Biff called the agency and asked to speak to the person who had first left his name (there had been three separate individuals, and Biff and Muffy had taken the trouble to make note of them.) After Biff had been put through to him, he politely informed the leech of the couple's situation, and that they were sending checks to the hospital each month in amounts that they could afford. In return, the leech insisted that not only was their effort not good enough, but also that they were committing a terrible act by sending any money to the hospital - that they must henceforth send money only to the agency. Patiently, Biff once more explained that they were doing their best, and that the agency would have to live with it, at which point the leech said "Could you hold, please?"
A new voice came on the line, a less-pleasant female leech, and Biff reiterated everything he had already related. The female leech rejected Biff's effort and vaguely implied that if they did not pay up in a timely fashion, the agency had ways of dealing with people like them. There were no specifics, just sinister mutterings. After Biff continued to be recalcitrant, the leech spoke the dreaded words "Can you hold for a minute?"
(It might at this time be wise to point out that Biff and Muffy had availed themselves of the resources of their local library and taken the trouble to research the ins-and-outs of bankruptcy, collections agencies and the Fair Credit Reporting Act due to Muffy's aforementioned hospitalization, and were well-versed in what could and could not be done by slavering packs of leeches.)
The third person to speak with Biff was the Head Leech, and this worthy knew his stuff. He was nasty enough to have cowed an enraged pit bull into abject submission. He had obtained Biff and Muffy's credit information from the credit bureaus, and knew what credit cards they carried and what the exact credit line of each card was. Their card of longest standing had a credit line of $20,000, and the leech demanded that they pay their debt using that card. Biff cheerfully told the leech that if they were to do that, the interest rate increase would push them into bankruptcy.
Biff then inquired if they had already been reported to the credit bureaus as deadbeats. The ensuing silence told Biff all that he needed to know, and he said "Since a black mark will be on our record for seven years, and bankruptcy would be on our record for ten years, we may as well claim bankruptcy and have all our debts erased. The extra three years won't matter much, and you won't get a penny from us."
This was not received well. After having been rendered speechless for long moments, the leech became even nastier, threatening all sorts of actions that they might take to harass Biff and Muffy, including sending an agent to their place of employment each day. The leech was being dishonest and Biff knew it, so he indignantly cried "You can't do that!" Biff should have said "You're not allowed to do that", because the leech mistook the first statement to mean that Biff was frightened, and began to bear down even harder.
Biff had by now been on the phone for over an hour, and it was approaching time for Biff and Muffy to ready themselves for work, so finally he said, "All right, what are the terms?" The leech wanted to be paid $2800 immediately and thereafter in installments of $200 per month. There was, of course, no way that Biff and Muffy could afford that, but Biff agreed to do so and gave the leech the credit card number. Then they hung up, and Biff and Muffy began to dress for work.
(To be continued ...)