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A Tale of Two Overdue Library Books

  September 11

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I am a bookworm. I’ve always been a bookworm. Libraries are places that give me comfort and peace, which is why the story I am about to tell you makes me a bit bashful.

Back in grad school, I actually lived 3 hours away from the hubs, and I’d frequently drive to go and see him on the weekends. I checked out audio book after audio book for those drives, which made them go by just a little bit faster. After moving out of my grad school apartment in Virginia, storing my things at my in laws’ house in Louisiana, and moving to the Caribbean, I thought little about those audio books, until I did an annual check of my credit report. I bet you can see where this is going…

There, under adverse accounts, was an unreturned audio book for the small fee of $150.00. It had been in collections for a year. And, I knew nothing of it. I called the library and talked to the general manager who was actually very helpful. First, I asked her if I could just buy another audio book for the library, but no can do. Libraries have special audio books that are more durable. Did you know that? I did not. She confirmed that they sent late notices to my address, but they had all been returned since I had moved. They made no attempt to call me to let me know that the mail was returned. They just reported me.

Of course, instead of just paying for the book, I – in all my stubbornness – decided that I should look for this book in storage. After all, if I didn’t return it, I probably still had it, right? Luckily, we were visiting my family in Louisiana at the time and had access to all of our stuff. After an entire weekend of sorting through boxes and telling my husband I would love him forever if he found my audio book, that lucky guy found not one but two unreturned audio books.

Blog friends, I, Budget Blonde, am an audio book thief.

The second audio book was a whopping 7 years overdue from a library in Louisiana. Terrified of what they might do to me but bound my by desire to make things right, I decided to return that one too.

Here’s what happened:

I shipped the first audio book that I stole kept from the public library in Virginia a mere two days before returning to my home in the Caribbean. I got two e-mail confirmations for my records confirming that my account was clean. After checking my credit report again, I was able to see that the account was marked as paid, but it won’t be cleared for 7 years. Seven years. All I can do is add a note to the report that says that I never received notices due to a move. I take full responsibility for this, of course, and I obviously have a returning-public-library-audio-books problem…which leads me to the other audio book that was overdue.

That audio book was 7 years overdue (or, if you were counting, about 7x more overdue than the first book.) I decided to sweet talk the librarians by bringing a huge box of books to donate at the same time I retuned the overdue one. They told me my late fee was $1. ONE DOLLAR, people. I asked why they didn’t report me to a credit agency, and they told me that libraries in Louisiana don’t do that. Then, when I presented them with the box of books to donate, they waived my $1 late fee. How’s about them apples?

So, one library charged me $150.00 and has my credit report all messed up, and the other one waived my $1 fee with a sweet southern thank you for returning the book.

Moral of the story: If you’re going to steal an audio book, do so in Louisiana. (For you people in the back, that was sarcasm.)

Anyone else have surprises on their credit reports? What did you do about it?

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16 responses to “A Tale of Two Overdue Library Books

  1. That’s bullcrap. Louisiana most certainly DOES turn you over to credit agencies.

    ::shifty eyes::

    Because mine will be on my credit report for two more years….

  2. I love that you “stole” audio books – I have become addicted to listening to audio books when I run.

    Sorry to hear that the library is the cause of credit issues. That seriously stinks.

    My only bad (un-surprise) on my credit report was a “late” payment on student loans. The lender got my graduation date wrong and started the pay back clock three months early. It seriously sucked and try as I did, I couldn’t get it fixed.

    1. Wow that sounds completely bizarre too. I can’t believe they wouldn’t fix that for you with so much evidence?? Gerr!

    1. Seriously. I don’t mind paying fees to help out the library cause and all that. I just almost felt affronted that such a lovely place would be capable of such an annoying act!

  3. Ah I love the library too! Why pay for a book when you can get it for free right?! I haven’t had this happen to me but that sucks that they just reported you instead of giving you a call, wtf? haha Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry gets busted by Bookman for not returning Tropic of Cancer 🙂

  4. I cannot believe they turned you over to a collections agency over an overdue book ! So ridiculous. And why did they not try to call you? It seems pretty ridiculous. Glad the other one turned out better at least!

  5. My wife is always certain to return the books on the day they’re due. She rents things all of the time but hasn’t had any issues with “stealing” something. 🙂 I am not a big library guy…I like to buy the books, sticky note pages, and highlight. I’m working on my book collection.

  6. The people who put the bad report on your credit can also take it off. Find out what collection agency it went to, and tell them you’ll pay the $150 if they’ll take the note off your credit. I know it’s $150, but it’s worth it to restore your reputation! (You could, of course, also start with a lower offer and see what it’ll take.) I’ve been able to resolve every weird collections issue I’ve had this way — I would go crazy if I had to keep erroneous items on my report for seven years!

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks! To be clear, I did pay it. 🙂 It’s marked as paid on the report now, but I wish it would disappear entirely!

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