Computer Database Wars

I swear, if computers had their way, we could never move, change, grow or alter our circumstances. They are amazingly stubborn.

Ever notice how hard it is to get companies to change their records on us if we go to a new address, change our names through marriage,  have kids or get a new phone number?

Case in point: I moved from the town of Richmond, Vermont three years ago, to St. Albans, Vermont. That meant I got a new address and a new phone number. One credit card company continues to send statements to my old address, despite numerous phone calls, e-mails, letters and bill payments highlighting my new location.

On the rare occasion I get a live person at said credit card company, I get an apology and a promise to fix the problem. But of course nothing changes. It’s as if the computer system at the credit card company couldn’t bear to see me move. It was so happy with me living in Richmond and now I’m gone. Sob.

Today, I got a new set of checks from my bank. Just like the last time I got the new checks, my old phone number was printed on the checks. This despite my repeated attempts to get the bank to change it.

Seems the bank has separate program for ordering new checks, other than the one that keeps my financial records. I’m guessing somebody entered my new phone number, but the computer defaults to my old one.

I guess the computer program is nostalgic, just longing for the old days.

The computers running the world also have a problem with my moving into a house that was previously occupied by other people I have nothing to do with.

I continue to get occasional hate letters from bill collectors wanting to get money from the guy I bought my house from.  I made the mistake of sending a note back to one bill collector, saying I was the home’s new occupant and I had nothing to do with the bill  so stop harassing me.

They sent what appeared to be a computer generated note back demanding I find the guy and order him to pay the bill collector. I sent a note back saying that would be difficult because the guy I bought the house from a few years ago has since died.

The bill collector’s computer generated letter indicated that I provided a woefully inadequate excuse and I’d better get on this guy to pay, or else they’d wreck my credit rating or do other evil things to me. They suggested I could also make things easy for everyone by just paying the debt myself.

Sigh. I guess they’re right. I should have gone to the guy’s grave site, dug him up, revived him, and walked him to the bank to withdraw enough money to cover the debt. I guess I was just too lazy to do that.

God forbid if somebody enters a wrong number into a data base. In June, I got a call from an insurance company accusing me of being drunk and causing a car crash a week earlier in Alexandria, Virginia.

For the record, I haven’t set foot in Alexandria, Virginia since 1998.

It’s apparently true that the person who caused the accident drives a silver 2006 Toyota Tacoma, and so do I. I guess his license plate has similar numbers to mine, but his has a Virginia registration and mine is registered in Vermont. Somebody apparently entered “VT” rather than “VA” in a police report.

From there, they somehow tracked me down through Vermont motor vehicle registrations. I don’t know if this was an attempted scam or not, but the person who called, upon hearing about the mistake, demanded I contact the Alexandria, Va. police department to fix the problem and fax the insurance company proof of my drivers license and registration, just to “straighten things out.”

“Not my job,” I said, hanging up.

With any luck my slamming the phone down crashed the insurance company’s computer system.

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