Well, this wasn't exactly the way I wanted to start the new year. I had hopes of perhaps enjoying a little less excitement in 2009, since 2008 was chock full of significant happenings, intrigue, and general craziness. Apparently it was not to be. I am destined to fall through the cracks in one way or another.
I had the audacity to pay my bank $25 to stop payment on an erroneous automated checking debit on New Year's Eve. Everything fell apart after that. It's a simple story, really.
I've used PayTrust to handle my paper and electronic bills for over a decade. Yep, 10 years. Their service allows for paper bills as well as electronic bills to be processed and paid, either by check or direct debit. Over the years the service has changed a bit, the price went up slightly, Intuit bought them, but overall it's always been stable and secure. In all that time, I've never called their support services, at least not that I recall. That was until last Saturday.
Two weeks ago, I discovered that the automated payments to my power company had stopped. Apparently there was a detection issue with their paper bills and instead of being paid normally, the bills were ending up as unassigned and sitting there. This has happened from time to time with PayTrust, and as soon as I figured out the issue, I assigned the bills and scheduled an immediate payment of a substantial sum of money to the power company. That payment went through the next day and all was well. At least, all was well until an automated payment for the identical amount left my bank account five days later, also destined for the power company. I had paid them twice, for some reason.
My online statement clearly showed that the power company was the recipient of the payment and that it had left my account. All this was complicated by the holidays, and so on New Years' Eve I called the power company and the bank several times. Both originally told me there was nothing they could do, but eventually the bank said that the payment was actually pending (even though my account showed the debit) and that a stop payment could be issued for $25. I opted for that and sure enough, the money didn't leave my account that evening. All was well.