January 23, 2009 1 Comment
In 1979, I completed a year long course to become a Certified Bookkeeper. This was before the days of Excel, and Databases were new things. I wanted to be a bank teller and loved working in a Credit Union.
Today we are in a “credit crisis”, and lots of people I know have recently been through, or are going through, tough financial times. I’ve been there too, but fortunately it was in the 1980’s, when people were still processing billing statements, and entering payments. Now we have computer phone calls for missed payments.
My daughter has a car loan. Her daddy co-signed. She mailed her check over a week ago. They called yesterday, and again today, that they haven’t gotten the payment. Two other checks she wrote on the same day have already cleared. My words were useless, because I am not my husband, or my daughter. I am a non-entity, even though they called my home, and I answered their questions. No notation can be made to the account.
A few months ago, a fellow chapter member in my writing group was concerned. She got two envelopes in her newsletter envelope, that were obviously bill payments, that must have slipped into the envelope, since the flap was tucked, not sealed. This was an issue because the member lives in Canada and the bills only had US postage. Fortunately, she was planning to cross the border within the week, and would drop these bills in a US mail box.
I’ll never know if those payments reached their destination. The original sender may have gotten calls about missed payments, checks that hadn’t cleared, with no knowledge that the checks went to Canada first. So I wonder where my daughter’s check may have journeyed, and how many times we’ll get a call, because they didn’t arrive by the due date.
Until recently, if a payment was missed, the company would bill us for the two months, on our next statement. Only after 90 days, with no payment, would a call be made. Now they are made on day 31, and every day after, until the payment is received. I’m amused at this panic to get a $200 payment, because the creditor calling for my daughter’s missing check, is Chrysler Financial.
A few hours later, today, I got a call that I had an overdue payment. MCI was calling to let me know I hadn’t sent my $39.90 for last months long distance service. Could I make an electronic payment over the phone? Not likely!
They can wait for my check, and if they cut our service, there are other companies to consider.
I could add a whole bunch of stories on this theme. The point is, no matter how horrible the creditor makes it sound, if you miss a payment or your check arrives a week late, it’s not the end of the world. You might have to pay a fee, it might not be your fault.
The credit crisis, for many today, is high drama, being created,because the human factor of doing business with people, by people, for people, is no longer professional. It’s a computer generated oddity.
But the lesson on my part, since I was the one that mailed the newsletters, and tucked the flap instead of sealing it…
I seal the flaps.
The US post office deals with enough. My fellow Americans don’t need their bill payments getting sent to Canada first.
I can only do my part, a tiny ripple in the pond.