I’ve had a few issues with Customer Service recently. I’ve had the cable company hang up on me because I told them I didn’t like a billing policy. Yahoo! hung up on me because I asked the “customer service” rep not to interrupt me while I was explaining my billing complaint. And now my county government is trying to steal my money through late charges because their computer system ignored my online payment.
I phoned them yesterday to clear this up and they said I had to file an appeal. At one point, the supervisor asked if we could hang up now. “No, I’m not done,” was my reply. To her credit, she didn’t hang up. That’s the only thing she did right.
Ultimately, I’ll pay the late fees if they reject my appeal because I’m not stupid. But I won’t make it easy. The $102 will consist of approximately 140 written checks. I’ve done it in the past and I’ll take joy in doing it again. (And yes, every check will be for a different amount. Think $.02, $.73, and $.46)
For my entertainment, here’s the appeal letter I wrote today.
December 30, 2003
County of XXXXXXX
Dear Sir or Madam:
I have two property tax bills that were incorrectly deemed overdue. I’d like to resolve this matter quickly and appropriately. The property tax numbers are #XX-XXXX-XXXX-X (Car) and #XX-XXXX-XXXX-X (Motorcycle). I’m appealing the assessment of late fee interest and penalties.
I made an online payment for the full sum of my tax bill ($281.28) on September 28th. This payment was never processed by XXXXXXX County. After receiving a late notice, I called on November 5th to resolve this matter. The customer service representative I spoke with could give no explanation for this payment not being processed correctly. The representative instructed me to make the online payment again, which I did on the afternoon of November 5th. The representative also told me that the late fee interest and penalties would be removed, which she failed to do. She also failed to note this in my account history.
I’ve now received another notice for the assessed late fees, minus the $281.28 I paid on November 5th. These are charged in error and should be removed. I’ve included a copy of the online receipt from my November 5th payment, but I do not have the confirmation receipt from September 28th. The only form I have for the 28th is the information confirming my information is correct. I clicked “Submit” at this point, and received the confirmation. I didn’t print this page because it had no confirmation number.
As I hope you are aware, there is no confirmation number on your online payment receipts. There is only an acknowledgement that the information was received. I’ve never had trouble with your system in the past, so I naively trusted it on September 28th. Also, I’m not sure if there is supposed to be an e-mail confirmation for the online payment process. If this is where the confirmation number is supposed to be, I received no confirmation e-mail for either my September 29th attempt or my November 5th payment.
I spoke with a supervisor on December 29th about this matter. She informed me that I needed to have the confirmation number for this transaction. I am surprised that this confusion continues to happen. First, your representative told me the fees would be removed on November 5th and did not remove them. Now, a supervisor is telling me to send in a confirmation number which couldn’t possibly exist. She also informed me that I had to file an appeal since late fees can’t be removed over the phone. I trust that this is the policy, but there is clearly a plethora of improper training/understanding of procedure going on here that perpetuates me receiving bad information.
I’m confused by this. I’m supposed to trust my county government, yet I can’t get a correct answer as to how to deal with this situation. Thus, I’m forced to file this appeal. I’ve made every good faith effort possible to pay my property tax on time and I continue to be met with issues on the part of the county government. I ask that you please rectify this situation by removing the incorrect late fee interest and penalties from my account. This is the only logical solution to this issue.
That letter was pages 2 and 3 of the 15 pages I faxed to the county this morning. I don’t expect to win, but they’re already wasting my tax dollars with this nonsense, so I’m going to make them waste my money on me.