Saturday, December 06, 2008

In It Up To Here

The recession has really hit home for us lately- not just in increased grocery bills, but in a flurry of calls from our creditors.

Now, before you start worrying about the state of the Chockley checkbook, let me clear something up. We may have more debt than we should, but our credit score is fine and we pay our bills every month without exception. It turns out, the recession isn't just making borrowers nervous- suddenly the creditors are worrying about paying bills too.

In one instance, a bill I thought I had sent in plenty of time apparently arrived a few days late. They assessed a $39 late fee, which I paid with the next month's bill. However, in the two weeks the $39 was pending, that company called us on our home and cell phones constantly. We started to get concerned that maybe there was a larger problem than just $39, so one day we answered and talked to them. Long story short, it ended with Chip saying, "We always pay our bill- are you really this concerned about $39?" The answer was, "Uh. . . yeah, we kind of are right now." Wow.

The other story is even better. One day, out of the blue. Wachovia (with whom we have our mortgage) gave us a call. I thought hey- things are rough for them right now. Maybe they are calling to thank us for buying a house that was within our budget! No. They were calling to see if we wanted to pay our bill right then, over the phone or online, rather than sending in a check. And keep in mind, our payment wasn't late. The due date had not come and gone. And they have received a check from us every month, without fail, for over seven years. Chip sputtered indignantly into the phone a few minutes then hung up bewildered.

We wondered if maybe that was some kind of scam, but it turned out to be legit. Then we looked back through our payment history to see if we had done anything to give them the impression we weren't going to pay. But after thinking about it a bit, we realized they probably had a bill they had to pay that week and just needed some extra cash on hand to cover it. I guess you do what you have to do to avoid those $39 late fees.

1 comment:

CarrieJ said...

Yeah, can your Chip teach my Chip how to avoid those $39 late fees?!?! I have tried to take over the bill paying and he won't let me anywhere near them.