Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Greetings From Voice Mail Hell!

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Friday, July 8, 2011

There should be a postcard for that.

Holy cow, what an afternoon. My mother called, to ask me to check to see if a deposit had been made to her account. Hey, no problem. While I was there, I noticed my checking account balance was lower than it ought to be. I'd just balanced the account two days ago, and what the hell...

There was a check for over $300. Yikes! I don't remember writing a check for that recently. I opened Quicken, and there's nothing even near that outstanding. Shoot, my outstanding transactions don't even add up to that much. There was no check number, so I looked at the image. Oy. It was a check that had also cleared yesterday, but apparently when it was deposited it got caught in the stack of checks and scanned a second time. My check was in front of a larger check - larger both in size and amount. They got the amount from the larger check and the account number from my considerably smaller check. 

The check was for a membership at a regional SF convention. I won't name the convention because I don't blame them for the problem. 

So I called the bank. Fifteen minutes through the phone tree later, I finally reached a human being in the Fraud Department. Well, this isn't fraud. It's an electronic error. She acknowledged that and said I'd have to talk to Customer Service. Alrighty then. After another quarter hour of navigating the tree (taking care to make sure I didn't end up back at the Fraud Department) I got to Customer Service...

Who told me I had to go to the Fraud Department. But it's not fraud. They sent me here. But CS can't look at the check image. I have to go to Fraud. But Fraud said...

Lather, rinse, and repeat several times. I finally hung up and went down to the bank. 

Did I mention that I've been doing housework all day? And cooking chili for a party? I'm hot and sweaty, and by this point I didn't care that they saw me in that condition. They needed to see how frazzled I was.

(Now remember, I'm a geek. I understand that stuff like this happens. One thing that thoroughly ticks me off, though, is when a company is so tight-assed that they fail to comprehend that mistakes with tech happen.)

The guy I spoke with at the bank was apologetic. He saw the problem right away, and opened a case. He asked me a lot of questions to be sure that we had all of the facts straight. The other check had the name of a different bank (presumably the one the check had been drawn on) in large, friendly letters, and he wanted to make sure I wasn't paying a charge card or mortgage payment to another bank. Nope, it was for goods and services. Tattooed right there the back of the neck - I mean, the front of the check. Well, then. Since he wanted to be absolutely thorough in his report, could I possibly make out the name on the other check? Of course, the type was small and fuzzy. I produced my industrial-strength reading glasses, squinted, and made out the name. I told him who it was and what sort of business they were in. I was very businesslike. Inwardly, I was laughing my posterior off. 

The upshot: I might get a credit by next Thursday. How nice. 

The business? I won't mention them because they're blameless in all this. Let's just say this is NOT how a writer likes to have a check from a publisher go through their bank account.

Back to work.

Have a good weekend.

Tags: Life

Filed under: Life            


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