Example 1: Approximately one year ago, I requested the
service of a company (the particular service is of no relevance to this issue). I signed a yearly contract which stated that I would pay
95 US dollars a month for one year ($1140.00). Once the contract
was signed, the matter of payment was handed over to a company called "Advance Payment Services (APS)," which is located in
About 8 months through the contract, I no longer had the time to
employ the service, so I politely asked APS if I could cancel the
contract. I was told that I would need explicit permission from the
business owner to cancel the contract. It was a long shot, but I was
going to try anyway. I spoke to the business owner, and was hastily
denied my cancel request. I understood, they probably had the
payments factored into future plans or whatever.
The thing that really pissed me off was when I called a few days ago
to ensure that my contract would not be renewed.
Me: Hi, I'm calling to make sure that my contract with <bleep>
will not be renewed this coming billing period. My account number is
Her: Ok, Mr. <bleep>, I have canceled the renewal status, but you are
required to let us know 30 days prior to the last billing period.
Your contract was signed on August 15th of last year. You are going
to be billed for one extra month after the pre-determined final
Me: You've got to be kidding me. I'm giving you a 27
day notice, and you're telling me that isn't sufficient? I'm not
a technical genius, but I know enough about modern computing to
confidently tell you that it doesn't require 27 days to remove my name
from a database.
I'm not going to bore you with any further details of the phone call,
as the current information is sufficient to prove my point.
MODERN BUSINESS WEASELS ITS WAY INTO MONEY THAT IT DOESN'T DESERVE.
This can be seen in almost any type of binding agreement these days,
and it comes in the name of "convenience." Billing periods are
extended without notifying you to make sure it's ok, "for your
convenience." Additional services are tacked on (most prevalent on
the internet), cited for your general interest and
The problem is, this "convenience" is nothing more than a weasel
tactic to get more money. If you compared the number of people who
actually enjoy this type of treatment (are there any?) to the number of
people that are bothered by this type of treatment, you would see that
this is more of an INconvenience. The number of "one-time deal"
customers (which are the majority) are charged more money out of simple
absentmindedness. And business people know this. They know Americans
have busy lives and tend to forget the next billing date, or the
allotted cancel time. Thus lies the crookedness and
Example 2: I have had the same credit card for a few years
now. It still has the abysmally low credit limit that was set when I
first obtained it. I like the low credit limit. It makes sure I can't
spend over $200 a month, which has an added bonus of making large,
extravagant purchases less convenient, thus more thought-out.
My period comes every 30 days, on the 20th of every month. If you
haven't noticed, the 20th of this month fell on a Sunday. I normally
do all my bill paying online, so I was confident that an electronic
payment sent out on Friday the 18th would reach their office by the
20th. As stated on my credit card's payment page, if submitted
between 9-5 on a business day, the payment will normally show up on
the same day. No problem, it was around 7 AM.
Well, I check my account status on Tuesday the 22nd, and I'm surprised
to see two bastardly things:
1 - The payment didn't go through until Monday the 21st. There was a
substantial late fee tacked on.
2 - The large late fee sent my account balance OVER the credit limit,
thus I incurred a "over credit limit" fee!
Of course, I called the credit card company and whined like a little
girl. I asked why my payment wasn't considered after the late fee. I
got what amounted to simple greed.
Logic doesn't work in these type of situations. "OK, tell me this. A
late fee is incurred through my tardy payment. OK, I accept that part
of it. But tell me, how does this "over the limit" fee make sense? I
did not make any purchases that made my balance over the limit, thus
no money was given out by your credit card company. So, I'm basically
paying a fee for money that was never sent out in the first place?
How the hell can I incur a penalty in which the infraction was caused
by your charges?"
Like I said, logic doesn't work in that type of situation.
Technicalities, greed, and apathy towards the guy who is calling 10
states away take over. Business relations aren't human anymore.
You interface with the machine. Face-to-face conversation no longer
takes place. The names of the game used to be greed and the
occasional humanistic act, but now it's precision and greed. Our
society is caught up in so many technicalities that we tend to forget
that humans aren't machines.
Example 3: A few weeks ago, I deposited a personal check in the
amount of 350 US dollars into my bank account. I checked my balance a
few days after, just to make sure everything went through and that the
funds were available. Nothing was there. I called the person who
wrote the check and asked if is balance was skimming towards zero. He
assured me that he had plenty of money to cover the check.
Wondering what was going on, I head over to the local branch of my
bank. I told the teller what day I deposited the check and showed her
the receipt. She got the manager. The manager informed me that there were some
"accounting errors" and that my money should show up the next day. I
asked what kind of accounting errors they were having, but he refused
to tell me.
I then asked how much money I was going to be credited over this whole
fiasco. He told me the original amount, 350 US Dollars. I asked why
I wasn't going to be given any money for the inconvenience that this
has caused. The response: "It doesn't work that way." My response:
"What the hell do you mean it doesn't work that way? What if, next
week, I bounce a check? You'll be more than happy to take a big, fat
"returned check fee" out of my account. You're absolutely delighted
to take my money when I make a mistake, in fact, the whole banking
premise almost relies on people making mistakes. Yet, when you make a
mistake, we get the cold shoulder? That's silly. What if I had wrote
a check for my rent, but it bounced because you made an "account
error?" The only response I got was a repeated apology, and "that's
how things are."
"That's how things are." That bank manager didn't know it, but that
statement was so incredibly profound to me. The way it is? Modern
capitalism is fucking crooked. Business is getting money that it
doesn't deserve, and we shell it out because we're scared of the
consequences. We're so damn scared of empty legal threats and
tarnished credit records, so we shut our mouths and pay the money just
to avoid the hassle. That's crooked. That's unimaginable power.
If you read the minds of all people who broke the law somehow, I
guarantee you they wouldn't be worried about jail or fines. They'd be
more worried about how this will affect their current employment, or
possibly their future employment. Money is what keeps people to
follow the rules, not the judicial system. Capitalism is more
powerful than the law.
Note: "Humor" consisting of "here's a tissue" or "do you want me to call the wahwahwambulance?" has already been predicted. Please refrain. Thank you.