The Incompetence of the New York State Department of Labor

I began writing this piece earlier in the week when it happened the first time, but I figured it would be bad karma to publish it, so I just ended up tossing it in the trash…

Then, it happened again, and I decided that it’s time to expose the State Government for what it is: A bunch of crooks wasting our taxpayer money due to complete and utter incompetence!

To keep a long story short, I’m a small business owner, and I fell behind on some of my taxes from last year.

A compliance agent from the New York State Department of Labor contacted me, and we worked out a payment arrangement over 12 months - I pay $100.83 each month, and the ‘debt’ to them is paid.

Marvelous…

So, rather than having to remember to send in the checks each month, I decided to give the compliance agent a series of check numbers for her to run on the 26th of each month until the ‘debt’ had been paid.

You’d think that since one of the government’s main purposes is to steal your money, they’d be able to collect what they feel they’re owed rather sufficiently…

For the first few months of the arrangement, everything went fine. I made sure that (at the bare minimum) $100.83 was in the account I needed to have it in, and they got their payment.

Then, I woke up on Tuesday morning to an Overdrawn Account notification.

I checked the account, and saw that the Department of Labor had tried to cash not one, not two, but NINE checks in a row!

My account was in the red by over $750!!

I immediately contacted the compliance agent in charge of my case, explained what happened, and provided screenshots as proof.

She replied promptly after 9am, apologized, said this had never happened before on her watch, and that she’d do what she could to take care of it…

A few hours later, I received a phone call from her. She had a somber tone in her voice.

‘I’m so sorry, but there’s nothing we can do. The checks have been cashed, and the money is gone.’

‘GONE?!,’ I said in a shocked tone. ‘They just got taken out overnight. Can’t you issue a refund?’

‘I’m sorry, Mr. Weintraub, we can’t. I truly apologize for this. I gave you my word, and I see how overdrawn you are. With the holidays coming up, I feel absolutely terrible.’

‘I appreciate that, but what can you guys do for me if not a reimbursement?’

‘Well, we noticed that you owed a few hundred on your NYS-45s (of course!). We can extend a grace period for that payment another 90 days.’

I got off the phone and quickly called my bank.

Fortunately, the rep said that their policy in these types of situations was to bounce the checks, and to charge ME a $30 per bounced check fee.

I was to be in the red by $270 less than whatever my original balance was prior to this whole mess.

I again contacted the compliance agent to tell her that it’s one thing to take the money I ‘owed’ - It’s quite another to lose an additional $300 on top of that!

She told me she’d get back to me and let me know.

Over 48 hours later, I received a reply stating that I should reach out to a woman at their headquarters in Albany. She provided both the woman’s phone number and email address, and told me to keep her posted on what I was able to work out.

Since my bank is good about these types of situations, my account was back in the positive that same day, and I’d only been charged a $30 insufficient funds fee instead of the $270 the rep had thought I would be charged.

I figured that since the situation was righted, the assholes at the Department of Labor could get back to me about remitting future payments. I figured that they’d have canceled whatever automatic transaction had gone awry.

Boy, was I wrong!

This morning, Friday, November 30th, I received another Overdrawn notification in my email from my bank.

Of course, the Department of Labor once again tried to take out all of the checks in one shot!

I’m assuming this is an automated system, but you’d think they’d have at least corrected the issue after causing this whole mess the first time around.

Like on Tuesday, I contacted both my compliance agent, as well as her superior, and I’ve not heard back yet as of this writing - Over six hours since my emails!

Like any business, I have legitimate bills to pay, and I’ve been unable to do so because my account has been several hundred dollars negative for most of this week due to the state government’s negligence.

While I’ll accept responsibility for not paying my taxes in-full, you’d think the government would have both the competence and the integrity required when it came to taking my money!

I guess I was wrong…

Moral of the Story: If you think having more government is a good idea, think of this story, and ask yourself how magnifying its reach is a good thing?

Have a great weekend,

- Pete