I’m no stranger to bad weeks, but this one stands out in recent memory as one of the absolute worst. I’d call it karma, except it all started when I tried to do the right, honest thing, so maybe I attracted the negative attention of the prankster gods out there with my good intentions.
Right. Here’s what happened:
Monday, while going over weekends expenditures and reconciling my bank statement, I discovered a $60 discrepancy. Simply put, $60 was missing from my account, and for no good reason. I called the bank and spoke with a rep who said that it appeared to be a cashed check. This immediately set off alarms since neither myself, nor Erica, had cashed anything recently. Unfortunately they could not give me any information about the check since it was still in the clearing process. “But don’t worry,” said the rep. “It’s just a $60 hold. That money will come available in your account after midnight.”
And it did. Along with a $1063.98 deposit that we didn’t make.
I’ve read stories about this happening to folks. Inexplicable bank errors that provide needy folks with sudden windfalls of cash. In some states it’s on the bank’s head; in others, you’re liable for not reporting it and can go to jail if you spend it. I wasn’t willing to take that chance. The weird thing, though, is that the deposit slip had Erica’s name on it, along with our account number. The date on the slip, however, added to the confusion: the deposit was made on Saturday when we weren’t anywhere near a bank. In fact, I haven’t set foot in my branch in over a month. My checks are deposited electronically, and when I need cash, I go to the ATM. These details ruled out fraud. I know scammers will deposit a few bucks to see if an account is live, but over a grand? That’s a little far-fetched.
Tuesday I called the bank again. It took almost six hours to resolve the mess, ending with a revelation of banking ineptitude. Apparently there’s a woman out there who share’s Erica’s full name. Our account numbers, however, are drastically different, but when the teller accepted this woman’s deposits (one of which being a US stimulus check) she pulled up her account by name instead of a social security number. The teller applied the money to the first account that popped up – which would be ours. The person with whom I spoke assured me the situation would be corrected and the teller reprimanded. I was led to believe this isn’t the first time it’s happened with this particular teller, so I didn’t exactly feel sorry for the person. I hung up the phone satisfied and content that it was all squared away.
Then Wednesday came along and pulled the rug out from under me. I checked my account and discovered the bank had deducted the funds twice. This left me overdrawn for the first time in my life, with bills pending along with a bunch of other purchases, all of which were now liable for $33 overdraft charges. Each. Yes, had the overdraft charges taken effect, I would’ve owed the bank over $300 in fees. I actually sat at work for two hours off the clock trying to resolve the issue, and it was with the help of an amazing customer service rep named Jennifer who went to bat for me, contact the branch, and go them to reverse their error and waive all of those fees.
The other woman got her money back (as far as I know). My account’s back where it should be. My bills have been paid. I’m going tomorrow and opening an account with a credit union. Once everything’s squared away with that, I’ll be closing my current account. It was rather scary, being completely penniless for two hours; what’s worse is knowing that it wasn’t my fault at all, but the fault of carelessness.
So yeah. That was my week. Combined with the record heat and humidity, I’m feeling quite drained at the moment. I just hope weekend’s better. Have a good one, folks.
Until next time,