Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Going completely online….

I just made a decision this morning on how I am going to keep up with my personal finances. I think I am going to switch everything so that I can pay my bills online. (Not automatic withdrawal mind you… let’s not go crazy).

Screw me once… shame on you… Screw me twice… shame on me.

What happened that prompted this decision you ask?

I’ve had now three bill payments (two different mailings) lost on me. I generally pay bills on Monday evenings. I will go through to see what is due the following week and make sure that the payment gets taken care of. For example, last night I took care of bills that are due the week of the 23rd. This process has served me well for a very long time. Last December, I had mailed out a group of bills like normal. As the next round of bills came in, I noticed that two checks of the several payments made did not clear. The companies never received their payments. So, they promptly charged me a late fee, etc. I was a bit annoyed but I could understand that mistakes can happen. I called these two companies and explained what happened. They were nice and waived the late fee charge because I am in good standing and had a history of making payments on time. So, nothing was lost except time on the phone.

Well, it happened again. I mailed out a bunch of payments on February 24th. I came home after work and found one of my payments on the far side of the driveway in a snow bank. I picked it up and looked around my yard as well as my neighbors to make sure there no other miscellaneous outgoing mail hiding. I couldn't figure out how that happened since the mailman pulls right up to my mailbox with this car. I put it back into the mailbox, and went on my way. I received my next round of bills and realized that another payment has not reached its’ destination. It was not even the one that I found on the ground a couple of weeks ago! That one made it and cleared my account as well as the several other ones that I mailed that day. Luckily, it was also not one of the two companies that I had talked to before. I called this particular bill company and explained what happened. I also noticed because of this my interest rate went up an additional 9%. That’s right… 9%. The customer service rep said that they will issue the credit for the late fee and I should see it on the next billing statement. However, I still need to pay the minimum due (which is the missing payment, plus the current payment, plus the late fee, and finance charges) to get my account into good standing. That’s extra money that I simply do not have. Plus, I can’t request for the interest rate to go back down until the payment is received and the account goes back into good standing (despite my long good history that I have with this company).

Needless to say, I am not at least bit happy about this. I did the right thing in paying my bills on time. However, the postal service is proving to be less and less dependable. I can’t afford something like this happening again. Not during these times, where every single penny that I make is going towards bills. I am trying my very best to get our family out of debt. On top of this, they are raising the rates on the stamps once again. Of course, they are… their business is slowing down. They are proving to be less dependable than the online services that are out there.

Well, I’m afraid they have lost one more regular customer. I’ll be switching to online payments for all companies that offer that service.

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