12 and 01/09.
Today I got a call from the finance company. I needed to pay the entire past due by the end of the day or they were going to repossess my car.
OK, alarming, but not the end of the world, right? I mean, it is only $75. Surely I can borrow that from someone and pay them back in Feb. Right?
They wanted the entire Jan monthly bill plus the $50 due in Dec plus the $25 late fee. I needed to come up with over $300 by 5pm. Why? Because they hadn't processed the payment I sent on the ninth.
Could they call me back after they process it? No, they don't accept, "The check is in the mail excuses." Except, I didn't say it was in the mail, it was an electronic payment. Could he please check with his cash application department regarding it.
No. He claimed that electronic payments take "25 to 30 business days to process." What? No, seriously. I explained that I've been paying them electronically for the entire term of the loan and it has never taken more than 24 hours. He also claimed that they didn't have a cash application department. WTF?
I asked if I could pay the $75 that was over 30 days past due, thus buying time for them to process the payment I made and then I would owe them $50. No, I couldn't do that. He didn't accept partial payments.
I asked if I could pay the $125 difference, and then when the payment cleared their system I would be caught up. No. The guy clearly didn't believe that a payment had been made and he wasn't willing to take time out of his busy, busy day to check.
I asked if I could pay $217, the amount I had in my account at this time. I could stop my other bills (the ones that hadn't processed like my car payment already had) and just push my budget forward. No, he needed the entire $318 today.
I asked if he would call me back. He would not. (Side note: I work in collections and love calling customers back. My call quota only counts outgoing calls, not incoming. I always suggest that I call them rather than they call me.) I asked if I could call him back. He said that I could, but if he didn't hear from me by 5 someone would be sent to pick up my car.
I asked for the number. He said I already had it. I asked him to give it to me again. He sighed heavily and gave it to me. With worry that he gave me a fake number, I hung up and made some calls.
I got the confirmation number from the electronic payment. I confirmed that my roommate would be able to give me rent money today (he usually gives it to me on Tue after grocery shopping) I talked a couple of friends into loaning me small amounts that would make up the difference. So, two weeks of ramen noodles and Chefboyardee await me, but I'll have a car.
I call back and get his voice mail. So, he didn't give me a fake number. I guess his service could be worse. I left the confirmation number for the payment made on 01/09 and asked him to call me back. I asked him to call me back to confirm that all I would owe is $125, the $50 shortpay from Friday's payment and the $75 due from Dec.
Two hours later, no call back. I called him and he acted like he didn't know me. OK, no big deal, right? I mean, I have over 200 accounts, and I can't remember who I've talked to on any give day, so why should he remember me. I ask if he got the confirmation number. "I wrote it down" he said, but he claimed that it would not change the amount I needed to pay. His tone indicated to me that he thought I had just invented the confirmation number.
Keep in mind, he called me at about 10:30 this morning, I called him back at around noon and this call was at just before 2.
I told him that I didn't care anymore. I'd made arrangements and if I ended up double paying Jan, then so be it. At least it would be one less month to deal with an unreasonable company. He asked for a moment to call up my account to accept the payment.
And, he told me that a partial payment had been received, dated Jan 9, processed at noon today. All I needed to pay at this time was $125. I gave him my debit card information.
He did not thank me for the payment. He did not apologize for his previous attitude.
I have less than 20 months left on the loan. Based on this single phone call, I'm seriously considering refinancing my car just to change companies.