Monday, June 30, 2008

Oops- can you cut my bill in half?

When I was first planning the wedding, vendor coordination had taken up most of my time allocated to wedding planning. While the thought that I had been making more phone calls than normal flickered through my mind, I hadn’t seriously considered the ramifications.

That is until- the email came.

You know, the one from Verizon that states you have a bill that is coming due soon. This one said we had over a $400 cell phone bill.


In all honesty I was freaked. I’m not working (for a salary that is) and paying unexpected bills when I’m not in control of the money situation- is scary!

My fiancé was surprisingly calm.
Eerily calm
I thought he must be about to explode!
While he scanned the breakdown of charges, I dreaded the results.

The score out of 700 shared minutes:
Him- 600 min.
+Me- 800 min.
=$400 cell phone bill

Then, he said, “I’m not paying this.”

My mind raced- “What?!” I croaked.

“I’m not paying this- it’s ridiculous! If we had originally paid $20 more last month to upgrade our plan we would have been fine,” He said.

So he called Verizon.

Slowly, I realized that he wasn’t mad at me (or really even at himself).

No, he was mad at the system- which for all intensive purposes we had picked.
It was the timing he was worried about. If we had checked a week ago, saw that we were over, and called Verizon to upgrade we would have been covered. The boundaries between when the billing period was over and when we received the bill were the issue. Not the $400.

He got a hold of a middle-aged doting southern lady, Ms. Belle, and explained that he had a fiancé who was planning a wedding and that he was strapped for cash.

It turned out Ms. Belle was twice divorced. The first husband had cheated on her for 15 years. The second had been into drugs. She told him to get lost by dumping all his personal items out the window and into the street (just like in the movies- I imagined!). She knew marital bliss was precarious and said she’d see what she could do.

She pleaded our case to her manager and after a long time on hold the manager came on the line. It turned out that Keith, the manager, was also a recent divorcee. After hearing our story he advised my fiancé to check my cell phone usage everyday- EVERY DAY!!! He sternly cautioned. But after telling the details of his failed marriage, he told us he thought he could eliminate half the bill. But he had to check with his supervisor and would call back on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the call came and went to message:

“Sorry, man. We can’t take off half the bill like I thought we could….
….. we’ll credit you the whole thing!
Happy early wedding present from Verizon! Now, don’t forget my advic- (cut off by machine)”

Thank you Verizon, Keith, and Ms. Belle for giving us our most unusual wedding present yet!

Have you ever haggled your way out of part (or all of) a bill? Tell me about it!

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