Mar. 28, 2017

The Cell Phone Bill

When my mother-in-law passed away we kept her house empty for about two years. I just couldn’t bring myself to go down there and clean out the house. Every time I thought about it, it filled me with such a great sadness.

After she passed, in the evenings, my husband would stop by there on his way home and pick up whatever mail had been delivered. I noticed a bill for T-Mobile and decided to take care of it myself.

At first, the bill was still “current,” because at the time, she’d only been gone for a few months. I called my daughter who said she was still on her grandmother’s cell phone account and that might be why it's still current; she was still paying the bill.

“Okay, but this is not for your phone number,” I insisted. “It’s for her cell phone bill.”

“Well, don’t mess me up, Mom,” my daughter begged. “Let me get it switched to this new company and then we’ll close out Grandma’s.”

A couple of months later, I called T-Mobile. I explained she’d passed away and to close the account. They took whatever necessary information and agreed to do so. However, a year later, they were still sending me a bill. I called back after the first year and went through the spiel again. They continued to send me a bill for my mother-in-law’s cell phone. I called back one last time. Here’s the conversation about the, now two year old, bill. It went something like this:

Me: Hello, I’m calling about my mother-in-law’s account.

TM: “Her name please, as it shows on the account?” I give the name, phone number, and address associated with the account. “Yes, Ma’am, this account is past due.”

Me: “She passed away over two years ago so, that is probably why it‘s past due.”

TM: “The account has been suspended for non-payment. Are you calling to make a payment to the account?”

Me: “No, I’m calling to tell you she’s deceased and has been for a while. That’s why the bill hasn’t been paid on.”

TM: “When did she pass?”

Me: “Over two years ago. And why is this bill almost $600?”

TM: “Because she didn’t turn her phone in and there is a $200 charge on it plus the phone bill and late fees accrued.”

Me: “Well, she didn’t turn the phone in because she passed away.”

TM: “Yes, Ma’am. As soon as she turns in the phone, we’ll remove the $200 fee, then she’ll just be responsible for the bill and late fees which cannot be removed this late.”

Me: “Lady, she’s dead - don’t hold your breath on a payment from her.”

TM: “I understand what you’re saying, Ma’am. However, if she does not pay the bill it will be turned into the credit bureau and it will reflect as bad credit on her account.”

Me: “I’m surprised it hasn’t been turned in already because it’s been over two years.”

TM: “We’ll be turning it over this month. In order to prevent that from happening, she needs to make a payment. Are you going make a payment today?”

Me: “You’re not understanding me. My mother-in-law is deceased, dead, gone - she has angel wings now and she’s not coming back. I don’t think she cares about her credit status here on Earth.”

TM: “Yes, I understand. However, once this is turned over to the credit bureau it may affect her ability to purchase a new car or a new house.”

Me: “Are you kidding me! I just told you she died and you’re going on about her buying a new car or home. I’ll tell you what - if she comes back from the grave and does that, you’ll know it because she will be the first one since Christ and it will be all over the news!”

I hung up. That was in 2006 when I made that call and they continued sending a phone bill for two more years. Now I just get advertisements and fliers in her name. It’s as if they just cannot accept she’d dead and gone. For what it’s worth, T-Mobile is not alone. We all miss her very much, too. RIP Pat.