LIME’s blast from the past
If you went through your company’s ancient accounts and found that a current, paid-up customer seemed to have an outstanding balance from ten years ago, what would you do?
Before you answer, you must take into “account” the fact that, perhaps after the first invoice, you never sent a reminder, a statement or a letter asking for the money or threatening to send the bill to collection.
Added to that, you must take into account that the client, when contacted by you about the matter, maintained he knew nothing of the bill, and was under the impression that all past transactions were fully paid up within the normal timeframe, and had received no communication from you – by letter, email or phone conversation – in all of that decade since you claim the debt was outstanding.
What would you do?
If it were me, I would be too embarrassed to bring it up, and if I did, I would feel more uncertain since the client had not run anywhere, was still paying his bills, and claimed to be unaware of any such unpaid debt.
Well, I don’t know what you would do, but I know what LIME would. They would make a big deal of it, and refuse to provide you with any new service in your name until the ten-year-old debt they said you owed was paid off.
However, they would say at the same time that they were not linking the debt to your company, which was the current client, or your spouse, who could reapply in your stead for the residential service.
But you, your name was mud at Windsor Lodge (my interpretation, not their words).
Yes, my friends, as if trying to survive in Sinckler’s World were not hard enough, LIME decided to add a twist last week.
You have applied for a transfer of service, but you must first pay this ten-year-old bill, I was told.
What bill? I asked. And so the exposition began until the above matter was relayed to me for the first time.
Obvious questions from me as to why they did not alert me a little earlier – like say nine years ago – went unanswered. One person, however, did suggest that way back then, the Cable & Wireless operations were split up into various subsidiaries, so it might have been a case of the left hand not knowing what the right was doing.
When all local operations were merged, it seems, a policy directive was taken in the past year or two to chase up every penny the company could muster out of its archived accounts.
If I chose not to pay I would be sent to collection.
I was therefore becoming resigned to waiting for the letter from a collection agent, which I had planned to frame and put in a special Desperate Measures file, because it would have been a classic.
You would know that the hard-nosed collector of debt would be writing the letter and shaking his own head in disbelief.
It was so long ago that mobile phones here in Bim were still using CDMA technology, instead of the GSM now being used. I only know that because LIME told me so.
Anyway, I finally told somebody at LIME that I would certainly pay their rusty old bill because I had better things to do than argue with their ancient computer, but if I was in their place I would not have pursued the matter.
All they were doing, I said, was their absolute best to drive me away from every possible service LIME could offer me in the future, once my mobile contract was up and alternatives were, shall we say, “flowing”. With a capital “F”.
Meantime, a very nice lady wearing a LIME polo shirt whom I met outside my favourite finance company took, shall we say, a more “global” view after I told her my sad tale. And it came to pass that, after the last “You Got to Pay” call, I got another one, from her.
She offered a deal. Pay half and LIME would write off the other half, she said. I was so happy to have this whole “blast from the past” distraction go away – although I don’t know if the demand was correct or not – that I said okay. I took the account info and within 24 hours it was settled.
It may now be history, but the bad taste in my mouth over this consumer-hostile policy of LIME’s remains.
One thing this “intervention” did was soften my original title for this column, which was “LIME: Hard with a Vengeance.”