Thursday, January 5, 2012

Same Shit, Different Year

Early last February, I contacted a company that my company buys a product from regarding some bills that we had been charged sales tax on and we are tax exempt so should not have been charged tax.

In April, I was FINALLY contacted by Person A at Very Big Corporate Entity (VBCE) who said "just short-pay the next invoice the amount of the taxes that you should not have been charged".

In May, we got an invoice and I short-paid that invoice per the instructions of Person A.

In June, I got an email from Person B at VBCE saying "Hey! You are past due! You did not pay your invoice in full!" I responded that Person A had instructed me to do so.

In August, I got a fax from Person C at VBCE saying "I'm in the collections division and you are way past due and now you have 2 more invoices.. PAY UP DEADBEATS" to which I responded that Person A at VBCE had told me to do so and that I had informed Person B of that in June. I got a response that indicated that both Person A and Person B no longer worked for VBCE and why was I short-paying invoices? I explained that we were tax exempt. VBCE asked for a copy of our Tax Exempt Certificate, which I faxed.

In September, I got a fax requesting our Tax Exempt Certificate from Person D. 2 days later I go the same request, via email, from Person E. I faxed and emailed copies of the Tax Exempt Certificate to both parties.

In October, I got a harshly worded SECOND REQUEST letter from Person D stating that they still did not have our Tax Exempt Certificate on file. Now, I want to note here that VBCE is about 1500 miles from my office, so I cannot just drive over there. I re-send the Tax Exempt Certificate to Person D. A week later I get yet another invoice where we are being charged sales tax. I contact Person D only to be told that they no longer work for VBCE. I contact Person E and find out it is his last day with VBCE and he can't really help me, but he gives me the contact email for Person F who is taking over his files. I email Person F about the new invoice and that we are not supposed to be charged sales tax and get a request for a copy of our Tax Exempt Certificate, which I sent to Person F. Person F responds that she will get back to me. A week goes by and I've heard nothing from Person F. Then I get an email (at 7AM) requesting our Tax Exempt Certificate. I respond, with Certificate attached at 8:30AM that very same day and get an autoresponse that this is Person F's last day with the company.

At this point I admit I sortve snapped. I fired off an email asking why this was taking months to resolve and I'd sent multiple copies of our Tax Exempt Certificate and had corresponded with now SEVEN different people and pleaded with Person F to fix things. Person F did respond saying she couldn't fix it, I needed to contact Person G.

I contacted Person G who... wait for it... REQUESTED A COPY OF OUR TAX EXEMPT CERTIFICATE. I enumerated to her each person that I had sent it to already but also attached it to the email I sent. (There are apparently no working phones at VBCE because I have BEGGED for a phone number to be able to speak with someone and every single request has been summarily IGNORED).

Person G contacts me at the beginning of November and says that she got a memo from Person H saying that they can't enter our tax exempt status into their system because the Tax Exempt Certificate says "Small Corp, Inc" and they have us in their system as "Small Corp" and since it isn't an exact match, the certificate is meaningless to them.

And so, I get a valid certificate which has "Small Corp" on it and send it off to Person G and Person H. That was 22 November 2011.

This morning I got an email from Person I at VBCE. Person I states that they have the email thread from Person G (who is no longer with VBCE) and did I ever send Person H the Tax Exempt Certificate and, by the way, we have an outstanding balance that needs to be resolved immediately. I refer Person I to the very email thread that she sent to me, specifically the 22 November correspondence in which I state "I have sent a copy of the Tax Exempt Certificate from "Small Corp" to yourself (Person G) and to (Person H)".

I then send Person I a copy of the Tax Exempt Certifcate and request that she acknowledge receipt of the Certificate. Her response? "I will. Send. A email to Person H. And ask whether this was received." (Punctuated in the quotes as it was in her email).

I respond that I would like the receipt of the certificate acknowledged. Response (3 hours later?) "I told you I'd asked Person H. She's out of the office until next week. Harrassing me will not get this resolved overnight. You are very unprofessional and it's YOUR fault that it's taken so long for this to be resolved".

Oh no she didn't....

Yes, she did. She has blamed a failure of THEIR staff on me. I have complied with every single request that they've made of me and somehow this is MY fault? It's my fault that 7 people before her who were sent the certificate by fax, email and US Postal Mail have not received it? It was my fault that it took them from February to November to see that "Oh, this corporation name does not match what we have in our system" even though they've been sending us invoices and we've been paying them? UNBELIEVABLE.

I responded that I have no hope of this being resolved overnight or, quite frankly of it being resolved at all given the history of this whole matter. I told her I did not need a response from her, I will deal with Person H when they come back to the office next week.

Meanwhile, I will begin searching for another source of the product we get from VBCE. Because a year to handle a simple issue is 11 and a half months too long.

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