About a month ago I received a phone call that went something like this:
"Hi, I, uh, rented a unit from you back in 2005. (I hear the wife yell in the background, "In 2006!!") I mean 2006 and I'm calling to get my refund since we now have a bank card."
I should explain that at the storage units, there is a $15 deposit that the tenant can get back when they move out as long as they leave it swept clean and with no damages. But due to the fact that the owner is never around to write personal checks for all of these refunds, we can only give refunds via Visa or Mastercard.
"Is your card Visa or Mastercard?" I asked
"And the number?"
"Well, when will the $15 be put back on the card?" he asked.
"Well, as soon as we get off the phone, I'll process the refund."
"So the money will be in my account immediately?"
"Uh, no...usually these transactions take a couple of days for the bank to process," I replied, thinking that most people should know this.
"But if the $15 is supposed to be there, then I don't want to write a bad check and have it bounce and sue you for the bad check."
I nearly busted up laughing. "Well, it probably wouldn't be wise to write a check from that account then, until you are sure that it has been processed."
"When is the soonest it will be done?"
"I'll run the card as soon as we get off the phone," I repeated, "but it usually takes a few days for it to be processed...I would guess it would at least be 4 or 5 days, but it could be sooner."
"Okay, bye," he said abruptly.
So I ran the card like usual. Ten minutes later he called back.
"Hi, I just spoke with my bank and they wanted me to check and see that it was you who processed the refund instead of the corporate office or something."
"Uh, no...it was me. And I just finished it about 5 minutes ago."
"So the money should be in there now?"
Can you imagine my frustration? "No, like I said before, it might be there soon, but it usually takes a few days. It all depends on how long it takes the banks to process it."
"Okay, bye," he said again.
All of that was on a Wednesday. On Friday, he called back.
"Uh, you guys never refunded me the money and now a check I wrote bounced because the money wasn't in there yet and I have a $25 bad check fee. And you said it would be in my account in 4 hours. (The wife in the background yells, "24 hours!!!")
I couldn't believe it. "I did run it two days ago, and I never said it would be in there in 24 hours." (Imagine me rolling my eyes). I'll call my bank and ask how long refunds usually take to process." Just so that I could prove him wrong.
So, of course, the bank says it takes anywhere from 3 to 30 days. I called him back.
"Sir, the bank says it takes between 3 and 30 days to process a refund."
"But you said it would be in there sooner and now I have a bad check for $40 and a bad check fee for $25. I'll see you in court for the remainder of the balance!!"
"Okay," I laughed, not really knowing what else to say.
How could he be serious??? Blaming us because he didn't have enough money in his account! Obviously, he expected this to happen from the beginning, or else he wouldn't have threatened to sue during our first conversation. It's proof that we live in a sue-happy society who can't solve problems like adults and who fight over a measly 15 bucks. And it's going to cost him more to take us to small claims court than it would to just pay the bad check fee! Also, how could he already have received notice of a bad check? Doesn't that usually take a week or so? Something is fishy, but I am still amazed. Like I said, it was about a month ago, and I haven't written about it before now because I wanted to see what he would do. So far, nothing. Paul wants him to sue us, just so that he can see how small claims works and so that he can tear this man apart!