Back? Okay, so for the last few weeks our home phone rings at precisely 8 a.m. every weekday morning. When we’d answer, a recorded voice would say, “Hello, this call is for (pause) Bar (pause) ry Coo (pause) -per (my real name, but without the electronic pauses) and then continue to say I should press 1 for an important message.
For a couple of weeks, I actually answered the phone because it rang more than once (after one, Nomorobo picks up robocalls for me) but never pressed 1. After those couple of weeks, we just stopped answering.
This morning, the phone rang at precisely 8 a.m. and I decided to answer it. And, not in the season spirit, I actually did press 1 to get my personalized message because I wanted the calls to stop and wanted a real person to deliver that message to. I waited a couple of minutes and a young woman answered and said, how I can help you. I responded, “You can take my name off your list. You call every morning at precisely 8 a.m. And I want to be off your list!” She said, “This isn’t that kind of call.” I said, “What kind of call is it?”
She explained that I owed $117.34 on a Dominion Power bill. For those who don’t know, Dominion is the power company that services Virginia and I owned a condo in Virginia for nearly 20 years that I rented out for about 12. I said that’s impossible, I pay my bills promptly every month. She said, “Sir, if you don’t make arrangements to pay this will be reported to your credit company and your score will be affected.”
I told her to do just that and I’d deal with them. “Who? “ she asked. I said, the credit company. She said “we are the credit company.” Now I’m getting exasperated and I say, how do I know this is real and not just a scam to get me to hand over $117.34? I said, I could start calling random numbers, tell them they owe me $117.34 and if one pays, I’m a winner.
She said, it isn’t. I said, not good enough. Send me something in writing. Now she was getting exasperated, (Not that I cared but I found it a bit offensive that she calls me at precisely 8 a.m. and she gets mad at me.) Finally, she angrily agreed to send me something in writing and one of us hung up on the other, I’m not sure who.
I then called Dominion Power. A very nice young woman looked up the address and said indeed I owed them $113.57 on a condo. I said I sold that condo in 2013. Do you remember signing an owner’s agreement? I said no, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t, it was, after all, years ago. Now, an owner’s agreement is a contract you sign so the power is never turned off in the unit. If one tenant leaves, the power is uninterupted and the new tenant puts her name on the account to pay the monthly bills. Easy peasy.
I said I have never received a bill. Anyhow, it turns out the owner’s agreement stayed in effect after I sold the unit because I never called to cancel it, because I didn’t remember I had one, and the new owner apparently wasn’t aware of it either…so, when the last tenant moved out of the unit earlier this year – three years after I sold the condo - I was responsible for the power bill in the interim.
I was transferred to another department to deal with the matter, explained it all again and another nice young woman was quite helpful. She cancelled my owner’s agreement, which I didn’t know I had, and said the $113.57 bill was wiped out since I no longer owned the unit. I did ask the nice Dominion woman if they would notify CBE this issue was resolved so they'd stop calling at precisely 8 a.m. every week day and she said she would. Very pleasant, helpful and efficient!
So, the moral of this story is: you can’t always ignore what you might think is a robocall because maybe it isn’t a robocall at all but truly is a call you need to take to resolve an issue.
And I’m guessing tomorrow, when my phone rings at precisely 8 a.m., the caller will be telling me I owe CBE $3.73, the difference between the $117.34 they said I owe and the $113.57 Dominion said.
And the waiting music will be Judy Collins singing “The Circle Game “in the background.