I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. Angry at the ineptness that these companies foster.
I recently purchased a home and am in the process of transferring utilities over...gas...power...phone.
I go online to transfer the gas+electric service of the new house over to my name.
A simple process huh?...Wrong.
A while later I get an e-mail from some asshat at the utility company saying I owe them $ 143.00 from some old account I had back in 1994 at my very old address ...and If I require service at this new address I will have to pay the bill or pay a deposit of like $300.00.....WTF?
Now keep in mind this so called past due bill never showed up on my CR let alone had any bill collectors or any of the usual suspects harass me for such. Nada.
Plus I am a good paying customer of the SAME utility company and NEVER once did they bring up this old bill when I was hooking up service at 3 other locations in my state where I lived since 1994.
So my next call was to the utility company livid but trying to remain cool and calm.
The customer service persons was of no use ( as usual) so I asked for the preverbal “ supervisor” who tried to explain to me the usual company mantra…”blah blah..blah. you have old bill you gotta pay it or no service for you!”
So I then brought up the stature of limitations and time barred debts..etc. Still all falling on deaf ears.
I then said curtly:
“ OK…. I want proof that this unpaid debt is indeed mine and that how do I know it wasn’t incurred by some scumbag landlord or building owner who hijacked my account?” “ Call your archival department and pull out my old records, bills, past due notices if any….etc.” “ You ( utility co.) need to prove to ME that this bill is not mine not the other way around” “ I should not be responsible for your sloppy record keeping”
I was then put on hold. Oh Oh…..I’m wondering. Did I go too far?
3 minutes later…she gets back on phone and says cheerfully:” Ok…Mr X....the credit department said they will forgo the deposit and the past due” “You’re all set for new service at XXXX street)
A total 180 on their part.
I also remind them if they try and sell this so called old debt to some shifty ass collections agent I will bring the state’s attorney general’s office of consumer protection rights in on the action.
I held my ground and called bull**bleep**te on them.
Anyone ever heard of someome trying to collect on a debt from 15-16 years ago and a utitly at that?
I couldnt beleive the audacatiy of them to not look at my credit report, perfect payment history, and to still shake me down for a measly $ 143.00.
Yep. Not quite 16 years, but 8-10 years. A cable company here will not give me service until I pay a deposit for a cable box never returned. Which of course is ridiculous now since those cable boxes are obsolete!! And yes, they hard pull!! What's the point??!!
Vito, I see your aggravation.
But, in reality, I dont see that they did anything wrong, improper,or illegal.
Debt, once incurred, lives forever until paid. So, no, there was nothing improper in raising the issue of prior,unpaid debt, at any time.
They showed, with their business records, a debt against you.
They thought they had an unpaid debt under your name, and you disputed this with them orally. Oral disputes dont resolve anything..
The fact that they never reported it to a credit reporting agency, or a debt collector (CA) is only to your CR benefit, and not a basis to assert that the debt is no longer valid due to their failure to report it. And your assertion of expiration of statute of limitations was totally immaterial as to owing the debt, so I am not surprised that this got no response from them. SOL is a court defense that has nothing to do with owing the debt, or denial of their service to you. They were probably cursing, off-line, just as much about you as you were about them..
You were perfectly within your rights to assert to them that you never owed this debt, and they were perfectly within their rights to assert, based on their business records, that you did.
They had the right to deny further service until prior alleged debt on your part was paid Put yourself in their shoes. A prior customer who still has an unpaid debt with them, at least based on their account records, then asks for new service? Your stellar CR was not even an issue
You had the right to contest their decision, but the result, if they had not acquiesced, would only have been for you to file civil action against them in court. That is where disputes are resolved.
But they decided not to escalate. I think you owe them thanks, and not venom, for their non-litigation resolution, and the agreement to grant service.
I understand your answers.
However a point missed is that I have had services from said utility compnay since 1993 .
I have moved several times in my state from year 1993-2010 and not once while requesting new utility service at any of these newer addresses did this "old debt" ever come up during the phone calls with customer service. Keep in mind this utility co. pretty much serves the whole state for gas/electric.
When they run your social security number I'm sure something would pop up oin their computer screen to say " outstanding balance due". One has to think that duing this time when installing or requesting new utilty service I would have been denied or demanded I pay such "old debt" first. Not once.
Why all of sudden in 2010 did it maginally appear on their dadatbase?
I tried to explain said logic to customer service people but they are just cogs in a wheel and could probably give a rat's arse.