Nobody here by that name

I've had three answering-machine messages in the past few weeks from Home Decorators Collection. They were calling to ask that Zucker Allen (sp?) contact them regarding a particular order number.

I tried calling them back a couple weeks ago, after the first message, but it was after hours, and they couldn't do anything. I figured they would eventually work things out with their customer, who had clearly just given them the wrong phone number.

But I just found two more identical messages on my machine, so I called them back again. This time I spoke to a live service rep, who asked in passing if such-and-such street address was my address.

And in fact it was.

Either my street address or my phone number on the account would be unremarkable; that kind of thing happens all the time. But both? That's pretty weird, and obviously isn't just a mistake. I momentarily thought maybe it was some previous resident, but I had this phone number long before I moved here.

The customer service rep said she would mark the account as fraud, and she gave me the email address (not mine) attached to the account. I created a new Gmail account (so as not to give the person my name if they don't already have it) and sent a note to the given address to see if I could find out what's up.

On the off chance that this was one of y'all playing some kind of practical joke: please don't do that. I don't respond well to that kind of thing.

While I'm talking about customer service phone calls, I may as well mention the credit-card call I made the other day.

I had received a letter from one of my airline-related credit cards telling me that, due to a history of late payments, they were dropping my credit limit to $500.

I never use that card, so I was concerned. I called them up to ask what was up.

They said that the card had been cancelled. Eventually, the following history emerged:

In May or so, they charged me the $55 annual fee for the card. I never keep cards that charge an annual fee; I must have intended to cancel this one before the one-year renewal.

I must have missed the billing statement in which they told me about the annual fee charge, because in June they charged me a late fee on the annual fee, and in July they charged me another late fee.

So by mid-July, I "owed" $107 on a card I hadn't used in probably a year.

They sent me that dropping-your-credit-limit letter, and then three days later, without telling me, they cancelled the account.

The service rep told me that this had had no effect on my credit report, so I let it go. I would've cancelled the account back in May if I'd noticed it, anyway.

So the outcome was much better than it could've been. Still, kind of odd.

4 Responses to “Nobody here by that name”

  1. K Tempest Bradford

    Even if it is a practical joke, what kind of lame, unfunny joke is it? “we’ve secretly ordered a redecoration for Jed’s home. Let’s see the look on his face when they show up with fuchsia curtains and the fountain in the shape of Disney’s Mulan.”

  2. Michael

    I believe it’s better for your credit score if you close an account yourself rather than if the bank decides to close it. You should pull a credit report at some point to see if everything looks right on it.

  3. Jay Hartman

    Good thinking, Jed, to open a new Gmail account to keep you name confidential. And separately, I have a very, very similar Gmail address to a student at one of those hard-right, evangelical colleges. I used to get about one e-mail per month intended for him but it has been descreasing since I fire back “wrong address” notes. You should have seen some the notes I received! Imagine young people with carbonated hormones, but trying to be good in the eyes of the the Lord their savior Jesus Christ. I was tempted to post some of the notes on my blog but I refrained. WWJD? (What Would Jed Do?)

  4. Jed

    Tempest: Well, I don’t actually think it’s a practical joke. But there’ve been circumstances before when something weird has been going on and I’ve posted a complaint about it in my blog and whatever it is has stopped; I don’t know if there’s any cause and effect there, but I tend to figure it can’t hurt to try. …And hey, some of us like Mulan fountains! 🙂

    Michael: Good point; I’ll try and remember to do that.

    Jay: I heard an interesting segment on some NPR show a couple weeks back about a guy who grew up in the evangelical community and spent an enormous amount of time and energy doing his best not to think about sex. Just tried to find the segment to link to it in response to your comment, but TSOR didn’t turn it up so I gave up.

    Yeah, I think you were wise not to post the notes publicly, though I can see how it would be tempting.


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