Just as Ian and I were getting ready to pack up and leave today, Montana came in and handed us a packet of information regarding our tv/internet/mobile bills.
Apparently, Julia signed us up for 2 and 3 year contracts (with the companies) when we first got here. The longer contracts saved on start up fees and also gave us a discounted monthly rate. They knew that we were only signed up with Yoon's for one year, but they figured that they could pass on the services to the next round of foreign teachers. But, the company has decided that we will be their last foreigners, so, they must cancel the contracts early. Because of this, the company is asking for that the difference (from the one year contract monthly fee and the discounted multi-year rate we've been paying) be paid in full. The bill came to 545,604 won or approximately $450.
So, naturally, Yoon's decided that this was our responsibility.
We told Montana that we were never in control of these contracts and therefore were not going to pay for the company's mistake. It was the company's responsibility. Ian left to call Julia, who did not answer, but promptly called Montana's phone.
He spoke with her, asked us if we would like her to come down and speak with us and we said yes.
She showed up about 15 minutes later.
Before she would let us say anything about the bill, she wanted to discuss why we wouldn't just talk to Montana about these things. We tried to explain that Montana has been working for Yoon's for less than a quarter of the time that we have and he, more often than not, does not have the answers we need. As we are running out of time, we figured it was best to talk to Julia directly (or as directly as one can speak through a translator).
We finally got down to talking about the bill. At first, Julia couldn't seem to understand the difference between paying a lump sum and a monthly bill (as in, we would have paid a higher amount each month with a 1 year contract, so what's the difference now?). Then she went on to attempt to guilt trip us by telling us she signed up for these elongated contracts to save us money. After all, she argued, the company could have charged us the full price and pocketed the difference. But, they wanted to be moral, you know, so they gave us the discount. She even threw in the busted white board from the Janrak campus (closed down 8 months ago), blamed Ian for it and basically said that she didn't charge us the 900,000 won for it out of the kindness of her heart. That white board split because they drilled into for access to a power outlet behind it.
Through all of this, we kept pushing. We told her that the company was taking money from us left and right and that this extra $450 was a very big burden. Then she tried to ask us whether or not we thought she had a conscience, which we declined to answer based on the fact that we're supposed to have a professional relationship.
And then, finally, she bent and told us that the company would cover the bill and that she didn't want to say anything else. Montana signed our printout as a safeguard and we went on our way.
It was a small, exhausting, but thrilling victory.