Perhaps you are aware that technology is not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's friend. In fact, they are barely on nodding terms if they pass in a brightly-lit hallway that is hardly wide enough to accommodate the both of them.
I am the type of old fogy who prefers getting paper statements in the mail, rather than looking up my information online. Likewise, I am not a fan of automatic payments withdrawn from my accounts. I mail my payments as checks, by cracky! And I write in CURSIVE on them, even though that is a skill no longer taught in the public schools, and the Millennials getting my checks probably think it's some kind of code, and have notified Homeland Security. Oh, who am I kidding? As IF there's actually a PERSON processing those checks. I think it's been proven that you can sign them "Mickey Mouse" and they'll still go through.
Anyhoo...I won't do those automatic payments. I'll pay an extra processing fee to pay my Sirius XM Satellite bill for a whole year, rather than have an automatic payment come out of my account once per month. I don't mind paying for stamps. I write my checks and mail them the day after I get them. Not gonna be my problem if the post office people are sitting on their hineys and there's a delay. Of course, there have been those times when I never got a bill, so didn't think to pay it. But overall, my system works.
My boys do the online banking stuff. Not me. No siree, Bob! I don't want my payments being paid without me having a hand in it. I have argued with Genius over this numerous times. He calls me a conspiracy theorist, but it's not like that's an untruth. My reasoning, though, is that it's too hard to stop those payments when you need to.
Anyhoo...here's the latest. Back when Farmer H and I were just starting out, we opened a joint bank account, and one of the perks was $1000 of free Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. Who's not gonna jump at THAT? Since we had a house payment, and future little Hillbillies in our long-range plans, we also took out a little more of that insurance for Farmer H. He was driving to the city every day, working on machines, in a not-so-great neighborhood, and we wanted to feel secure in case he was incapacitated for a while.
The cost was reasonable. It was less than $100 a year. The only way to get it was to pay quarterly, $24.75 every three months. Since it was a product offered by our bank, it came right out of our checking account. Not a big deal.
Now that we're both retired, one kid educated and working, the other on a scholarship with two years of college left, house paid off, no credit card debt, only A-Cad needing a regular payment...Farmer H and I decided that we don't really need that insurance any more. Well. The underwriter or whatever you call it has changed several times. There was a class action suit, for which we received a small payment. And I had no contact information to stop this automatic payment.
I figured the bank could stop it. Right? You tell the bank to TAKE OUT automatic payments. So surely you can tell the bank to STOP automatic payments. Apparently, the bank operates like that rent-a-car company who TOOK a reservation for Jerry and Elaine, but didn't HOLD a reservation for Jerry and Elaine.
On November 21, I called the bank and explained my plight. I fully identified myself, gave the exact amount of the quarterly payments, said who it went to, gave the dates the payments came out, and asked for them to stop. The girl had me on hold for a while. She said she couldn't find the contact information. Well. Welcome to MY world, girlie! She told me that maybe I should tell the underwriter that I didn't want the product any more. Huh! That's what I called HER for! She said she had it stopped, though. That there was a number in their records. She kept trying to give it to me, but since she said she was stopping the payments, I didn't see any reason to call.
Of course, stopping that automatic $24.75 payment cost me a $35 fee from the bank! I made sure to ask if that was a one-time fee, or if they were going to bill me $35 every quarter. She assured me that it was only once. Since I was stopping the payments, it would be like a stop payment on a check. I didn't agree with that, but whatcha gonna do?
Thursday, I was checking my bank transactions on the automated phone line. Might as well USE that technology if they have it! I can punch numbers into a phone. Because I still have a land line, and I can hold it out and see the numbers. Anyhoo...I had a pending charge of $24.75. NOOOO! That's not supposed to happen!
I called the bank. Of course this girl didn't know what I was talking about, and said I'd have to take care of that myself, because it was between me and the underwriter. So I asked why I was told that my payments would stop, and CHARGED $35 ON NOVEMBER 21, 2017. At first she said she didn't see any record of that. But when I kept harping that it WAS taken out of my account, and it seemed like I was charged a stop payment fee for a payment that wasn't stopped, on that specific date, she suddenly found it.
WHAT A RACKET!
Anyhoo...she SAID they're going to refund my $35, but that I'd have to call the underwriter myself. Because apparently the underwriter has control of my checking account, since I can't stop the payment from coming out! That doesn't sound right, now does it? AND she said the other gal had put in AD&D instead of ADD to stop that payment. Which is weird, because everything list that insurance as AD&D, and NOT the ADD she's trying to say it should be. What a bunch of hooey!
SOOO...I called that number, and while reluctant to give my personal info over the phone (because I couldn't find a nine-digit account number from...oh...I don't know...29 YEARS AGO)...I did give the address and name. Of course I went through it all, only to be told that I could not stop the payments and drop the insurance, only FARMER H could do it. And he was out on the tractor somewhere.
Once Farmer H came in for lunch, I made him sit down, and shut up, and not do anything until I handed him the phone to say STOP THE INSURANCE. But of course he got chatty, and was agreeing to things I couldn't hear, and we ended up keeping the $1000 of FREE coverage. As if anybody's gonna remember that if something happens to him.
SWEET GUMMI MARY! I just wanted it to be over with! Sever all ties! Now, even though it's not (supposedly) going to cost us anything, we're still on their accounts as having the insurance. Oh, and they couldn't stop the pending $24.75 for this quarter. They can't stop it until April. I have a feeling I'll have to go through all of this AGAIN at that time. And I haven't checked to see if the $35 has been refunded by my bank, either.
Can't we go back to the days when Farmer H could drive a basket of eggs and a couple of chickens, and maybe some cedar posts, to their headquarters, and pay by bartering?