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Spank a Bank, Pass Go, Collect $200

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Spank a Bank, Pass Go, Collect $200

November 8th, 2005  · stk

I ran into a problem with an electronic bill payment to my MasterCard Company. I had to "spank" my Internet bank, but in the end, I *think* I might have been paid $761.24 to do it!

History

I detest banks. In the early 90's, my local branch bank in California announced that they would charge a fee for returning my canceled checks. A fee here, a fee there ... I was tired of it and said, "No Way". Not only did I switch banks, but I put as much distance between me and my local branch as I could - by signing up with an Internet Bank somewhere on the East Coast. I have been Internet Banking, more or less happily, for over 10 years.

Some of the Internet banking advantages:

• Never having to stand in a line.

• Earning a good rate on my checking account.

• Using any ATM machine I want ($6/month credit for foreign ATM fees)

• Written correspondence, via email, for any help I need.

• Unlimited bill payment via "ePay" (no more postage stamps)

To read about my snafu & how I *might* have been paid $761.24 to deal with it .... read on ...

You say "ePay", I say "ePain"

So, I was surprised when I received a "non-payment" alert from my MasterCard company. I normally pay my bill, well in advance, for the full amount, using FirstIB's ePay system. I logged into my bank account and there was the ePay receipt, saying I had paid and I even had a confirmation number and everything. Still, my MasterCard company said that they hadn't received payment. So I sent an inquiry (via email) to my bank, asking that they investigate.

I promptly received a message, saying that they initiated an "investigation" with their "bill pay vendor" and it usually takes 3 business days to conduct the "research".

Research?

Three days later (I'm receiving an "non-payment" alert, via email, every day from my MasterCard Company) I get the "research":

Dear Scott,

I have confirmed with our bill pay vendor that your payment to [MasterCard Company] for $761.24 has not been cashed yet. We can place a stop payment on this item so a manual payment can be made or we can let this item go outstanding for a few more days. Within the next 3 days, please let me know what you would like to be done with this item. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

-Shari

Spank the Bank

Wow ... some research, eh? :roll: I've waited 3 days for THIS? My MasterCard bill is overdue, I'm looking at late fees, interest charges, a "late payment" on my credit rating. I'm angry. So I write back:

Shari,

First, I would like an apology for the unnecessary inconvenience that this issue has caused. I have enough headaches. I don't need more.

Second, I made payment to [MasterCard Company] on October 9th, in the amount of $761.24, for payment on October 21st, fully expecting them to receive payment on the 21st. It is now October 28th, my payment is LATE.

It's taken 3 days for your "bill pay vendor" (who IS the vendor?) to "research" the matter and the result: "payment hasn't been cashed"? This is not new information. I KNEW that 3 days ago. What I want to know ... "What date was delivery made?"; "Is there confirmation of delivery?"; "What was the method of delivery?"; "Wasn't the delivery electronic?"

What do I want to do? I would like for [MasterCard Company] to receive their overdue payment and have it credited to my account in the most expeditious manner possible. Please stop payment on that check, call [my MasterCard Company], on my behalf, explain the situation and wire payment to them.

I would like assurance that I won't have a "late payment" on my credit reports, because of a problem that was completely out of my control.

I want assurance that I won't be charged any stop payment fees, bank wire fees, and that I'll be compensated for any late fees and/or interest charges associated with this mis-delivery/non-receipt.

And lastly, I'd like to receive correspondence from First IB AFTER payment has been received by [my MasterCard Company], so that I know this matter has been resolved.

I understand that problems like this crop up from time-to-time, but really ... 3 days for "research" without any new information, no apology, and no assurance that resulting late fees / interest will be compensated? So far, I'm not very impressed with the handling of this issue.

-Scott Kimler

You're probably wondering WHY there is a "thumbs up" on this entry? Well, suffice it to say that my message was HEARD on the other end. Shari wrote back and the email started with the sentence, "I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience." It went on to indicate that she, personally, was going to look into the matter, had called my MasterCard Company, apologized on my behalf, had explained the situation and gotten both the late payment and finance charges waived and made arrangements for a Cashier's Check to be overnighted to my MasterCard Company. Further, she was going to follow up and let me know when the matter was resolved. She pretty much did everything I asked.

So, it took a bit of prodding, but FirstIB customer service came through and in the end, they pulled out a "Thumbs Up" rating because of it. My only complaint was that I HAD to ask for the matter to be handled correctly.

Pass Go, Collect $200

The real beauty of all this unnecessary inconvenience, was that the original payment (which WASN'T sent electronically, by the way) was finally received by my MasterCard Company. It must've beat the "Stop Payment" date. Anyway ... payment has been posted TWICE to my MasterCard Company (but only deducted ONCE from my First IB checking account)!

Wahoo! :lalala: Cha'ching!

Any bets how long it will take First IB to notice?

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Updated: 26-Feb-2006
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1.flag Savage Comment
11/08/05
I'll give ya 7 to 14 days.
2.flag stk Comment
11/08/05
The REAL payment (slated for 10/22) finally showed up on 10/27, but didn't "post" till 10/31.

Meanwhile, the Fed-EX check ARRIVED 10/31 & then posted on 11/01.

I've had a "double-dip cone", at a "single" price, for approximately a week! (I'm still hoping for a "free" mortgage payment!)
3.flag Vincent Navarino Comment
11/10/05
Banks are usually good at not paying money out but excel at finding money overpaid. Go figure.
4.flag stk Comment
11/11/05
And right you are ... "Returned Payment - $761.24 8-Nov-2005"

Rats!
5.flag Savage Comment
11/17/05
See, I was being generous giving you all that extra time. heheh
6.flag Sieg Comment
01/15/06
LOL, always like to see someone sticking it to the man, well done, well done