The Phone Call
An 800 number had been blowing up my niece's phone for almost ten minutes. Unable to handle the constant ringing, she finally answered. It was a bill collector calling regarding an unpaid balance on a Capital One credit card.
My niece, working in the telemarketing industry for years, tried to be nice to the caller, explained she had not had a Capital One credit card in over ten years.
"Fourteen years, ma'am," the woman on the phone corrected her.
"So let me get this straight," my niece, still maintaining her composure said, attempted to gain clarity on the situation. "You are calling me about a debt from fourteen years ago?"
"That's correct, ma'am."
"You do realize that there is a statute of limitations on debts over seven years old?" my niece incredulously explained. "You no longer have any legal standing to sue me regarding this debt."
"We have no intentions of suing you, ma'am."
"Then why are you calling me about it after fourteen years?"
"Well, ma'am, you still owe the debt."
"And our records show that you paid on this debt in a timely manner for several years before defaulting on it."
By this time, my niece's patience was wearing thin. "I'm aware of that," she said. "What's your point?"
"We thought you might be interested in re-engaging such timely payments on the account now."
"After fourteen years?"
"You've got to be kidding me?"
"No, ma'am, I'm very serious."
At this, my niece burst out laughing into the phone receiver. It took her several moments to regain her composure. "I'm sorry," she said to the caller. "I know you're just trying to do your job, but seriously? This is the most ridiculous conversation I've ever had." Stifling another laugh, she added, "What is it you want from me?"
"We want to know your intentions regarding this outstanding debt, ma'am," the lady on the phone explained.
"Well, that's easy," my niece responded. "What are your intentions regarding this outstanding debt?"
"I don't understand, ma'am?"
"Are you going to pay this unrecoverable debt for me?"
"Of course not, ma'am. That's ridiculous," the woman on the phone actually sounded offended.
"Well, neither am I," my niece laughed again. "Have a nice day," she added before clicking the phone dead.