Feb 12, 2019, 05:56AM

Pay Your Bills

A few minutes in the life of a debt collector. 

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Is this Brian Powell? May I have a minute of your time, Mr. Powell? I’m about to tell you something important. It’s not something you’ll want to hear, but the hardest truths in life must be faced with grim determination and a stiff upper lip.

I’m not trying to sell you anything... sir, will you listen? What I’m about to say here is very important, because it’s essential that we arrive at a satisfactory resolution. For me, and for my client, Credit Services, which purchased your $503.82 debt from Discount Rent-A-Couch Ltd., the original creditor.

You don’t remember this bill? Well, I can assure you that, within five days of this initial conversation, my client, which as I stated before is Credit Services, which now holds your Albidamon Rent-A-Couch balance of $503.82, will send you a statement of validation. You’ll receive a printed legal document on my client’s letterhead, where you’ll see the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and a notice that you have 30 days—that’s 30 calendar days, not 30 business days—to dispute the debt, and… yes, of course we’ll provide the name and address of the original creditor, too. That’s Discount—D-I-S-C-O-U-N-T—Rent-a-Couch, spelled out because I’m sure you’re taking thorough and detailed records regarding our conversation here.

Am I a lawyer? That, Mr. Powell, is an entirely appropriate question to ask under these circumstances. But first let me inform you, going back to this statement of debt validation, that once those 30 calendar days—recall, we’re not talking business days here; please note that in your register, moleskin, datebook, et cetera... once those 30 calendar days pass, then you’re assumed to have agreed to the validity of the debt. This is, therefore, a rather critical period for… what? You want me to do what?

Well sir, my client, Credit Services, collects under the aegis of Luxton Law Offices LLC, which in a very indirect and roundabout way makes me a colleague, associate if you will, of Attorney John Luxton. Then if you’re asking for a simple yes-or-no answer about my licensure, if you’re wanting me to put this in that sic et non way even though life is very rarely anything less than complicated in a manner that passeth all understanding, then I’m not someone who has, to phrase it in your terms, passed the bar examination in our state.

Now let’s return to the matter of the $503.82, which you owe to Credit Services, Credit Services having purchased that debt—yes, debt is sold, at a rate of discount determined by the likelihood of said debt's collectability, to third parties; and no, that sale is in no way a violation of your constitutional right to free speech...

So we return to this issue, then. It’s a sticking point for you, it seems. Could you, while I address it, please take out your checkbook? Perhaps you’re keeping it there in your register, moleskin, hatchback, ledger, day planner, logbook, agenda, "to do" list; those places seem to be where most people keep them. Anyway, take it out and begin reading the numbers on the bottom left to me, the “routing numbers” if you’re familiar with that term. Read them from left to right, and stop when you come to a symbol. There should only be nine digits, all told.

Didn’t I just answer you, Mr. Powell? Was my response insufficient for the purposes of resolving this $503.82 debt that once belonged to a store where you rented a couch—a couch from which, let me add, that you derived at least 503 dollars' worth of enjoyment—and now belongs to my client, Credit Services? I said, and I said this very clearly and distinctly: I said I haven’t passed a bar examination in our state. What else is necessary for you here, sir? What will ease your conscience? If it’s a matter the discussion of which can’t be postponed to a more convenient time, such as after you’ve completed reading those routing numbers to me... then no, I haven’t passed any bar examination at all.

Mr. Powell, let me assure you that this isn’t germane to our present circumstances. Our client, Credit Services, works with Luxton Law Offices LLC to, in those instances when suit is deemed to be advisable, to potentially commence litigation on the file...

No, sir, I haven’t registered to take a bar examination. But I’m to be considered, or at least should be considered, an associate of Mr. Luxton’s—no, I haven’t graduated from law school. And, because I’m so desirous of easing your mind, know that I haven’t attended law school, either. Let me be perfectly clear about that, since you seem keenly interested in my background. May I ask you, Mr. Powell, about your own background? What sort of frustrated ambitions have led you into privation, such that a $503.82 debt, once owed to a furniture rental store but now owed to my client Credit Services, is beyond your ability to repay?

But Mr. Powell, you’re 29 years old—you have your whole life ahead of you! I’d imagine, and I don’t think I’m being the least bit presumptuous here, that even were you to live only 13 more years, which would put you right in line with how long people were living during plague times, you could manage to accumulate the $503.82 needed to end this conversation in a matter that is satisfactory both for me and for my client. Yes sir, even if you’re only selling those “hot takes” at “twenty-five dollars a drink” or what have you. And yes, I realize that nobody ever pays your invoices, and yes, I understand that your Patreon campaigns have really slowed down.

Mr. Powell, I understand that it’s hard out there. There’s always a recession going on, and it seems to get extra late outside even when it’s still super early. In fact, I’m looking out my window right now, and it’s overcast all the way to the horizon. But $503.82 is at stake, and… please don’t start crying, sir, that’s no way for a grown person with at least 13 more years ahead of him to act. I’m sure you’ll sell more of these “pieces” and “takes.” I’m sure you can get some “followers” to PayPal or Venmo you this money. Just tell them the proceeds are going to your “Millennial reporter sick day fund” or some similar nonsense. Whatever you have to say, sir.

Now let me repeat that it’s my distinct preference, and I speak with my client Credit Services’ best interests at heart, for you to start reading me those routing numbers from left to right. And remember, there are nine of them. If you’ve read more than nine, you’ve already read too many.


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