A Cautionary Multitasking Tale

Last night, I was busily attending to my tedious adult chores.  I was paying my electric bill over the phone, as well as paying my rent and water bill online, all that the same time.  I think I was trying to download Netflix on my Wii too.  I have been paying my electric bill over the phone with Bill Matrix since I moved here nearly three and a half years ago, so that’s, what, 35 times I have paid my bill successfully without any issue.

Not this time.

I was barely listening to the automated voice as I was attending to my other distracting chores.  I confirmed the amount I was paying for ($71.26) without listening. I nearly hung up when the confirmation number was about to be read, but decided to pause and pay attention to the number.

“Thank you for using Bill Matrix,” the voice chirped cheerfully.  “Your electronic check in the amount of seven-hundred seventy-six dollars and twenty-one cents has been authorized.”

My heart nearly stopped.

After my initial panic, I called Wells Fargo.  The banker recommended not placing a stop on the payment, since it was likely already authorized.  Since I didn’t want to waste $30 on something that wasn’t a guarantee, I agreed to wait until morning to call the Utility.

Did I regret that decision as I made at least twenty calls today to various entities, trying in vain to get the $776.21 stopped.  Who has that kind of money to throw around? I sure don’t.  People kept giving me different suggestions and yet no one could help me.  It was frustrating.  Of course, I would have to choose to pay with an electronic check, which is much more difficult to stop.  Of course it would be a terrificly busy day at work.  The odds were stocked against me and my stupidity.

After another call to the Utility, the representative said the best she could do was try to get me a refund check cut next Wednesday at the very earliest. After hanging up, I sadly checked my bank account.  With all my rent and student loan payments coming up, there was just no way I could afford to wait a week to get my money reimbursed.  I felt sad.  I wallowed in self-pity for a moment, tears of frustration welling in my eyes.

Before any tears were shed, though, I stopped myself.  What am I doing sitting here? I thought. I’m wasting time. This is useless. I got myself in this mess.  I’m not going to quit until I get the result that I want.  Feeling a rush of determination, I called Wells Fargo for the umpteenth time, desperately explaining my situation.  Finally, someone knowledgeable recommended that I temporarily freeze my account so that the check is not processed, which is exactly what I ended up doing.

So the moral of this story is: always pay attention to when you’re paying your bills, especially over the phone.  Because if you punch in an extra zero, it ends up being a total hassle.

Also, if you’re thinking, “Damn, Jenny is such a dumbass,” then it’s ok.  That’s what I think too.

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4 thoughts on “A Cautionary Multitasking Tale

  1. Hey, I don’t think you’re a dumbass. It happens to the best of us. Especially since you were multi-tasking and I guess…sort of took for granted that with it not being your first time, that you were doing it correctly. I’m not sure if that sentence makes any sense. It’s after midnight and I’m tired. Heh. But honestly, it sounds like something I would do too. 😉 Glad that person found a solution for you! Hope it works out.

  2. Oh god, this is why I pay my stuff online. Most companies make you enter your amount and then confirm it on an entirely different page.

    Of course, I also forgot to pay my Best Buy card because this online choice. Totally forgot it existed is all. :-/

    Being a grown up is hard!

    • I wish the story had ended there but it didn’t. They never filed the claim, as I found out, so my money is still gone :\

      I’ve done the same thing. Being a grown up is hard sometimes, I agree!

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