Is it me? Or is BT now stark staring bonkers?
"Could I interest you in a new deal that will save you £3 a quarter on your BT line rental?"
"Erm.. maybe, if you're quick. What does it involve?"
"Well, you were paying us by direct debit, but then you stopped. If you go back to paying by direct debit I can arrange the deduction."
"Yeah well I did plan to go back to paying by direct debit after I got my next bill."
"I can send you that bill now. You have £55 outstanding. If you pay that by direct debit within 14 days we can negotiate the discount."
"£55 outstanding? How can that be? I cancelled the direct debit because I was in credit to you. You sent a cheque for the credit you owed me and now we're square."
"Ah yes, you're still £55 in credit to us. So if you send us the £55 within 14 days we can negotiate the discount.."
"Wait a minute. I owe you £55, and you owe me £55?"
"Yes thats right."
"So actually neither of us owes each other anything?"
"Well your credit amount and your debit amount are two different things."
"Yes but they do cancel each other out."
"But we can't just do that so easily. If you send us £55 within the 14 days.."
"Why would I send you £55, when you owe me £55?"
"Well I can arrange to first release the £55 credit balance to you if necessary. It will reach your bank account within the next 5 says. You will then be able to pay the £55 outstanding on your bill within 14 days and we can..."
"This is silly, isn't it?"
"It doesn't make sense and no matter how much commission you're on to negotiate this deal, it isn't going to make sense. You send me £55 so I can send you £55 back? It's just silly!" I was audibly laughing by this point.
"If I can just explain.."
"No thanks, just send me my normal quarterly bill when it's due. I'll make my own arrangements to pay then."
I put the phone down. I would have listened to more, but I was worried it might be contagious.