April 15, 2011

My Sanity: Yours for $1.50

Here's how it went down: my wife had my wallet. I needed lunch, so I broke into my emergency stash of credit cards, the ones I never use, activated one, and bought myself a hot dog. Then I waited for a billing statement that never came.

Eventually, I remembered using the card, and checked in to see why the statement was late. Of course, by then the account was overdue. According to the helpful bank representative, at some unknown point I'd switched that account to paperless statements. I mentioned I'd never gotten a statement, paper or otherwise...Would I like to pay the balance now, the rep inquired helpfully?

Okay. I thought about trying to fight the late charge, but it just wasn't worth getting upset about. So I told the bank guy to pay off the balance and close the account. Several days passed. I checked on the account again to verify it was closed. It was...but somehow there was a new interest charge on the account in the amount of $1.50.

And so...meltdown. I fired off a furious email to the bank's customer service center conveying the full magnitude of my displeasure. It didn't help that I was writing the email on a brand new keyboard, many of whose keys, earlier that same day, my daughter had pulled off and chewed on (this was the same brand-new keyboard I'd bought a few days earlier to replace the one she'd previously wrecked). No matter--I just pounded those damn broken keys all the harder!

There is no such thing as winning when you go to war with your bank over $1.50. Even if they eventually give you the money (which they did), it will still cost you no small measure of your sanity, not to mention your dignity. Yes, I am now the Crazy Person who sends crazy messages IN ALL CAPS to hapless customer service representatives threatening to close my checking account (as if!) over a buck fifty in late fees. Aw...Heck.

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Andy Lewicky

ANDY LEWICKY is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer who enjoys good books, jasmine tea, long walks in the rain, and climbing and skiing the big peaks of the California Sierra. email | follow



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