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Apr 28, 2006

THIS is What a Tax Refund is For???
I have a pattern to my life. There are certain things I do at certain times on certain days. One of those things is to pay my bills between the 21st and 27th of every month. I have had all of the due dates on my bills changed to fall in the first week of the month, so that every bill will arrive on time even though I pay them all on the same day. I also take each bill as it comes in and stack them, unopened, neatly in my kitchen by the garage door. This is for two reasons really. First, it looks neater, and second, I don't freak out each day I receive a bill. I only have to freak out one day a month this way. Much better. If it is an odd bill, I will usually open it but the general bills like electric, gas, credit card, cell phone, mortgage, car...those all remain unopened until the last week of the month.

Then one day, I sit down with my stack, hop online and pay everything on my bank's bill pay system, secretly excited that I am effectively stiffing the USPS for approximately $60 each year in stamp sales.

I do this every month. It works for me. I am never late with bills, I can see exactly what damage I am doing to my bank account. If the electric bill is particularly high one month, I can compensate by paying $50 less on the credit card bill...It works...

Or so I thought. My gas was turned off. My God. How embarrassing is that statement? I cannot believe it. I have paid on time and in full for every month since I moved to my house...Until last month, apparently. I missed a bill. Honest to goodness missed a bill. And apparently, Atmos sent me a termination notice 10 days after the bill was due. TEN DAYS. I didn't open it, because I just figured it was the next bill. I didn't even think about the timing when it arrived. Why would I? I always pay my bills. So it sat there, neatly stacked, until the 26th. On the 26th, I paid my bills. I found the notice, freaked, and subsequently called Atmos. The automated system told me my account was paid in full. Ok, good. No problem then right? Uh, no. This morning, the water ran cold. Not a drop of hot left. Remember how I said the water was unusually chilly yesterday? Yeah, this is apparently why. I don't understand why the automated system thought I was paid up, though.

I called this morning and was told my gas was turned off on the 25th. ONE day before I called. Unbelievable. But ok, just get it back on. I expected to pay the overdue bill, and a fee. Yup, I was right. PLUS a deposit and taxes, making my $123 late bill a whopping $404. For a bill that was ONE MONTH LATE. On an account that has never been late. I cannot believe how much they are charging. It's ludicrous. And didn't I pay a deposit way back when I opened the account???? Isn't that what a deposit is for?? To cover instances just like this??? So my next step is to contact my bank and see if I can get a copy of my statements for the first two months I was in my house to see if in fact I did pay a deposit. Because you know if I did, then all holy hell is about to break loose...
posted by Ty @ 4/28/2006 | 4 comments