Don't get your hopes up, there's been no progress with Bill Me Later. In fact, there hasn't been a peep from this truly rotten organization. And how can I call them rotten, you milquetoasts wonder? By simple contrast with two companies who aren't
Bill Me Later offered a discount on Buy.com for which I wasn't eligible. But I didn't know I wasn't eligible, and I was able to go through their checkout without finding that out. Just the opposite – I got a message that the discount would appear on the statement, not the checkout receipt. So I didn't learn I was ineligible for weeks, and because of Bill Me Later's attitude and incompetence, all of which is explained in my two earlier posts, I was first told to go ahead and deduct the pending credit from my payment, then I had my second inquiry (asking why the credit had not appeared) ignored, and when I initiated a third contact by phone, only then was I told I was ineligible for the credit and threatened with additional fees if I failed to pay the $25.. – which I'd deducted per their initial instruction.
If I hadn't been diligent and continued to check my status, I doubtless would have received another statement with the balance and fees, and thinking it was all just due to their slow system, I'd have to get involved then anyway.
So now, BML does actually owe me. Oh I understand I owe them, so because of the nuisance they caused, I figure it's a wash. All that remains is deciding whether or not to push it. Here's what I mean.
Normally, I'd just ignore the balance and any threatening letters. The consequences are minimal, and I have no need to care about my credit score anyway. But my last encounter with something like this was long ago – before new credit laws were passed. What I used to do was give a company formal notice that I would not be paying, and at that point, they had to make a choice to pursue me civilly or write it off. They always chose the latter
But I've heard rumors that things are different now – that possibly they can charge fees and interest indefinitely, and since I haven't kept up, I certainly don't want to find I'm being sued for thousands just before the statute of limitations runs out. So I may have to pay up.
That's the bad news.
But there's also good news, and it's BIG!
I mentioned earlier that I'd written to Amazon and Buy.com. Amazon provided a quick and courteous response to the effect that they had no affiliation with Bill Me Later, and that in fact, they were dropping this truly rotten organization from their available payment options. So Amazon came through despite being completely out of the loop.
Buy.com also responded with a simple note saying that the problem was basically between Bill Me Later and myself.
I wrote back telling them that, quite the contrary, Buy.com is responsible for what happens on their site. I told them that I accepted the fact that I was perhaps grossly ignorant, yet if the system had worked properly, my ignorance would not have mattered one bit, and I would have paid by credit card and we'd both be happy, Buy & Me! I further said that if Buy didn't acknowledge it's responsibility, it would "permanently tarnish our relationship."
Note I made no specific demand. I left it up to them to decide their level of responsibility, if any, as well as any gesture of good will they wished to provide.
I should add here that sometimes a company will ask what you'd like them to do. Those are magic words because they indicate a willingness to provide some consideration. And it's then imcumbent on you to make a -reasonable- request, but consistent with the level of mistreatment.
Well, I'm happy to tell you that BUY.COM stepped up BIG TIME!
Without another word, I was sent a $20. gift certificate!
I was so pleasantly surprised, because my impression of Buy.com had been that they were potentially a Bill Me Later, sort of company, and it was all due to the fact that if you want to call Buy.com, you can't find their telephone number to save your life! I felt that was a purposeful barrier to discourage people from bothering Buy with what they might might feel were inconsequential disputes.
It would appear I was greatly mistaken, and I want to be clear that Buy.com's response was first-rate! Not only will I not hesitate to buy from them, but they will become a retailer of choice. Thank You, BUY.COM!
And what a simple thing they appear to have understood – that $20. is a small price to pay compared to the lost business and the bad PR that could have been so easily avoided and unnecessary.
When I related the details of Buy's response, a dear friend said, "That's great, you're only our five dollars then." Not really. As I said, I would have readily paid the full price at any time up to and including the moment before Bill Me Later's incompetent representative told me to expect and deduct the credit. So I'm UP twenty bucks.
And I sure hope I won't be flooded with stories about other people's bad experiences with Buy.com now.
I also hope I won't be flooded with negative stories about the truly rotten Bill Me Later – you know, because you didn't have any since you took my advice and scrupulously avoided them.
Oh, and one last thing: did I mention that Bill Me Later is a truly rotten company? Why, I bet they're owned by liberals!