Friday, October 30, 2009

Step 2: Minutia Overdrive

This is what happened at the bank...

Probably somewhere, back in the mists of possibly early summer, I overdrew my checking account. My system of checks and balances failed to find it. It may have been a series of small errors so it was less likely that I would notice that things failed to properly align. It took until this month to finally show up. So, let's say that is, in fact, my fault.

The account became overdrawn on October 15th. I didn't get a notice until the 24th, although I had seen a problem on the 20th. But I looked at my account on the 19th before I went shopping and there was nothing that alerted me to a problem. It wasn't until the 20th, that I noticed the whopper. I didn't start receiving any notification until the 24th at which time I was told to fix the problem by the 20th or I would be socked with fees. Wha? According to the gentleman I talked to, fees were attached to the account on the 20th and made retroactive to October 15th. He was surprised this had been done, particularly when I hadn't received any notice there was a problem.

He has petitioned for a fee waiver and reversal. My paycheck was in the account, but there are all these fees so I don't dare write checks for much of anything. I got money out to live on and I have one bill that HAS to be paid, mess or no mess. As there has been no activity since the 21st, once all these fees have been reversed, and he's confident they will be, I'm to balance my account and start a brand new check ledger with that total. That way, I have a total that we both agree on and I can start "fresh", as it were.

I told him about a problem I had paying my bills online. He sighed and said the button I'm using is just like mailing the payment. It's withdrawn from my account and then sent, electronically, to a lock box. The lock box takes those payments and applies them to the appropriate account. It can take 5-7 days to do this. I incurred fees because a payment was late in September when I had a receipt number for making the payment. He has petitioned to remove those fees on the grounds that the web site is too confusing. He said people like him have been complaining for years that that button is not clear and too many people are penalized for thinking they have set up online payments on specific days and they have not. He told me where to go to pay online.

But, I'm supposed to be getting paper statements and I haven't received one of those in at least 6 months. He checked and I'm supposed to still be getting them. Maybe some of you can do everything online, but I must have that piece of paper so I can make sure I'm writing the correct amount in every single line. You would be surprised how often I catch myself transposing a single digit.

He changed my savings account to a better one, one that pays more interest and has no fees. I had seen all sorts of withdrawals from my savings account, withdrawals I didn't make. That was the bank taking money out of the savings to keep the checking afloat. Fees associated with removing money will be refunded as well. He also upgraded my debit card to one that gives me points (Be still, my heart). Whatever. I'm not likely to use them unless I can get something completely free.

I'm on the fence about all of this. I still think they should have someone sit down and find where the error was made, even if we have to do a huge archaeological dig in the computer systems of this bank. You can be sure, if I suspected they had pulled something and a court said, "Give me April of 2009", they would have it. I'm going to wait until Tuesday, when I'm supposed to be receiving a call about the fee waiver. There's another bank right across the street from the office. You can bet that if the fees aren't waived or if there's something socked onto my account that I didn't know about, they are getting my business.

To use a tired metaphor, I'm not out of the woods yet, but I think that's the edge of the forest I see ahead of me. I'm getting comfort food tonight, pizza. I figure I deserve to take care of the inner me, breathe deeply, and, while the football game is in progress tomorrow, figure something out to make sure this doesn't happen again. I'm given to understand that large, involuntary withdrawals from savings institutions which involve stocking masks and firearms are slightly illegal.

Beverage: Orange juice


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