Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My darling, dear, and creative friend Melina often writes words that I feel like could have come spilling directly out of my brain, into her fingertips, and onto the computer screen. In her post, Perpetrator, she discusses the phenomenon when, as a writer (and, I'm sheepish to call myself such a thing, but Charlie assures me that I am.. so let's roll with it today), "life throws up on you and your first thought is 'This will make really good material!'"

I'm very familiar with the feeling. But I'm sad to say this is not such a story. Hopefully someone else enjoys reading it, because I won't. Or at least shares in my ire.

Upon returning to the states and landing in the disgusting hellhole that is the Miami airport, I was excited to turn my phone on (for the first time in almost two weeks)... only to discover 27 billion phone messages from a debt collector. Thinking this was strange, I ignored said debt collector through the weekend, and when the phone calls didn't stop, finally called back yesterday, and said, "Um, hi, yeah, you guys keep calling me?"

To which I discovered I apparently owed $1,000 to Bank of America. Again, I found this strange, as I haven't used my Bank of America card in a year. Despite Bank of America's claim that they are "everywhere".. they are not in Woodstock, Vermont, nor are they in Madison, WI... or anywhere in a 3 hour vicinity of Madision, WI, making banking with them virtually impossible. I stopped banking with them last April, keeping a small chunk of change in the account in case I ever moved to a location where I chose to bank with Bank of America again.

I feel kind of bad for the poor, southern sap who had the misfortune of telling me that "I had overdrawn" last June, my account had been closed last October, and now, I had accrued $1,000 in fees. After all, he wasn't personally responsible. None the less, I had some choice words for him, as I explained that the first I heard of this alleged overdrawing was that afternoon, from a debt collecter. He informed me that the $585 check I'd written in June was the perpetrator, to which I retorted, "Sir, for the last time, I haven't used this account since March. So how could I have written a $585 check in June?!" He took this as an appropriate "out" and transferred me from one sector to another, when I finally landed in Frauds.

Eventually, I realized what happened. Last April, I wrote my ex-landlord a check for $585, although I had already moved to Wisconsin, on the off chance that I didn't find a subletter for the apartment. I did find a subletter, and my landlord assured me that he had ripped the check up. Two months later, the subletter peaced out and decided not to pay rent. I felt bad for my ex-landlord, but I had purposely taken myself off the lease and had this guy added to avoid just this kind of situation. Now, the funds had been essentially depleted from my Bank of America account and put into a WI Credit Union, and apparently my tricky landlord had held onto the check... and he went ahead and cashed it. The details on why the bank never contacted me are still shaky ("Ma'am, we did contact you" "Sir, no you didn't." "Well ma'am, that's what we do. We contact people about these things." "Well sir, please explain to me why the FIRST TIME I HEARD ABOUT THIS WAS TODAY, FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR!?!" "Ma'am, we did contact you.") but, since I "waited so long" to make a claim on the check, their "hands are tied" and there's nothing they can do. Except, of course, charge me one thousand dollars.

7 comments:

Melina said...

Liss, 1,000 dollars is a lot. I would not let this go. Perhaps Charlie can help- I HATE to say it, but usually men can get what they want a lot easier than woman. Call back and demand manager over and over. Put up enough of a fight and they can and will lower your fees. I'm a little shaky on the details, but sounds like your landlord pulled an illegal move. In terms of landlord vs. tentant, as someone with a lot of experience, ALL the laws are on your side. Call, or have a lawyer call your exlandlord and get the money back. You do not have to be polite here, you're essentially being robbed.

Melina said...

also, Wells Fargo did the same to me. I 'overdrew' my checking account onto a credit card....but I had ripped up the actual credit card so I wouldn't use it, so I didn't know it still existed online. I was never informed of the overdraws. I wracked up 600 in fees, which I payed, but I wish I had put up a fight and gotten the fees lowered.

Colleen said...

well that sucks. there really isn't any other way to say it. I definitely would NOT pay them, Theanna's sister works as a real estate agent and when theanna had some debt collectors calling her for an old credit card she had her sister told her a little secret. Eventually the collectors will give up, and then settle for a much lower amount...but in your case thats bullshit and your old landlord should DEFINITELY be paying this. Want me to put a call into Elaine and have her call him and scare him with her lawyerly language?

elissa said...

I know. I'm not really giving up. Even if I had $1,000 to pay, I wouldn't-- just on principal. Landlord is going to put up quite a fight, however. He called me daily trying to get me to pay the rent in July and August, despite my adamant refusals.

book said...

Drive carefully. It is not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker. ....................................................

Cassandra said...

F*CKING JP MAN...
Definitely don't let that go. Did you cancel that check after you asked the landlord to rip it up? Because if you didn't, then it was still "active."

Ceilidh Willow said...

ERgggg. Drew and I are madly frustrated for you. All this sucks big time. Be strong, and keep fighting!