Imagine that you are someone who takes pride in how you manage your financial life. You have set up most of your bills to be paid online out of your checking account or a credit card. You have solved the problem of worrying about whether your bills get sent to your winter home on time. Things have usually worked out the way they are supposed to. This is important to you to keep your credit history in good shape.
And then one day you walk to your mailbox in Florida and there are three letters from your longtime car insurance company of over 25 years. The first one demands an overdue payment because your bank said your account was closed. If not paid the insurance will be cancelled. The second one says there is a large fee because you had not paid the bill. The third one says you now have a new policy, price revised sharply upward because you no longer have an extended payment transfer set up. And you are 1300 miles away from home.
This happened to me last Thursday! I erupted with a flash. Especially after I checked with the bank and they had indeed taken the payment out of our account right on time. Over the phone they assured me they done it right and I could see that online. They definitely had taken the money out.
So I called our insurance agent, venting my anger. It seemed worse to me because the local agent had received a notice that the account was closed and no one bothered to check with us. After talking to me they assured me that they would find out what had happened and repair the damage. Later that day they called, very apologetic, and said it would be fixed. But since it wouldn’t be done in time for the March payment electronically I needed to send them a check immediately for that.
I accepted their apology but I was still very angry that no one noticed anything was wrong. The next day I sent a check for March. You can bet I’ll be watching for another revised policy soon.
I guess it had been quite a while since I had been so upset, and I started to think about why that was. As you get older it isn’t always so easy to do your everyday chores like bill paying quite as smoothly as you once did. Somehow this time it felt harder for me to cope with the problem. But by nightfall another phrase had come to me.
“Human Error”. It had been human error that made the mistake and once I accepted that the anger faded away and I could sleep peacefully again. Another lesson learned for me, we are all in the learning and accepting business. Hopefully I won’t have to put my emotions thru this one again. But…I will be watching and make sure they take care of the problems they gave us.