A mostly-fresh start


Case of the mystery UMSL bill solved.

Backstory: A bill from UMSL showed up for me at my parent’s house from UMSL in late December. I’ve never attended UMSL, I’ve never applied to UMSL, I don’t even know where the UMSL campus is. The bill was for $25, and reason listed was “previous balance”. My parents don’t remember seeing another bill before this one, but who knows. This one arrived in late December, was due Jan 1., and by the time I called their cashier’s office to figure out what was going on, they were closed until early Jan.

My parents got another bill for me this week for $32.something for previous balance + late fees. I called again today and they were actually open, and after listening to a 2 fricken minute recording I finally got the option to talk to a real person. Who forwarded me to a different real person. Who forwarded me to a different real person. Who put me on hold for 10+ minutes. Eventually I got the truth.

It turns out Beth got a parking ticket there in July for being at a meter for what she swears is less than 5 minute past it’s expiration. She was doing bridal party shots scouting photography locations there for a wedding. Since it was the other photographer’s fault that the meter expired, she paid the ticket for Beth.

Apparently the ticket didn’t get marked as paid in the system. After going “unpaid” for an unspecified time, they got the vehicle owner’s name (me) from the DMV, cross-checked it against the entire UM system database, found my parent’s address and sent them a bill for it. OMGWTFBBQ. There are so many things wrong with that statement I don’t even know where to begin.

First, what if there were multiple Matthew Jeffrey Brenneke’s in their system? Do they pick one at random? I know for a fact that there is one that lives in Jefferson City. I guess he’s not a former UM student, but what if he get’s a parking ticket in Columbia or something? Am I going to get another bill for his transgressions if he doesn’t pay his ticket? Or even if he does since they can’t seem to get that straight either? The UMSL employee told me that the address they got from the DMV was my current address, so how/why did they send the bill to my parent’s address? Because I intentionally left that old address in JoeSS/peoplesoft when I left. I don’t think I’ve been on or near a UM campus in nearly 6 years. Shouldn’t that shit expire? Even if it never expires, why is UMSL able to query peoplesoft on former UMR students on any occasion other than when they apply for enrollment? (Side note: how does the UMR CS dept send snail mail to my current address? I never gave it to them or the university, ever).

And why is an organization that is so inept at one portion of records keeping (marking a simple ticket as paid), able to hunt me down and find me when said screw-up on their end happens?

I don’t believe any organization should be able to retain/query my information that long after I have severed all ties to said organization. Time for me to start a crusade to get all Alumni information purged from UM’s peoplesoft bullshit on a regular basis.

And now, it’s on me to find Beth’s friend’s canceled check and show them proof the thing got paid 6 months ago. F U UMSL! I’ve heard enough horror stories from your current/former students to intentionally stay the hell away, and you still find a way to screw me over.