Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marjory Johnson, I Am Not.

While no means a man of means, I pay all my bills on time. This hasn’t stopped me from having all sorts of fun and games with bill collectors, and in my time I’ve had a few who were truly relentless. Now, once again, let me repeat something; I pay all my bills on time. Always.
My first bill collector called me back in 1997, when I bought my first house. Apparently, I sound a lot like a woman named LaCrecia Nicholls. Yes, someone called my landline and asked me if I was LaCrecia Nicholls. When I protested I was not, the person acted as if I might be hiding this LaCrecia Nicholls under my sofa. I assured the person a quick check in the newest addition of the phone book would reveal who actually owned the number. This worked with the first person who called, the second, and eventually, most of them. The down side to this is one night a very drunk man called for LaCrecia Nicholls and in my anger I said something fairly regrettable as to why she could speak to him at the time. Hopefully, he didn’t run into her that night. I’m fairly certain he wasn’t a bill collector, but you never know.
When I moved to Hickory Head, nine years ago, I almost immediately started getting calls for Marjory Johnson. I’ve been getting calls for her ever since. I have no idea how many people I’ve told Marjory Johnson has never lived here, does not have this number, and I have had this number of X amount of years, but alas! It’s weird, but a guy called here and very slickly acted as if he were some old friend looking for Marjory, and I told him he would find no Marjory Johnson here. “Aha!” he pounced on that one, “Than how did you know I was looking for Marjory Johnson, eh? I never said her last name!”
Because you’ve been calling here for her for years now? Maybe that’s it? Huh, ya think?

I did have a bill collector call me about a phone bill they claim I didn’t pay. I had a check for the amount of the bill, which was received and cash by MCI the month I owned the bill, but they claimed that didn’t prove anything. They quit calling after a few months, and eventually someone accepted a copy of the check as proof.

Meanwhile, the Marjory Johnson saga rocked on. No matter who I called, or what I did, people kept calling for her, and wanting money. I would tell them all, look this number up, it isn’t her, go away, shoo shoo! But to no avail. I cannot imagine the amount of money they’ve spent trying to reach this woman at this number, but even if it only cost them ten or fifteen seconds of time it’s got to add up after a while, doesn’t it? I mean, they are paying someone to call, they’re paying that person to speak to me, or leave a message, doesn’t this all add up to whatever Marjory Johnson owes after a X amount of years?
A bill collection agency out of Texas has reached new lows, and in that they called me and asked me if I knew this woman who lives down the road from me. I do know her somewhat, and say I did, and the woman told me she was a bill collector and wanted me to contact my neighbor about the debt she owed.
New. Clee. Ur.

I’m not doing anyone’s dirty work for them. I’m not harassing my neighbors about anything. And I sure as hell am not going to get myself involved in anyone’s financial problems. Of course, I wasn’t nearly as calm when I told her this, but certainly the woman got the message. Then I went after her boss. I sent a full page, single spaced, letter of damnation to corporate headquarters and demanded they take me off this calling list, and demanded an apology from the woman who called me. I haven’t heard back from them.

Meanwhile, Marjory Johnson continued to get calls. I continued to tell people she didn’t live here, never had, and likely never would. The “Got’cha Guy” who thought he had trapped me into revealing she did live here got a nice letter in his inbox, also copied to his employer, in regard to harassment. His employer called me, we did a mutual online search of numbers which revealed my number is my number and no longer Marjory Johnson’s number. He said they would not call back and didn’t. One down…

Recently I’ve been getting a robo call and the message tells me to call Julie Lewis at 866 918 2469 regard an important business matter. I finally called them and the nice man there asked me if I was Marjory Johnson. Okay, it’s been nine years. Really, how much money can this woman owe? Who loaned her this money? Why? I explained who I was, and who I was not, and he seemed reasonable about it, but we’ll see. This particular collection agency has been calling me for about three months now, three or four times a week, and now they’ve logged on live phone call. They’ve got zero for their efforts. Can there really be any profit in doing this? Surely, Marjory Johnson, wherever she is, doesn’t feel obligated to pay someone some money. Have they ever thought about checking the number they call, or do they expect someone to say, “Gee, I’m tired of you. If I pay you will you go away?” Does it happen that way, ever?

So now I’m down to the last dozen or so people who think Marjory Johnson still has this number, if she ever did. Maybe they get paid by the call, regardless of whose number it is, and whoever pays them pays out a ton of money trying to collect from each and every person. I’m clueless, really. But I am not Marjory Johnson.

Take Care,
Mike

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