27 May 2009

Panic. American Style.

Last week began with a HUGE moment of panic. I went to our bank account online to make sure our mortgage payment had gone through. I'm still trying to get onboard with making payments electronically. I won't do automatic electronic payments - it's just too much out of my control; but I often pay bills online.

Imagine my horror when, several days after our mortgage was due, I saw that the amount had not been withdrawn from our bank account. A visit to our mortgage holder website confirmed it. I had not sent the payment. I am careful about these things and I have a very reliable system (in my head AND on paper) that I've been using for years. In my head AND on paper, I had ALREADY SENT THAT PAYMENT.

I immediately set up a payment RIGHT THEN and then kicked myself for somehow missing this, knowing that there would be a late fee.

That was last Tuesday, the 19th. On Wednesday afternoon, I got a phone call from the mortgage company, telling me our account was deliquent, etc. Isn't it GREAT FUN to get that news on your answering machine? Sheesh, people, have a heart. Especially in this economy. Thankfully, I can pay our mortgage, but what if I was in a jam? Wow, phone calls like that don't make you feel any better.

I called them back and told them I'd set up an automatic payment the day before. They checked my account and there was no record of an automatic payment. WHAT? As I was talking to them, I went online and checked for myself. They were right - no payment had gone through.

Assuming that for whatever reason, the electronic payment thing was just no longer going to work with this place, I made a payment right then and there, over the phone. The lady told me the payment would go through the next day and all would be well. No worries.

I checked and the payment did go through the next day, which was Thursday. Yay! Finally THAT drama was over. Or so I thought.

On Saturday morning, I online accessed our bank again, and there was WAY less money than there should have been (have you guessed that I'm a bit anal about our finances?) I checked the online ledger and guess what? Remember that initial payment I made when I found out we were late? Yeah, that one went through on Friday.

So now in response to being late with the mortgage, I had inadvertently made TWO mortgage payments. But we do not have the money to make two payments. Sure, the money was there to be withdrawn, but it was already accounted for; and in some cases, checks had already been written.

Can you say PANIC? AGAIN?

I phoned the mortgage company and explained the situation. But it was Saturday, so nothing could be done until Tuesday. !!! I obsessed about it all weekend and I checked my bank account online every five minutes. Thankfully, yesterday the payment was reversed and now I can breathe easy.

But I'm seriously considering just going back to the old reliable method of writing checks. It's worked for me for years, so why mess with a good thing?

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes


Mary Bullock said...

Sounds like the stuff nightmares are made of! Good thing your mortgage company is so understanding - we had to do battle with a particular bank several times because they kept messing up our account. It can be really scary dealing with big banks and organizations. But glad to hear it worked out for you - and yes, I think that checks are probably a far better way to go. Hope life is gentle with you today.

jenn said...

I wish I were more anal about finances. I tend to be of the "if I don't think about it, it must be OK" school of thought. Which is not good at ALL.

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