Knock knock … Knock knock knock … BANG BANG BANG!
“You owe us $187 for the washer and dryer. You need to pay now!”
“My check hasn’t come in yet and I made arrangements over the phone already.”
“Why can’t you just pay what you owe us? You need to pay up or we’re going to repossess them!”
I’ve counted it. Eight incessant phone calls over the course of fours days and 15 disrespectful, obnoxious bangs on the front door at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday. That’s the amount of time it can take for you, a human being of worth that deserves respect, to devolve in the eyes of another. You are undeserving of common courtesy all because you’re unable to pay a bill on time. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. It doesn’t matter what your individual situation is that prevented you from paying on time. In the eyes of a company, your worthiness of respect is predicated on how much money you have to pay your bills — and it shouldn’t be.
We can discuss all the ways to avoid debt and how to create a budget so you’re able to pay your bills properly until we’re blue in the face. However, it’s simply a fact of life that you can’t control everything and the unforeseen happens more often than not. One would think everyone knows and understands this. And, therefore, would have more compassion towards people experiencing temporary financial hardships.
Crap happens, whether you’re ready for it or not, and suddenly you’re missing three days’ worth of money from your payroll check because you were out sick from work. Now you’re short on cash for a bill you need to pay, for which you do the responsible thing. You tell the servicing company the situation and try to make arrangements, but they’re being just plain rude with you — as if you’re intentionally trying to not pay them.
For three weeks, my cell phone service and gas service at home were suspended for non-payment because of a very similar situation in my life. That means my family and I were without hot water and means of mobile communication (or my Kairosoft games). Thankfully, neither Sprint nor TrueGas harassed me to death over the money we owed which was nearly $600 for Sprint and $150 for gas. I called once to simply explain to them what was going on, what I could do, when I expected to be able to pay — and they were fine with it. They spoke with me appropriately and even thanked me for the several years I’ve been using their services. I can’t say I’ve had the same experience with other bills I owed this summer. But when I had the cash, I paid everyone immediately.
Not everyone is trying to get over on the system or disrespect it. Not everyone is looking for a handout. There are indeed people who want to earn an honest living, pay their bills and just be financially secure. No one has the right to disrespect or belittle you just because you’re going through a financial hardship. You have a right to retain your dignity and be given quality customer service even when unfortunate circumstances befall you.
So calm down, Mister Bill Man. There are laws like The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that state you can’t harass or abuse me like this. Sometimes we simply have a situation and we really are going to pay you as soon as we have it. You will have your money. What more do you want? Blood from a rock? Should we all go rob banks to pay you on time?
But no sir, what you will not do is treat us like dogs over your measly bill. People are slaughtering innocents in other countries and you’re trying to nail me to the cross like a criminal over some dollar bills? This is a person on the other side of the phone you’re talking to, trying to be responsible and live an honest life in these turbulent times. I deserve proper respect just as much as anyone else, just as much as the guy with a fat wallet overflowing with dividends.