When it rains, it pours

Two weeks ago, a mistake either on my credit card issuer’s part or my part resulted in my checking account being in red for the first time in my life. I had set up the monthly auto-payment for my credit card on my old Netbank checking account. As some of you may know, Netbank was shutdown by FDIC late last year and its assets was acquired by ING Direct. ING Direct’s strength is its savings business. Its checking account business is just barely usable. So i decided to switch all my online bill payment, including the credit card autopayment to my local bank. In order to switch from one checking account to another for that particular credit card, i not only had to update the credit card website, i had to sign and return some document acknowledging the autopayment. In fact, for some reason, the credit card issuer never received the first document i mailed. So i ended up sending them a second one.

It was for this sole reason that i thought the autopayment would not take effect until March. In February, i bought a brand new Mac Pro using this credit card, incurring a hefty bill for that particular statement. Thinking that the autopayment would not be engaged until the next statement, i did an online bill payment from my checking account. Several days later when i checked my account balance, to my horror, it was in red! Apparently, that credit card’s autopayment took the same amount of money from my checking account, not realizing that i had already paid several days earlier. I was furious. My local bank charged me $32 for overdraft fee and because another online bill payment was made after my account went red, it charged me another $32 for return check fee. After contacting the credit card issuer, i was told the quickest way for the money to be redeposited back into my checking account was to contact my bank and have them cancel this payment as a “unauthorized” transaction.

My local bank told me that i would have to sign an affidavit in order for them to cancel the transaction and it normally would take between 5 to 7 business days. So i waited. 5 business days later, nothing. 7 business days later, nothing. It was not until i contacted the bank again that i found out it does not take 5 – 7 business days for this to clear up. The “5 – 7 business days” was the minimum days it would take them to mail me the affidavit. After i sign and return the affidavit, it would take them several more business days before they could cancel the transaction. I was infuriated. Why would it take 5 – 7 business days for my bank, which is head quartered locally in Seattle, to mail me the affidavit? At this moment, i was pretty worried that i won’t have enough money in my bank for my monthly mortgage payment.

It was of no use trying to convince my credit card issuer to electronically return the extra payment that they took from my bank account. Apparently, they can easily take money out of my account but the only way they could get the money back to me was via snail mail. Not willing to wait any longer for the affidavit from my bank, i asked for check to be mailed to me.

Last Friday was pay day. Also on the same day, i got my tax refund. On the same day, i received a bonus check from my previous employer in the mail. So in the matter of one day, my bank account balance went from close to zero to “fully loaded”. When it rains, it pours πŸ™‚

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