The Saturday afternoon mail delivery brought with it a surprise. Well, maybe to call it a surprise isn’t the most accurate way to describe what this was. A surprise generally involves something nice (unless it’s prefaced with ‘unpleasant’). This wasn’t exactly pleasant. Nope. It looked like some sort of tax statement, and it looked like they’d taken some money out of my account for federal income taxes.
Since banks aren’t open long on weekends, I had to wait until Monday to figure out that it wasn’t a tax, it was for ‘other income.’ The problem was, they didn’t know what it meant, and neither did I. So the woman I talked to promised to find out for me.
And she did.
The other income was actually an iPod they sent me after I opened the account last summer. My old bank flagged my account every time I ordered something two days in a row from Amazon (I buy a lot of books). I wanted a bank that wouldn’t do that.
The woman who set up my account didn’t mention an iPod. And she sure as shooting didn’t say a word about it being ‘income’ I’d have to pay taxes on. If she had, I’d have said thanks, but no thanks. If I wanted one, I would go to the store and buy it.
My daughter was pleased as punch when it came in the mail several weeks later. She’s the reason I had resisted buying one in the first place. In two years time, three cell phones met their electronic maker in the wash/rinse cycles, and one was crushed beneath the tires of my van. I naturally assumed that if her cell phones had short lifespans, something an inch square didn’t stand a chance.
Long story shorter, I’m going to pay $15.00 – $20.00 in income tax on that iPod. Sales tax would have only been $3.90. I’ll grant you that we’re getting it cheap, all things considered, but I’m still offended.
They assumed I opened the account because they sent a flyer through the mail, letting people know about the ‘gift.’ Unfortunately, in my house, if it looks like junk mail, it goes directly in the waste basket.
I wasn’t really awful, but I let the woman know that by not informing me about the iPod/other income/income tax when I opened the account, they not only made an assumption they had no business making, they denied me the right to decide whether I wanted their ‘gift’ or not.
The woman said she would let someone know, and I thought the matter had been dealt with.
Nope. Someone else called about two hours after I finally fell asleep yesterday morning. And this time I really wasn’t happy. Partly because I’d only had eleven hours sleep out of the past forty-eight, partly because I was tired of talking about it.
She just wanted me to know that, because of my experience, they were now going to require anyone wanting one of their ‘other income gifts’ to bring the flyer in with them. And all employees setting up accounts will have to explain that anyone accepting the gifts will have to pay income taxes on it, and not sales tax (which is a whole lot less).
So something good has come of it. At least no one else will wind up with a gift they neither asked for, nor wanted…and then have to pay for it.
Yes, this was a bit of a rant. Have any of you had an experience like mine? If so, what was your reaction? I know that even if the tax bill is $20.00, it isn’t going to make or break my budget, it’s just the principle of the thing.