Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: What Would You Have Done?

Monday, August 13, 2007

What Would You Have Done?

Ok, here's the situation (my parents went away on a week's vacation. . .) Andi and I have recently moved from one apartment community to on-campus housing at the seminary. We love our new place by the way. However, I had an interesting conversation today with the manager of our previous apartment and I am interested to know how you would have responded. First, a little set up:

Our lease ended on July 1st. We were moving in to our new place on July 5th. So, we had to pay 5 days of a pro-rated rent when we moved. I was told the pro-rated amount was $175.70 by the leasing associate. So, I wrote a check for $175.70. About 3 weeks later, I received a check in the mail saying I still owe $59.70. The letter didn't really explain what the remaining balance was for, so I wrote a check for $59.70 and drove to the apartment complex. When I went in to deliver the check, I politely asked what the remaining balance was for. The associate did not know, so she went into the managers office to ask. She came back and said the amount was actually for $9.70, NOT $59.70. She said the $9.70 was for pro-rated water that was unpaid. Well, I had already written out a check for the $59.70 and I did not bring my check book with me, I left it on my desk. So, I told her I would bring another check back in the amount of $9.70. She wrote a note explaining that I only owed $9.70 and not $59.70.

With me so far?

So, today I receive a call from the manager. She informs me that I still do, in fact, owe $59.70 because the amount of the pro-rate was actually $195.50 (remember, I only paid $175.70 because that was the amount I was told,) and that plus the water came to $59.70.

At this point, the apartment staff has made two mistakes. First, they misquoted me the pro-rated amount. This was given by a leasing associate. Second, they mistakenly told me I only owed $9.70 from the original $59.70 letter.

So how would you have responded?

I responded in this way. I first told the manager that I would be happy to pay the $59.70. I wanted her to know upfront that I was going to handle whatever I owed. But then I let her know that two different leasing associates had told me two different amounts. I didn't just pull the $175.70 number out of a hat. After explaining this, I received kind of a "mmmm" from the other end of the phone, so I just told her that I would be in later in the week to pay the rest.

I always think Christians, or anyone for that matter, should willingly pay what is owed, even if they have the possibility of getting off cheaper. But, I am a little shocked that this company did not "own up" to their two mistakes and honor their original word of $9.70. My mom is an apartment community manager, so I know that they have some wiggle room on these kinds of issues. I have some friends who would have just "gone off" on them until they agreed for the lesser amount. I have some family members who would have probably argued their case a little longer. What would you have done?


Anonymous A.J. said...

You did the right thing I think. Don't lose your cool but make sure all the facts are known.

August 13, 2007 8:37 PM  
Blogger Barry said...

I disagree. If the leasing agent was a binding agent for the complex, and he/she told you $175.70, that's all you should owe. That's assuming the water is included in the rent. Or did you always pay water separately?

I would contact the agent, ask them where they came up with the $175.70, and let them battle it out. Then gladly pay what they decide is still owed, if any.

One question I didn't see addressed - the difference in the two pro-rated rents was $19.80, which if you still owed a total of $59.70 means the water bill you owed was $39.90. That's a far cry from $9.70. I'd determine that, as well.

It's not un-Christian to expect equity and fairness from those you do business with, nor is it to expect people to be honest with you if you suspect they are not. I suppose there's a turn-the-other-cheek flavor to it, but I don't think Jesus meant for us to be doormats in these cases.

August 15, 2007 2:38 PM  
Blogger Bennett Willis said...

Could you turn on a date stamp with the comments. There must be a setting somewhere that does this.

I'd like to second the previous comment. We can smile and ask to help get things straightened out without being either unpleasant or unChristian.

The amount of confusion and incompetence in the world these days is amazing. There is no reason to just let it go without helping. :)

Bennett Willis

August 18, 2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger The Beast said...

Date and time are now active, just for you brother. ;)

August 18, 2007 11:00 PM  

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