If you can’t say something nice, don’t answer the phone

I am a bad woman.

For the last week, we’ve been getting phone calls all.day.long from some NCO Financial. We didn’t answer, hoping maybe they would just go away. But the phone kept ringing (15 times in 4 days) and driving me crazy. I knew it was a collection agency. No telemarketer is that persistant.

Finally, I started answering it. Of course, they were not looking for a Bill or a Michelle. They wanted Andrea. Patiently and politely I explained that there was no Andrea here. They would brusquely and rudely hang up the phone.

And the phone kept ringing.

This morning, I had had enough. I answered. I said that I was, in fact, Andrea. I said that I would be more than happy to mail a check today for my credit card which has been in default since April for more than $900.

This did not satisfy them. They wanted my bank account number.

“Are you crazy?” I exclaimed. “You called me. I’m not going to give out my bank account information to you.”

I was passed over to a manager. We had the exact same conversation, including the indignation over them asking me for confidential information. The man assured me it was perfectly legitimate. I told him that all the scammers say that. He said he had all my information, so they must really work for the credit card company.

“Really?” I asked. “And what is my address?”

He named a town in Maryland.

“You realize you’re calling a Virginia phone number, right?” He didn’t seem to think that was relevant. I persisted in explaining that if they were so smart and “had all the right information” why did they keep calling a phone number where no Andrea lived.

“You mean, you’re not Andrea?” he asked.

“No”, I confessed, “but you people keep calling me all day long even though I keep telling you there is no Andrea here.”

He was…um…annoyed.

Now I know it’s easy to think that he deserved it. After all, the company was harrassing me. But bill collectors are people too. There are other ways to stop annoying phone calls, and I didn’t even have to pick up. I really can’t justify lying, especially when I knew it would make somebody angry.

I wonder if he called his wife and complained about that obnoxious woman who was playing games at 9 am.

I just hope I live through Tuesday night. My church has confession during CCD and that will give me time to think of a good plenary indulgence. No point in spending any time in purgatory for a stupid prank.

16 thoughts on “If you can’t say something nice, don’t answer the phone

  1. But it’s funny! The problem is that people are always saying that so-and-so doesn’t live here, when they actually do. We finally turned off our home phone because we’d been getting faxes since the day we moved in. We got at <>least<> 5 of these calls a day for over a year. Sometimes they were in the middle of the night. It was very irritating.And, since the number was a 1800 #, the phone company would do <>nothing<> to block them.

  2. Hey, am I a horrible sinner to have been rooting you on through the story and laughing at your antics?Some place called “Tempest Resorts” JUST called me as I was typing this. I wonder if that’s my sign from God?

  3. Oh…just when I was going to the dark side, you throw in “But they are human too”Fine.Kill my fun.(Even though I know you are right.)

  4. We’ve got a handy dandy Call Block function on our line and I just have dial *somethingsomething. I’ve only done it two or three times since we’ve lived here. Sometimes, a fax machine tries repeatedly to get it’s message through, and how do you tell a fax machine it’s got the wrong number?

  5. Jennie, if the problem persists, I’ll look into it. Not sure it will work, since the numbers were all different – each caller was a different person with a different number.

  6. Michelle,Calm down. You did not do anything wrong. They put you in the position where you had to us a “Ruse de Guerre” to get them to straighten out their records. Perhaps if they did a decent job of managing their affairs, they would not blunder to the point of forcing you to great lengths to protect your privacy and peace.Love. Dad R. (Theologian & strategist extradinaire).

  7. Frankly, I’m with Dad R.Look. How many times did you tell them that they had the wrong number and that no Andrea lived there?I understand that the Andreas of the world are apt to lie about whether they live there. But correct me if I’m wrong: they were calling a Virginia land line that is in either your name or Bill’s? WHY could they not have the phone company confirm that and leave you alone?Yes, collections agents are people too. But that does NOT give them the right to harass you. Heck, there are even laws about how much they can badger Andrea, whoever she is.I got calls (both personal and collections-sounding) for a guy at my first phone number for almost the entire five years I had the stinkin’ number. At least they had the good manners to apologize when I told them how long I’d been getting these, and did promise to update their records. My mother, on the other hand, had the misfortune of having another woman with the same (fairly common) first and last name live in her city, and had to deal with innumerable false contacts. That was a real mess.There is absolutely NO reason why you should be badgered about someone else’s debts. None. Zero.Now – should you have done what you did? In a perfect world, no. But like I said from the beginning, I’m with Dad R. It really doesn’t seem like you had much choice in the matter, apart from ignoring the calls (which only makes them come more frequently, I can assure you).

  8. Well, I see Dad beat me to the punch!You are justified in taking whatever steps are necessary to stop them from harrassing you – legal of course.You weren’t gaming the guy, you were trying to get to a person who might actually be able to stop the nonsense.Don’t feel guilty.Mom R.

  9. No, no, seriously, I AM evil. I WAS gaming the guy – but thanks for thinking me otherwise, Mom.Dad and Kasia, I’m not sure my tactics would hold up to the Just War theory. WWA(quinas)D?Laura (Crazy Mama), now THAT is funny. You better watch out.By the way, I’m not being scrupulous. Intentionally rousing someone to anger is not a nice thing to do, and it doesn’t matter if it was provoked. Just because God’s ways are so far above our ways does not mean we shouldn’t TRY to imitate God’s ways.All you Satans can get behind me…

  10. Prank nothing! I don’t know how else to get through to these constant callers. I’ve asked to be removed from the “your car warrantee is about to expire” list at least 20 times by now…probably more. They call me all the time anyhow. In fact 30 seconds ago the phone rang…and nobody answered, which is probably a probe call to see what time I’m home. I get called by debt collectors for other people, credit card companies promising to lower my interest, and mortgage companies telling me I’ve been so good at paying my mortgage (which I don’t have) that I’ve qualified for a refinance with better rates. And half the time when I select the option to be removed from the calling list their answering service hangs up on me without processing my request. Michelle you’re my hero!

  11. when we first moved to OR we got lots of calls for the old phone # owner. one call revealed a check had been written that didnt go through. realizing he had written a check i figured he was still in the area so i checked dexonline and found someone with the same name (luckily it isnt a common one). whenever someone would call i would give them the ‘new’ phone #. within about 2 weeks most calls stopped.i think i like your version better though!!r

  12. I’m sorry, but that was the best thing I read all day. Sorry they were so bothersome, but I think it is fantastic what you did. Perhaps you won’t be alone in purgatory (like I was expecting to bypass it or something).

  13. You’re right, lying is no good, but how funny is this! Perhaps this company will learn when you say you are not so and so. Or maybe not…

  14. WWAD? Please re-read Dad’s response(after all, that’s his middle name). 🙂Mom

  15. According to Aq “an overly scrupulous conscience is a sin of pride and an offense against charity” Quoted by memory from an authority

  16. I just read 15 comments and never did find out which indulgence you picked. :S

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