Collection Agencies

Dear Collection Agency:

Could I please speak with someone who does NOT have his head up his butt??

Yesterday I called NCO, one of the largest US collection agencies. I listened to the entire menu – because it had changed, even though I’ve never called them before – and punched the correct button. After about two minutes of god-awful elevator music, interrupted seventeen times by the standard “please hold, your call is very important to us”, a real, live person answered. I think.

The first thing she said was, “ThankyouforcallingNCOyourcallmayberecordedforqualitycontrolpurposeshowcanIhelpyou?”

My response: huh?

Rinse, and repeat.

So I tell her I’m calling about an account which was paid around the first of June, but the check I wrote hasn’t cleared yet. She wants the account number, and I’m clueless, so she asks for the social security number. I gave it to her, and I’m back on hold.

More elevator music, seventeen interruptions. Of course this time, all that is accompanied by clicks, pick-ups, and hang-ups. Finally, I get another person.


Only she substituted “AT&T” for the “NCO”. Huh? Turns out that NCO has different divisions for different debts; I had already told the first person that it was a medical debt, but apparently that didn’t translate correctly.

More music, more interruptions, more clicks; another person finally came on and said, “AT&T”. Sigh.

Fifteen minutes of this, and I hung up. Called back. This time I actually got a person pretty quickly, and one whom I was actually able to understand.

I said: “Hi. Are you someone who does not have his head up his ass, or do I need to ask for a supervisor?”

He said: “Well, ma’am, I’m pretty tall, so if I tried to perform that activity, I’m afraid it would look pretty silly.”

Holy cow! A collector with a sense of humor! Folks, I’m telling you, if you get any of those, hang on to them – get their direct line, if possible. For the record, they are few and far between.

At any rate, and I did get his private number, he was very helpful and explained that my being sent to the AT&T division was pretty much a default – and that there were no medical bills in collection. Probably because I paid it, but whatever. He said I’d likely be getting the check back – hey, it’s only been two months or so, guess they want their money NOW but take their sweet time sending it back….

Ah, the joys of dealing with so many incompetents, in spite of finding one with some intelligence. I had to start happy hour a bit early, after all that!


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