Today, I was surprised to receive an unpleasant letter in the mail. The letter was sent by ConEdison, the power company that provided electricity to my NYC apartment before I left. The letter says;
Your unpaid account for utility service supplied to the above address has been referred to us.
The amount shown above [$20.40] is past due.
Please arrange for payment of this amount within the next seven days. If you have any questions, please call Con Edison’s Law Department at the telephone number shown above.
A postage-paid envelope is enclosed for your convenience in making payment. Please write the account number shown above on your check or money order. If you have a checking account and want to pay by telephone, please call 1-888-925-5016 and use our Self Service Payment System. You can also visit our website at www.coned.com to make your payment.
Very truly yours,
Leon Z. Mener
Why was I surprised by this letter? I paid my final bill in December (the bill was emailed to me), that’s why. So I have no idea what this bill is for since there is no invoice describing the reason for this charge. Because my winter bills in NYC were roughly $58 each month, and I left on the morning of 20 November, this charge doesn’t even make sense to me. If they are charging me twice for those 20 days in November, I should owe more than $20.40 — I should owe them the sum that I already paid in December, to be exact (the precise amount escapes me because, you know, I paid it in December. I do remember thinking at the time that I paid it that my final bill was higher than I expected, though). So the math is all wrong.
Additionally, the “postage paid envelope” that Leon Z. Mener, Senior Attorney, so kindly included for my “convenience” only is good for US mail. Like, duh? How stupid is this guy? Why bother sending that envelope at all when he (or his secretary) clearly knows that I am in Germany? If they’re going to mail an extra piece of paper in that envelope, why not main the invoice instead of an envelope that I can’t use?
Oh, and get this .. the letter was dated … 27 January. I received it today. Because I have not paid this mysterious bill within the allotted seven days, I guess that means that I am a criminal and will be detained by Homeland Security at JFK the first time I return to visit. With any luck, I might even be jailed in Gitmo and waterboarded until I pay up.
Of course, this assumes that I am in the habit of giving my money to anyone who demands it, even when that person provides no proof that I might actually owe him or her anything.
But maybe this mystery bill is legitimate? If so, why didn’t Leon Z. Mener, Senior Attorney, bother to tell me what it is for? Wouldn’t that make sense? How difficult would that have been for Leon Z. Mener, Senior Attorney? Certainly, providing that information would have made this “convenient” for me. But instead, the burden and expense (!) of learning what this mystery bill is for is placed upon me. The earliest I can even learn anything about this bill is Monday afternoon (Germany time) when someone is awake at ConEd in NYC to take my phone call and answer my questions regarding exactly what this charge is for and why didn’t they email the invoice to me like they’ve done for the previous 4+ years? WTF? Nevermind that making an international phone call will probably cost me $20 or more as I attempt to straighten this mess out! Maybe I should send ConEd an invoice for the cost of the phone call since Leon Z. Mener, Senior Attorney, is being really passive-aggressive by not telling me what this mystery bill is for in the first place?