Twelve years ago, I went to Houston to see my brother Michael. While I was helping him with some yardwork, I found his old DirecTV system sitting in the garage. I made him an offer, and had it shipped to Dallas. Hooked it up, got a signal, then called my cable company (CoServ Cable) to cancel that service.
It ended up that I had a leftover balance of $3.25. Knowing that every penny counts, I told them I’d take a check. A couple of weeks later, I got the check and deposited it. One thing to keep in mind is that with my then “pay-off-the-credit-card” budget, I tended to dip low in my bank balance. Well, one month I started bouncing checks, and I know I hasn’t overspent my account!
Turns out the $3.25 check bounced, and I got charged $20 by my bank for it. CoServ had declared bankruptcy in the two weeks it took for me to cancel cable and receive my refund!
Being the cheapskate that I am, I decided to do something about it. I found a bankruptcy hearing notice in the local paper, showed up, and put myself down on the list of creditors owed. I’ve received stacks of bankruptcy paperwork from the law firm handling the procedure, which
turned out to be interesting reading and likely cost more than $3.25 to print and mail. However, the bankruptcy (like all) dragged on-and-on with no resolution. So I forgot about it.
This process has been going on since summer 2001.
Two years later, I returned to my apartment from dinner with my parents (the tasty beef stroganoff I remembered from my childhood paired with a terrible bottle of South African wine). I then wandered out to check my mail. The only piece of mail I received was from a strange address, Lain, Faulkner & Co. It looked official enough to not immediately trash as junk mail.
I opened it, and inside was one check for $3.25 made payable to one Matthew McGarity.
Three cheers for the power of determination.
Dinner’s on me.