ADULTING 101 Part 4

Welcome back, class.
If you're just joining me, this is part 4 of "Why Did No One Tell Me?!?" or, "What High School Should Have Taught Me." (Part 1 is here.)
To be honest, I wasn't sure if there would be a part 4, because gauging and organizing what I know and think you should have learned already can be tricky!
That gets to the heart of why I write these at all, though: None of these lessons are new. Many people never learn them, but those that do think it is all just "wisdom" that comes with age, and often don't realize how much transferable knowledge they are keeping to themselves, when it could benefit you to learn too!
Anyway: Today's lesson is: Don't Pay for That!
Got a parking ticket. Fought it. Won.
Got a $360 demand for car re-registration from the DMV. Made a phone call, went in, filled out a form, and waited an hour to be seen, but saved more than $120 by getting the "delinquent" fees waived.
Got my bank statement. Damn, I'm poor. Wait, why am I poor? Checked my account histories. Turns out I'm three months ahead on my car lease. Turned off my automatic payments. No more car payments for 3 months!
This is all in the last week, people!
Conclusion: Don't give away your money just because someone tells you to, and keep an eye on your finances. The old adage "A fool and his money are easily parted." still applies.
Calling Customer Service:
If a late fee or service charge, or *any bill* seems unfair or unwarranted, make a phone call. Talk to someone. If they claim there's nothing they can do, thank them for their time, and ask for their help speaking to someone who can make it right. Also, always remember that the first person you talk to is working at a call center. That is a human being, and that person didn't charge you, personally. They don't get your money, even if you agree to pay. Tell them if your confused, upset, or angry at their company, but don't let that feeling get you upset or angry at them. Be patient, and be nice! I cannot count how many times this has saved me tens and even hundreds of dollars, all from a 15-30 minute phone call.
When the rep can't fix your problem, they still need to connect you to their superior. If the explanation to their supervisor of what you're calling about is a sympathetic one, that can be the difference between getting what you want, and hearing "I'm sorry" again. If their superior cannot help you reconcile your claim, and it matters enough to you, remain polite, but tell them you wish to end your contract, close your bank account, cancel your membership, or whatever it may be regarding. Often times, this is enough to get them to cooperate, or get you transferred to an "account retention specialist", who has broader authority to change your bill and keep you from quitting, but you should reserve that move for when you are truly ready to quit - in other words, don't try this or suggest you're considering it, until you have tried everything else to resolve your issue first. They probably have dozens of people who call, sounding angry, accusatory, and proclaiming they'll quit, but in that case, they will often call you on it and let you close the account, so don't try to bluff.
Beyond that, always just be kind to call center and service industry people. I know from personal experience, they would like to help you if they think they can, and sometimes their jobs can really suck. Compassion will get you further with them, and in life, even if being a dick gets you the occasional free drink or mozzarella sticks.

Until next time, class dismissed.


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