By now you know I believe in government. By now you know I discriminate against stupid people. But I have another admission to make. I do detest something more than stupidity! "Detest" is a very harsh word 'ya know? Perhaps I should use a better word to describe how I feel? Okay, here goes...I abhor inefficiency employed by stupid people! Whoa now Rubin, you're pushing the envelope! Why all the angst? Are you that upset with Fox and CNN? Nah, not really. They are doing what every for-profit media outlet has to do to ensure profits...make the advertisers look good by presenting what its viewers want (like "fair and balanced" drivel).
What I am hating right now is SallieMae. SallieMae? Yes, that spinster that employs inefficient and stupid people.
Late last May my son became the proud graduate of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. (yay Fighting Scots!). According the terms of his student loans managed by SallieMae, upon graduating he was to receive a six (6) months automatic deferment before any money would be required for repayment. Moreover, in the event he would enroll in Graduate School, his loans would automatically roll over until he completed his graduate studies. Per the loan agreement, his monthly payment would start at $241.06 (tells you how much he borrowed for his B.A.). Now I am not a math major (as I remind you often), but six (6) months from his graduation in May would be, oh, uhm, December at the earliest? Yes, December at the earliest! What does SallieMae do? They do an automatic withdrawal of $241.06 in August from my son's checking account and send my wife (his co-signor) notice that his payments are to be made monthly or they will look to us for payment. Odd isn't it that they seized the money from his account in AUGUST, just THREE (3) months after graduation? When my son called to gather information from SallieMae, he tells me they refused to answer any of his questions and when he asked for a "supervisor" he was put on hold and then eventually hung up on.
Enter SUPER DAD, the Man, the lawyer, the protector of my son and our family's good name. I contact SallieMae and go through their automated call in routine. I am warned that all calls are recorded and I think to myself, "this ought to be good!" I explain the account number, identify myself as the student's father and co-signor's husband and am met with a long belch from someone identifying himself as "Alex." An honest to goodness solid burp! When I explain I am calling for an answer to two simple questions, his response is almost robotic..."You are not an authorized person on this account and I cannot tell you anything." I quickly responded that I was only wanting two answers and that they are not account specific. He response was that he was in "Collections" and that I would need "Customer Service." Knowing that my son was hung up on in a transfer, I told him I had better "not be hung up on after being put on hold." All I got was air time. And then the automatic call-in routine started all over again! Now I began to have my suspicions! After going through the routine once again, a female by the name of Amber answered my call. When she asked what she could do for me, I asked "are you in Collections or in customer service?" Amber said "Collections, why do you ask!?" Oh boy...good thing I am medicated, or else my blood pressure would have been rising faster than the heat at Fukushima! By the time I was done explaining myself to her, she calmly explains in another robotic fashion that she cannot tell me anything unless my son or wife are on the phone with me. I told her I could do better than that! I could fax her a Power of Attorney (POA) to them and a letter of formal legal representation. THAT got her attention and Amber politely asked what two questions I "may have?" She confirmed that the money converted (that's a legal term that means Civil theft as opposed to criminal theft, but it is still something to sue about) from my son's account was "premature" and that if he was enrolled in graduate school, the SalleMae loans would continue in deferral status. THANK YOU, I now have my answers. Why did it have to take two people to answer such easy rhetorical questions?
I then shocked her to her core! I asked her to make a notation on his file on her computer that verifies we had this conversation because I wanted a preserved record should I have to sue them for wrongfully taking my son's money if it is not immediately returned! She responded that I needed to send her the POA and they then "could help me." I thanked Amber, hung up and immediately called my son. I didn't ask him, I commanded him to immediately contact SallieMae and demand they return the converted funds post haste. I also advised him to have NYU-Poly forward his graduate enrollment information so that can stop harassing him and my wife for payments that are NOT due.
Bottom line is this. If you are not willing to be your own advocate, bureaucrats (of all kinds and nature, within the public and/or the private sector...see hospital collectors) will take advantage of you. If you don't have an attorney available, make friends with one! At this point in this matter, I really think my dog GracieMae would do a better job of handling customer complaints than Max or Amber at SallieMae. At least GracieMae would wag her tail at me, instead of burping in my ear!
I could say I will be back to politics tomorrow, but I won't. Just kidding.