Collection Encounters

To my chagrin, I’m having an ongoing encounter with a collection company. No, I’m not a deadbeat, but I admit it was (partly) my fault.

Last fall, one of those door-to-door solicitors caught me in a weak moment. He was young, earnest and obviously new to the job (later, I found out I was his first “sale”). I signed on for Rogers home phone service. I told him then it was a seasonal residence and asked him to ensure billing went to my year-round home. He told me that was no problem. I stayed at the cottage another couple of weeks, then left for home.

About a month ago, I got a call from a rather imperious woman from something called “ICOR”. She told me I owed Rogers $300 and she wanted it. I was reminded about the service, not having received any bills (therefore not paying any), but was surprised by the amount. I told her I’d check into it and asked her to phone me again in two days.

The next day, I drove to my cottage and checked my community mailbox. In it, there was quite a pile of flyers and a letter from Rogers, dated January 15th of this year, indicating I was overdue $125.00 and that service cancellation was imminent. The cottage phone was, in fact, dead.

I called Rogers to ask how $125 became $300. They told me it was for “outstanding equipment”. I paid the $125 by credit card over the phone and undertook to turn the wall wart into their Collingwood store. I asked why no actual bills for service were sent either to my home address (as requested) or to the service address. She replied it was the result of a “billing hold” (?).

The next day, the lady from ICOR phoned again. I told her what had happened. She demanded I make full payment by credit cared over the phone and provide “proof” of the payment I’d made, eventually to be credited back to me. I declined.

The following day, just to get the matter over with, I drove back to the cottage, secured the outstanding equipment, turned it into the Collingwood store and called Rogers to advise them, giving them a return confirmation number. I asked that any service charge balance be billed to my home address. They agreed.

Think that was the end of it? Nope; far from it. I have now received no less than 15 calls from that same nasty lady and one from another guy from ICOR. I’ve talked to Rogers directly twice for no less than 30 minutes each time, going over the same things. From ICOR’s point of view, nothing I say (or do, short of giving them $300 over the phone) will get them to relent. Rogers, on the other hand, tells me the matter is closed and even waived a small balance owing I’d told them I’d pay.

It’s almost (but not quite) getting funny. She calls; I answer; she goes into her routine; I tell her to check with Rogers; she demands “proof”; I hang up. Because I get unlimited incoming calls on my cell for free, I’m willing to hang in to see whether she has the stamina to keep it up all summer.

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