From “Who’s on First” to the Twilight Zone.
Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, Mission,
Chilliwack, once in a while Vancouver, being on call, shifts that end at 1 AM.
A car is a necessity to meet my commitments; a point
driven home to me during the 6 days it took to get the water pump of the Cougar
Brakes, tires, shocks, driver side door hinges,
electrical system [to get windows and turn signals working dependably] and a
transmission that increasingly rattled and shook the Cougar.
The Cougar needed replacing or $2,000 to $3,000 worth of
work and I really wanted to replace it before it became kaput; stranding me and
putting pressure on me to go with ‘good enough’.
So when a smaller, newer vehicle was available I seized
the day and bought the new-to-me vehicle.
One of the long enduring hangovers from having been
homeless is that all your income goes to pay your bills leaving no cushion, no
ability to accumulate savings, to handle unexpected expenses; an income that if
not for meals provided free of charge one would not eat even semi-healthy.
So the acquisition of the needed replacement
transportation temporarily pushed my finances and cash flow into the red zone.
Temporarily because budgeting, careful cash flow management, discipline and
self-denial will allow me to bring bills current and pay off the car by late
spring..........maybe early summer if any other unexpected and more than minor
I was raised to be responsible; so when all the costs
associated with switching to a new-to-me vehicle were in and I knew how my cash
flow shaped up I contacted my service providers to explain what had happened
and lay out my payment plans.
I contacted Shaw, the larger of my two service providers,
and there was no problem. They understood the situation and were interested
only in how I proposed to deal with paying my account.
But Virgin Mobile?
The fact that the person I first spoke to when, having
dealt with Shaw, I contacted Virgin seemed to understand the situation and see
no problem with my payment plans, set me up for a nasty shock when I was
transferred to the accounts people.
I explained about the effect replacing my automobile had
had on my cash flow and that I would be making a $75 payment when I was paid on
October 11, 2013.
At which point I was told I must make a payment by
October 8, 2013 or they would discontinue my phone service. And informed that
because I was going to pay it by transfer from my bank account it would take an
additional 5 days(?) to process the payment.
I again explained
to this individual that I was calling because the costs associated with
replacing my automobile had left me with under $2 in the bank and I would have
no money until I was paid October 11th; at which time I would make a
Whereupon I was told I had to make a payment by October 8th
or my phone service would be cut off.
I explained once more that I was calling because the
costs associated with replacing my automobile meant I was penniless and would
have no money until I was paid October 11th; at which time I would
make a $75 payment.
Whereupon – you guessed it - payment by October 8th
or my phone service would be terminated was demanded.
No matter how I tried to explain I had no money and could
not make a payment until I was paid on October 11th, this individual
seemed unable to grasp the reality that I could not pay money I did not have
and would not have until October 11th, at which point Virgin would
he just kept demanding payment by October 8th
or my phone would be turned off.
After another attempt to explain that I had no money,
would have no money until October 11 and therefore could not make a payment
before October 11, I was once again informed that I must make a payment by
October 8 or have no phone service.
Although this time several suggestions were made as to
how Virgin could be paid and someone else left holding my empty wallet and bank
account. I stated that I was not about to attempt to pay Virgin with money
obtained elsewhere when I had no money until October 11th at which
time Virgin would be paid $75.
I was again informed payment must be made by
October 8th or no phone service.
Having come to accept that no amount of explaining would
resolve this ‘who’s on first’ routine I stated that until I was paid on October
11th I had no money to make a payment and that on October 11th
I would make a payment of $75.
When the reply was once more October 8th or
else I stated that if they wished to terminate our service provider - customer
relationship there was nothing I could do about it because I could not make a
payment with money I did not have.
At which point I ended the call.
And Virgin, on the deadline day, ended my phone service.
Although I was extremely ticked off I made the $75
payment on October 11 as I stated I would. And my phone service...........remained
Then we moved from ‘who’s on first’ into the Twilight
Zone with the arrival of a bill from Virgin for the next month of services they
were not going to provide. I expect the next communication from Virgin will be
the bill for the next month of services they are not providing.
When I signed with Virgin Mobile as my wireless provider
it was email that drove my choice of phone and service. Being a Shaw customer I
have access to the internet through any of the Shaw WiFi hot spots and thus
access to email
If it wasn’t for emergencies or being on call I could/can
survive fine without a phone.
$47.70 for services from September 13, 2013
$49.23 Balance owing
isn’t much to encourage me to want a phone, while there are things I really
like about not having a phone.
The same responsibility that had me contact Virgin Mobile, the responsible
action that resulted in my phone service being terminated, says I need some
kind of voice communication.
irony is that if I had NOT acted responsibly and had ignored the monies I owed
Virgin, by the time they got through contacting me and threatening me about my
account balance October 11th would have passed, the $75 payment made
and my cell service not interrupted.
suppose the responsible thing to do, although I have strong reservations about
acting responsibly with Virgin Mobile, is to send Virgin Mobile a copy of this,
thus giving notice of my acceptance of their decision to terminate our service
provider/customer relationship; and even though they terminated the
relationship see how they want the phone returned as they ended our business
relationship before the three year period had passed for ownership of the phone
to pass to me.
need to assert ownership of my phone number and assess my options. Including,
in light of how little I actually use a phone, pay as you go.
so intrepid readers, in a classic stay ‘tooned endeavour, I sally forth onto
the field to once more joust with a monopolistic, reaving wireless company.