Comcast, PSE&G, and don Adilio: thieves

Once again, my friends, it’s time to review an important teaching: people will steal your money if you let them.
I had three different entities try to reach into my pocket in the space of about two weeks. First it was the management of the building out of which I moved. The building manager Alberto presented me with a check for my security deposit — without interest.
“Dude, it’s with interest, I explained. “This isn’t just me; it’s the law.”
“Oh, well we don’t do that,” he said.
I repeated, “that’s the law of New Jersey my friend. Interest.”
I went on to suggest that at 2% per year the interest should be something like $50 for $1500 over a year and a half. This took place in the back office of the small supermarket that occupies the first floor of this building in beautiful and historic downtown Jersey City. The old Cuban gentlemen who owns most everything on that block was sitting at his desk witnessing this, and my effrontery apparently upset him. He went into a screaming rage. I did my best to ignore this and waited for Alberto to write out another check, accepted it, and bid them goodbye. The encounter was sufficiently unpleasant that it took tens of minutes for its residue to leave my body — those chemicals that tell you to fight or flee.
I have been considering how much of his tenants’ money don Adilio Gonz├ílez has had on deposit for how many years. From a little consultation with don Google I see that he has been lauded as a hero of entrepreneurial capitalism, received honors and awards, for building his business up from very little. I wonder how much money he has cheated his tenants out of. He certainly didn’t like it when I refused to let him cheat me.
Next up, Comcast. I called to shut down the service in the first days of February. They said I was subect to a $150 early termination fee. I said fine, so what’s my final balance going to be? A hundred sixty-one dollars and change. Thank you very much. Imagine my surprise — I was simply shocked, flabbergasted! — when a few weeks later Comcast billed me for $293. Sarcasm aside, I was mildly astonished, speaking of effrontery, to read the invoice and see that on its face it plainly showed they were charging me for services not rendered. The itemization said termination, February 02, followed by the service for the following month. In other words they acknowledged it was shut off and yet continued to charge. Does it surprise you to learn that it took over 30 minutes of voicemail menu navigation, holding, and grappling with so-called customer service personnel before the matter was finally straightened out? Now, suppose I had gone ahead and paid the extra $132 they tried to overcharge me. Maybe they would have eventually detected their mistake, and said oh gee we’re sorry Mister Bludgeon, here’s your refund. I rather doubt it. Indeed I doubt it was a mistake. Closing an account is normal, routine business operation. A corporation of their size ought to be able to handle it properly on the first try, don’t you think?
Next up, PSE&G, the electric and gas utility. Service at this apartment was discontinued early in March. So they sent me an “estimated” bill for $86 for the last few days of service. Please note that in the entire history of the account my bill never once exceeded $53 and change. Odd, isn’t it? Does it surprise you to learn that I had to call them on the phone to turn it into $12? Again, do you think they’d have refunded my money if I had simply paid them?
Comcast, PSE&G, don Adilio: shame on you. I only wish you would find a means of livelihood that doesn’t involve stealing from people.