How to deal with this stupid apartment manager?

ARRGH!! I’m so pissed right now.

A few days ago my son asked me if I could pay his rent for him as he didn’t get paid til today. (Friday) The deal was, I pay the apartment complex, he pays me.

On the 1st, I stop by the office and hand them my credit card. The lady types the info in her computer and the computer comes back with: 'This charge was rejected by the bank."

Knowing I have more than enough to cover the funds, I tell the lady, that can’t be right, try it again. She does and gets the same result.

So now I’m slightly panicked. I’m thinking I’m a victim of ID fraud and some one has emptied out my account.

I tell the lady to hold on and let me call my bank and see what the problem is. As I was doing so, the lady tells me: “When you call your bank, they’re probably going to tell you that the charge is pending. But it’s not, it wont go through and we wont get the money.”

At the time I’m thinking :dubious:.

So I call my bank and sure enough, not only is there one charge for $700 but two!! That’s $1400 these f’ers have tied up in my account right now.

I get off the phone and tell the lady that their (the apartment’s) CC system is messed up. She then suggested that I pay with a check. I then suggested that she go to hell. Okay, not really, I told her I’m not paying them any thing until that $1400 has been released back into my account. She told me this was fine.

Today I go back to the office. I already have a money order that my son gave me. This f’n bitch has the nerve to tell me that now, I have to pay a late fee to the tune of $125! I then reminded her that this was her office that screwed this up in the first place. And I damn sure aint’ paying her a late fee.

She insisted that it wasn’t her office. Her axiom was: Everybody else’s card went through fine except me and two other people. I told her the fact that three other people had this problem doesn’t help her case at all. In fact, it helps mine as we’ve established a common denominator here. And never mind the fact that she knew exactly what was going to happen before I even called my bank. Indicating that she’s done this song and dance before.

She came back with: "If it was my system, it wouldn’t have accepted, any CC payments. I told her that’s not how the Internet works. (She entered my info via a website.)

She was adamant, told me if I did not pay the late fee, they would continue to grow until eviction or payment.

So I paid her the damn $125. [Heh, in the memo line of my check I put: ‘This is BS’]

I told her this isn’t over and left.

So now what? Small claims court? How does one take a large company to small claims court? Who do I name? Something else?

Frankly, I’m so pissed right now that I don’t care if I have to pay $200 in court fees just to get my $125 back. I’ve got a point to prove dangit!

You don’t say where you’re from, but most areas have a court that’s especially for landlord/tenant relations. Search those terms along with your local city or county and see what comes up.

You might have blown it by paying the fine. I’m not sure if it applies to late fees, but in tenant/landlord disputes rent can be paid into escrow so the landlord can’t claim nonpayment while the dispute is settled.

I’m with you, this would piss me off. Was there no grace period? That seems like a crazy fine for paying a day late, especially after clearly making a good-faith effort to pay on time.

Not crazy if they get away with it and get to pocket those “late fees” like that.

I agree that you should probably try landlord/tenant relations court first.

But I like the idea of small claims court. In the suit, you just name the entity to which your son pays his rent. If you win, they also have to pay court costs and fees. And it’s easy to collect, all he has to do is to withhold the judgment amount from his rent.

Good luck, and don’t let them get away with this. It sounds like some kind of SOP scam they have working on people who pay by credit card.

eta: the reason I like small claims court is that it might teach them a lesson, if they end up paying court costs on top of refunding the late fee. If you go to landlord/tenant relations court you might get the refund, but they don’t lose anything by it either. So they’re more likely to keep trying this on with the gullible.

I’m not sure why you think the apartment manager is stupid. She’s not the one with a hundred twenty five dollar hole in her pocket.

Thank you Boyo, you could have used this opportunity to give me some sage advice, but thread shitting is also a way to go.

In some states (Oregon and California come to mind), courts will award triple damages to any tenant defrauded by his landlord. Fortunately, the pendulum has swung from the courts usually siding with the landlord (about 15 years ago) to siding with the tenant in disputes like this.

I think you did a very smart thing in paying by credit card. A third party (your credit card company) can now validate the date and time of your payment. The fact that the dipwad in the office accepted your card and swiped it/entered it into her computer for payment is ipso facto acceptance of that as tender for the rent that was due.

You can easily sue in small claims court and serve that same person in her office as representative of whatever company owns the apartment building. In the meantime, I suggest that you or your son just go on paying the rent as normal. Then sue for recovery of the late fee and court costs. Hopefully, there’s a punitive fine to hit the landlord with as well.

In a very similar past situation, I told the landlord that I considered the lease to be broken due to his actions and that I demanded he assent to the lease’s termination and that he refund my deposit in full. He blustered and bloviated until I paid his attorney an unannounced visit and explained what I planned to do if he didn’t refund my deposit and cancel the lease. I also drafted a letter that said that if contacted about my tenancy, he could only state that the lease had been terminated by mutual agreement, so he couldn’t take revenge by smearing my rental history. The final score was Me 1, Douchebag 0.

I suggest a similar action on your son’s part after the small claims matter is resolved. I wouldn’t stay in an apartment complex run by thieves any longer than I absolutely had to.

Situations like this is why hitmen were invented

Also, the low-cost, quick-an’-easy alternative to divorce. But probably not cost-effective if you’re trying to recover $125. Suing is more fun and inflicts more pain than killing anyway, especially since hitmen tend to dispatch their targets neatly and quickly.

Nobody’s dumber than an apartment building manager. You might as well try to reason with a potato. It’s without a doubt the most imbecile-attracting profession on earth.

So did your credit card get charged or not?

If it didn’t, then the lady at the apartments was telling you the truth. She could have explained it better to you, and she could have said “I can tell you from experience that the charge will not go through but discuss it with the bank if you want to. However, late fees apply if it isn’t paid by the 3rd (or whatever the day is that the late fee kick in) so be back by then”. Sure, they may have a crappy credit card system, but you still owe the rent. And by waiting until the 6th to go back, what did you expect? Your son could have paid on the 6th.

Now, if your credit card did get charged, I’d demand the $150 back.

Edit: and tell your son he needs to plan so this doesn’t happen again.

As a customer, I have every right to believe that the merchant’s method of payment will work. If it does not, it makes absolutely no sense that I should be held liable. I mean FFS, they tied up $1400 of my money because of their negligence. Thank god I had more money in there to pay my other bills. If not, I would have been in a world of hurt. What then?

Your mistake was writing the check in the first place.

Next time do EVERYTHING by credit card.

Since you can’t go back in time, I would have your son deduct $125 from next month’s rent.

I would pursue it further simply because there is obviously an error being continuously made on their end, and if a stop is not put to this, it will continue to happen, if not to you again to someone else.

I agree, except when they explicitly tell you that it did not work. Then what?

Did you pay by credit card or debit card? You said credit card, in which case I don’t see how they tied up $1,400 of your money, but it sounds like a debit card. And I know it’s a recent transaction, but do you know yet if the card was actually charged or not? I think it basically comes down to that.

If the charge made on the 1st actually went through, then they owe you the $125 back. If it did not, then I don’t think you have much of a chance of winning in small claims because they told you, at the time of the transaction, that it did not go through. Heck, they even suggested that you pay by an alternative means, but you waited until the late fee kicked in.

And you don’t owe the late fee. Your son does.

It sounded like the transaction DID go through but didn’t show up as such on the office computer.

In that case the apartment owes Shakes either $825, or $1,525, but he’s only complaining about the $125, which makes me think those charges didn’t go through. Which is why I asked.

Looking at it from the apartment manager’s point of view, I’d imagine that a few of the tenants have trouble paying on time, and have tried every ruse they can think of when the rent is due. I bet they get denied cards and bounced checks all the time, and that is probably why they are adamant about the late fee.

It was a check card. The charges did not go through but it tied up $1400 of my money for five days until it was eventually released back into my account. But see, the thing is, I had no way of knowing it was going to be released back into my account. I had only the word of a stranger to go by. I’m not going to gamble $1400 of my money on a stranger’s word, then write her another $700 check on top of that.

What made this whole thing so dubious was the fact that her computer said the charge was denied by the bank. If that were really true, it would not have shown up as a pending charge on my account (twice). It would have shown up as a return charge or no charge at all. This is the whole reason I was uptight in the first place.

And again, just imagine how fucked I would have been for those five days if all I had in my account was $1400. What would I have lived on?

She knew it wasn’t a ruse as she was the one that told me how all this was going to play out.

So really the apartment complex didn’t get their money until you paid them late. Sure, their crappy credit card processing system caused a $1,400 pending charge that never went through, but good luck arguing that in court.

I’m glad you paid the $125, if only so your son doesn’t get dragged into this stupid situation that wasn’t his fault. Next time, write a check. Or get a credit card. Or trust a large merchant when they say the charge didn’t go through.