Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Reason to Never Let a Teenage Daughter Drive. . . as if you needed another one. . .

Driving home from work earlier today, I thought to myself. . .  Self . . .you have absolutely nothing to blog about. . .

But then I got the mail.

And I quickly called the toll free number that was prominently displayed on the letter I opened. . .


Me:  I just got a notice in the mail and I'm hoping you can clarify something for me.

Debt Collector:  Well first - even though you phoned in, Mam - I'm obligated to tell you that the conversation we are about to have qualifies as an attempt to collect a debt.   Do you understand?

Me:  Of course I understand!  I'm calling you, aren't I???   It says here that my "account" with the NY State Thruway has been placed in collections and I owe them/you $88.50?

Debt Collector: Yes, Mam, that's correct.

Me:  But this is the first I've heard of this.   I didn't even know I had an "account". Can you enlighten me?

Debt Collector: Now, let's see. . .  the first violation was on October 2, 2008. . . and the second  . . .

Me:  What does that mean, violation?  Speeding?  Was I speeding?  I live in Jersey! I don't even drive on the Thruway!

Debt Collector:  Not speeding, Mam.   EZ Pass. The vehicle went through the EZ Pass lane without a device.

Me:  But I have EZ Pass.

Debt Collector:  Well, I have the license plate right here. . . YEX 24P. . .is that your car?

Me:   Oh. . . it's one of my daughters' cars. . .

Debt Collector:  Well did she have a device in her car?

Me:  An EZ Pass device?  Knowing her, probably not.  But I'm sure she had her cell phone. . . and her iPod. . . .and her Tom Tom. . . she never leaves home without them. . .

Debt Collector:  Well, that's nice, Mam, but as I said, the next violation was two days later.  Tappen Zee Bridge again.  And the third. . .

Me:  Never mind. I get the picture. . . .but why so much money?

Debt Collector:   It was $4.50 for the toll and a $25 penalty for each of the violations.

Me:  But why didn't I know about this?  Those so-called violations were a full year ago?  Did you send prior notification??  Was my daughter confiscating it in the mail or something?

Debt Collector:  Mam, I'm just the debt collector.  They don't give me that sort of information.

Me:  I understand.  I'm just their mother.  And they don't give me that sort of information either.  What will it take to pay you off?

Debt Collector:  I'm authorized to settle with you for 75% of the debt, Mam, with an $8 processing fee, so that comes to $75.

Me:  Do you take credit cards?

And, as any good Debt Collector would answer:  We sure do!

and in case you're wondering. . .  yes, I feel a tad-bit violated myself tonight. . .