Mean People Suck

Yes, I’m blogging. It’s because I feel the need tonight.

In short, Ann logged into our online banking account tonight and found a charge to the tune of $221.25 at Office Depot.

First of all, I can’t tell you the last time we went to Office Depot for anything. It’s rare when we have to go there and when we do, we don’t drop over $2oo because we can. It just doesn’t happen, let alone in Tennessee. I’m in California. (The bank transaction included the store’s number which I then looked up online, hence the Tennessee connection.)

On top of all that, I can tell you that I’ve never been to Tennessee let alone an Office Depot in Tennessee. I can’t even think of a situation in this lifetime or any other where that scenario would make any sense.

So after numerous calls to our financial institution, Visa (to report a stolen credit card) and the Office Depot in Tennessee, here’s what I learned:

  • Ann’s card was the one that was compromised which is why Visa couldn’t find the transaction. But once I gave them her card number, the person at the other end gave a more-than-nervous chuckle when the charges appeared on her monitor.
  • The charges were in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles and Madison, Tennessee (store #58).
  • Retailers included JoAnn, FedEx, Rite-Aid and the aforementioned Office Depot.
  • Charges exceeded $1,000 but all but one of them were blocked because of the activity on the card.
  • The Office Depot charge may go through and then can be disputed. But when speaking with the manager, she said they can cancel the transaction once they find it and then everything will be back in place.

With all of that out of the way, I have a few things to say to some of those involved in this crime ring, both victims and criminals.

To the criminals: Fuck you. Honestly, fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you to Hell and back and then fuck you again – twice and without lubricant. This is not the first time this has happened to me so I’m doubly pissed about this. It must be nice to sit there at home and with your dirty little criminal mind, figure out how to steal the identities of hard-working and honest people just trying to make ends meet. I wish nothing but the worst for you bastards who find it okay to steal from others. Karma, fate, whatever you call it. I want shit to turn on you so bad that you won’t know what hit you, you fucking assholes. Oh, and guess what? If you were a dumbass enough to use an Office Depot Worklife Rewards card when you bought your stuff, the transaction will be tied to that account which contains all of your personal information for authorities. Wouldn’t that be a goddamned hoot, ya little shit?

To the retailers: While I’m pleased as punch that only one transaction of many went through, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO CHECKING FOR AN ID for large transactions? Seriously, each charge was well over $200! Holy fucking shit, I can’t even buy a fucking Carl’s Jr. hamburger without being asked for my driver’s license. How’s about a little added safety for the consumer? Am I asking for too much here? You could have captured a criminal who is now free to roam the streets and defraud others.

To my financial institution: I can’t believe what a pain in the ass it was to get the ball rolling on this. I moved from a big bank to a credit union in the hopes of having things run a lot smoother and get that so-called “attention” that I never got from BofA. Well, I didn’t. Each call was a royal pain and led to dead ends until the final call. And every time I call for something you make me jump through hoops of fire and because of that, it’s not likely we’ll stay with you very much longer. At this point it seems that keeping our money under the proverbial mattress might be a better idea.

We spent at least an hour on the phone speaking with Office Depot managers, the credit union, Visa, etc. While I’m glad that most of the situation has been remedied, I’m still pissed at the thought of having a criminal asshole out there with a copy of Ann’s debit card even if it has been cancelled. All they have to do is look up someone else and make a card with their info on it.

And in the end, it’s us honest people who pay for the actions of the criminals in the form of personal time invested trying to get things sorted out and price increases due to shrinkage (retail lingo for stolen merchandise).

Mean people suck.

Paying Up

one-hundred-100-dollar-billWe woke up to a pleasant surprise this morning: our tax monies were in our checking account! We had gotten them done last Saturday and we were told that the deposits would be made in 7-14 days with the State check being the first.

The real surprise was that both checks were in this morning.

We got a decent sum from both of our returns mainly because I worked all of 2011, when compared to 2010 when I only worked the last three months of the year and had to claim nine months of unemployment checks.

The difference was such that we planned to do the only reasonable thing with our return: pay off our credit cards.

During my time of unemployment, we had to make some sacrifices and skipping credit card payments was the norm. We paid what we could, when we could but the calls kept coming.

Naturally, fees got tacked on and before we knew it, the monthly payments were out of control and then the letters, calls, and emails starting arriving.

We put a sudden end to all of that today.

Aside from Ann’s Visa card, all of the others were specialty cards for places like Dell and whatnot. Ann called to take care of her cards while I was at work and I handled mine when I got home.

HSN stuck to their settlement of 60% of the balance, Old Navy was happy with the amount I offered to settle, and I talked Dell down from $1,500 to $900. Yes, I know our credit will take a hit but with all of these being paid, we have no more credit card debt.

Zip. None. The only thing we have are car payments, utilities, and a few other things like car insurance and our TV/Internet bundle. But as long as we don’t dig ourselves into another hole, we’re good as gold and will take some time to get rebuild our credit scores.

Part of the fun of paying off bills is calling and trying to get the issue resolved. Most of the time, the person who answers has no clue and will either transfer you to the appropriate department, where you will have to enter all of your information again – via voice or keypad – and be put on hold again. It’s frustrating.

This was the case with Old Navy. Ann had already called to explain everything and all they needed was my approval to settle. There was such a delay in the connection (to India) that I had to repeat almost everything I said and using Skype, the delay was even worse.

I had to repeat my name twice. When asked a third time, I sighed and with voice that resembled a radio personality, I proudly proclaimed, “Yes! This is David Moreno, the one and only.” The Old Navy rep laughed, even though I wanted to continue with “Every knee shall bow to his magnificence!”

Done and done. Paid. Then I called Dell.

Their original offer was a bit much so I countered with my own, which they accepted. During the process, as the rep was asking for my checking account information he asked, “Could you repeat your routing number, sir? My monitor just went blank.”

“Is it a Dell,” I sarcastically asked. I was met with a 10-second silence and I’m pretty sure I saw those daggers starting to come through my Skype line. I muted the line and turned to Ann, laughing.

“I really don’t think he liked that one.”

Meh. At the end of the day, everything is paid off.

And I’m sure the credit card companies will miss my sarcasm.

"Dude, your Dell account is paid off! Where's my bong?"

Greatly Exaggerated

To quote Mark Twain, the rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

I decided that after the dreadful week we had, I needed some time away from the blog to unwind and prepare myself for my new job which, at least after the first 5 days, isn’t too bad. That should explain my lack of posts–my brain was pretty much fried by Friday, expecially after sitting so close to the stage for Depeche Mode’s Hollywood Boulevard performance.

Either way, great show. And give a great, big hand to Ann who, even with her bad back, stood for at least 7 hours and didn’t complain once. I knew she hurt but she didn’t even whimper. She definitely earned her Mars bar.

In addition to all that, we had to contend with some credit card companies this week so that we wouldn’t end up in court (at least for one of them). Listen, people. If you have a credit card that’s nearly maxed out and / or you’re behind on payments, do not–repeat DO NOT–consult one of those debt settlement companies. We did and while at first we saw some positive results, we soon realized how expensive those actions were. Not cheap at all. We ended up calling the card companies ourselves and got all of the balances reduced–one went from $1,200 to $400, cheaper than anything the debt settlement company could do. If you’re willing to settle the debt and have the money, the card companies will work with you. In fact, we settled more in 3 days than this company did in 6 months. Pretty sad–and it didn’t get charged up the yin yang for it.

At any rate, there you go. I have to go and make my lunch for tomorrow and leave early since I will be riding my bike to work–and I couldn’t be happier. And for shit’s sake, don’t fall into the media trap about swine flu! Yes, people will die from it and while unfortunate, this strain is no more dangerous than that of the typical flu

Oh, and also note that because I don’t have a computer (or a desk for the matter) just yet, I am not checking my e-mail at lunch or during breaks. They will have to wait until I get home, usually just after 4:30.

I’m outta here for the night. Keep the faith, brothas!

Stimulation Has Arrived

Since my SSN is practically at the end of the gov’ment’s stimulus payment schedule, Ann and I had simply forgotten about it and figured when it got here, it got here.

Today it got here. All $1,500 of it. And tomorrow it will all go towards paying off a few credit cards and *poof* just like that, it’ll be gone.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted!

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