Let me set the scene:
It's just before 3:00 on a very hot Tuesday afternoon. The phone rings and Becky announces it's for me. PG&E - line two.
Me: This is Suzanne. How may I help you?
Him: This is PG&E. We have a stop order for your account at 6433 Ming Ave for 3:45 today.
Me: Oh, there must be some mistake. I didn't request that our electricity be turned off. (Dumb. I know).
Him: No ma'am, YOU didn't request a stop order, PG&E did. You haven't paid your bill.
We're shutting off your power in forty five minutes!!
Me checking my PG&E folder for paid invoices: I haven't received a bill from you since April. Why haven't I gotten a bill or a late notice from you in over two months? (My check register was at my bookkeepers so I couldn't reference that).
Him: I don't know ma'am but here's what you need to do immediately in order to maintain service with us.
Time is of the essence.
Go to your nearest Seven Eleven (he gave me the address) and purchase a Green Dot Pay Pal card for $834.91 in cash. You MUST pay in cash because a check or credit card takes several days to clear. You must to this now.
Me: Can't I just go to the PG&E office to pay this bill?
Him: Yes, but the Seven Eleven is less than a mile from where you are and you really must hurry.
Me: Are you freaking kidding me? I feel like I'm being punked!!
Him: I'm so sorry ma'am.
Me: Let me speak to your manager!
Long pause on hold with annoying music. Tick. Tock...
Him: This is Kevin Gonzales with PG&E, how may I help you?
Me: How can you shut off my power when you haven't sent me a bill? I haven't missed a payment in nearly thirty years. Check my records!!
Him: I'm so sorry ma'am, we don't have that information here. You need to pay this bill immediately. I'll call you back once your account is cleared and we'll straighten out your billing information.
So I rush to the bank to with drawl $834.91 in cash and drive to the address he gave me.
Did I mention it was 106 on Tuesday?!
When I told the clerk I wanted to purchase a Green Dot Pay Pal card (still don't know what in the heck that is) for $834.91 she told me their machine wasn't working and that I'd need to go somewhere else. Tick...
So I drove downtown to the PG&E office praying that they didn't close a 4:00, praying that I would get there in time. Tick tock
I drove around the block looking for a parking spot...tick..tock...
and waited in an unbearably long line clutching my $834.91 in my hot little hands...
Me: I'm here to pay my bill. Strawberry Patches on Ming Avenue.
Her: I show here that you have a zero balance. We received your check number 7155 on 6/6/14. You're paid in full.
Me: No, there must be a mistake.
They said they were going to shut off our service unless...
...I bought a Green Dot Pay Pal card...
Have I been scammed?
Her: Yes ma'am.
Me: I could KISS YOU if you weren't behind that glass.
Her: Have a good day ma'am.
Way back in December as we were preparing the office files for the new year we inadvertently made two folders for PG&E. Every month as I'm filing my paid invoices I notice that there are two PG&E folders and think I really should dispose of one of them. Had I done that I would have had all my paid invoices in one file instead of two and would have realized my May and June PG&E invoices were indeed paid.
Ain't life grand.
Encourage one another,