To Pay or Not to Pay

That's the question all right.

The Hubs and I recently switched cell phone carriers. We had one phone left under contract with our old carrier, so we decided to just let the contract run out, rather than pay the $250 cancellation fee--since we'd save a lot of money that way.

Our contract expired on the 7th, so I called the carrier and told them I want to cancel and close the account. No problem, right? Should be easy enough. Well, you know, idiots thrive in this world, and cell phone carriers are no exception. They tell me that they will close my the end of my billing cycle date, which is the 22nd. So basically, I have to keep my account, for a phone I haven't used in about three months, for another 2 weeks. OK. Fine, I tell them. And I figured we were done. But,  no.

First they want to share with me all the great offers I should take advantage of, now that my phone is paid off. I should get the pay-as-you-go plan, so that I can use the phone as a back up, if I need to. Or I should get a new monthly calling package and just start fresh with them. Well, um, "I already have a phone with another carrier," I say. I don't want to pay to have a "back up" phone,  nor do I wish to start over with them, thank you very much.  (Do they even live in the same economy that I do?!) So fine, they say that I'll get my final bill soon after my regular billing cycle ends.

So yesterday I get the bill via email. And how much is it for? .01. That's right, ONE CENT! And this is where I'm thinking, are you freaking kidding me? They are sending me a bill for a penny? WTH? Well, after much consideration, I've decided I have 3 options.

1. Print out the payment page, tape a penny to it, and mail them the bill with a carefully worded letter about the inanity of sending someone a bill for one cent. But you know, that would cost me .44 cents, not to mention I'd have to print out the bill and waste an envelope. This economy has taught me to be quite cheap frugal, if nothing else, so this is a less than ideal choice.

2. Ignore the bill all together, and wait to see how long it takes them to turn me over to collections FOR ONE CENT! You know they'd do it, right? They sooo would! This is America, after all, land of the free-for-alls and home of the seedy bill collectors. This is actually a plausible option though, if you think about it. When you send someone to collections, the collections agency gets at least half the money you are due, so basically the cell phone carrier would end up with about half of a cent. I'd love that! But not at the expense of my credit report, I don't think.  So probably not worth it.

3. Use my online banking to send them a payment of  .02 cents. And why  .02 cents? Because if I send them .02 cents, they will have to refund me the overpayment, which would be .01 cent.  And since the cost of postage is .44 cents, they will actually lose money by sending me a refund check.  I'll get my .01 cent overpayment back, but they will have just spent .44 cents to send it to me.

So yeah, I'm gonna go with option 3. They'll get their one cent, but it's gonna cost them to get it.  Just a little vindication for all the dropped calls, out-of-service times, and lack of carryover minutes we endured over the course of the last 4 years!

Sometimes, revenge is truly sweet.