In which we get a $60,000 bill

My Patient Husband opened his mail at work to find an invoice for sixty thousand dollars, payable by him.

Angeltown Industries is a lovely corporation, and the more I hear about them, the more I like them. The CEO is a true gentleman, and the corporation gives back to the community more than any other corporation I’d ever heard of. Plus, they produce a quality product that fills a real need in the marketplace. My Patient Husband used to be a client before he became an employee.

The invoice was for an intern they’re borrowing from a local educational institution. This was to pay the student’s salary and tuition and some paperwork fees and so on.

My Patient Husband is not one of the Incredibly Powerful People at Angeltown Industries. There’s no reason to send the bill to him except that the intern worked with him on one project. Yet there it was in black and white: payable by Patient Husband, sixty grand.

Much amusement ensued. He brought the bill to his supervisor, who told him which person in Angeltown Industries would be more than happy to pay for the intern and make everyone happy.

This morning, my Patient Husband got to his desk to find the bill back in his inbox, still unpaid. 

I told him that if we’re paying for an intern, by gosh I want that kid here packing my house to move. Patching six hundred tiny nail-holes in the wall. Mowing the lawn too. And really, sixty thousand is not too much for reliable baby sitting. 

This would never stand up in court, but I also know that collection agencies don’t care if they’re billing the correct party. Obviously we aren’t in the business of hiring interns at Casa Philangelus. Someone got exactly one name at Angeltown Industries and issued the bill to that one person. I imagine someone else at the  Angeltown Industries accounts payable department saw the bill issued to Patient Husband and said, “This isn’t submitted correctly. He needs to expense this.”  

I’m not going to pay sixty thousand to Angeltown Educational Institutes and then submit an expense report. If they want their money, they need to reissue the bill. Or else go back and keep stealing buffalo nickels off my Patient Husband’s desk. One million two hundred thousand more of them. Good luck with that.


  1. Ivy

    You need to remind them that billing the wrong party is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Act. FDCA violations are a Very Big Deal for collection agencies, because if a court finds them in violation the entire debt could be considered null and void.

  2. CricketB

    Gagh, gotta love the narrow-minded pencil pushers. (The broad-minded ones are wonderful, but the narrow-minded ones?)

    So many people just don’t get that forms and procedures are TOOLS to get the real work done, not straight-jackets. Can’t tell you how many blank faces I got when I agreed a form or procedure wasn’t working and asked how they’d redesign it — and then followed their advice.

    Definitely get the debt cleared and the original bill corrected, and hold on to the documentation. In Toronto, they’re collecting 15-year-old parking tickets, plus interest — and you can imagine all the stories we’re seeing. I don’t know if Canada has a Fair Debt Collection Act, but the newspapers are stepping in and exposing it.

  3. Ivy for information. Basically it outlines what companies can and cannot do to collect money. A violation nullified the debt.

  4. philangelus

    I’m pretty sure the office will pay for the intern once the proper paperwork is attached. They haven’t denied that they need to pay it. I think someone just didn’t look at it closely enough.

    It’s the same as if the cashier at Grocery World got billed for the milk delivery. Sure, the guy works there, but that doesn’t make him responsible for the bill, even if he put the milk in the refrigerator.

    My Patient Husband has resubmitted it with some kind of magic number on it to make it get charged to a program with his employer. Apparently his supervisors think that will get the bill paid.

    If this goes on to round three, we’ll start getting proactive about things.

  5. CricketB

    Dad told me, “If you have to choose between incompetence or intention to harm you, go with the first — it’s usually right.” I find it’s a lot easier on my personality that way.

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