Yesterday I started my day as normal checking emails. Surprisingly, it was one of those odd days when there was nothing ‘to do’ in my inbox. How nice for me.
I checked my ‘other’ email address, which I do everyday, but it’s mostly junk (facebook messages, groupon – that kind of thing). Because I didn’t have any actions to take work wise, I sifted with a bit more care through this inbox. No biggie, right?
I saw a statement of what I wrongly thought was our Tennessee phone/internet bill, which I opened just for fun. Now, a bit of a back story…
In the fall last year, I put the phone and internet at the house in TN ‘on vacation’ – so instead of paying about $90 a month, our bills would be about $20 a month. I planned on ‘turning it back on’ around now – mid April. In late February I received an odd (I’m saying odd because I don’t usually get them) bank statement from TN – our account was overdrawn. I was shocked and bothered and stressed to say the least. In the winter, we generally put enough money in the bank down there to cover all the aut0 bills that come (insurance, water, phone/interent, and power). After a little investigation I realized that the phone company never put our service on vacation, and had been charging us the full amount all winter long!
So I called the phone company, and of course they had no record of my request (even though the woman I spoke to actually called me at home in Canada, as she couldn’t put our phone on vacation unless we had ‘digital phone’ – which I agreed to)… blah blad blah. I actually had awesome customer service and the phone company agreed to credit us for a full 6 months of bills. Yippee.
So during this time our bank account was drained. When I was in Florida the first time, I sent a money order to cover the house’s expenses until we have some rental income. HOWEVER, I neglected to consider the other bills that came into arrears during that time, as well as the growing NSF charges. Duh! ARG!
Sooooo…. I opened our electric bill, which I thought was a credit for our phone bill, yesterday and saw a balance of $243, which is crazy, as our monthly bills usually top our at $35 a month! So again, more NSF charges, interest… blah blah blah!
So in a call down there I learned:
– I could not discuss the account with them, as the account was in PF’s name (I charmed my way around that… I think ‘my husband is going to kill me’ really helped).
– Our electricity was turned off as of March 15th. Awesome.
– They tried multiple times to call us, but had a WAY wrong phone number.
– They have our wrong address, so no mail!
So all in all, it was totally my fault. A completely stupid oversight on my part not considering all the other accounts in arrears with NSF charges. I don’t make a habit of checking the TN bills as I ‘know’ there is enough money to cover our expenses. Duh! That won’t happen again.
So (I need to wrap this up quickly), the phone company needed to call me back, and I attached the phone to my ass all morning and heard nothing. I learned when calling yet again, that their office can’t call internationally. Yeah, so I sat stewing in my stress for house! Super!
I could get the electricity turned back on immediately (paying the arrears plus a $30 charge) with a credit card (yeah!) – kind of important as the next bank draft wasn’t scheduled until April 29 – no good, as William arrives there on the 25th! And he would kill me if there was no electricity! I had Jen (PF’s girlfriend who lives in PA and obviously has an American bank account) fire off a big ole cheque to cover any other random charges. (I think we’ve paid more than $200 in NSF charges! Stupid!!)
The company also requires a SSN. Super. We’re Canadian. Kinda hard for us to have a SSN! Luckily PF has a US Tax Payer Identification Number, which works in these cases. If not we would have to pay a $300 deposit on top of everything else!
So trust me when I say I’m going to pay a lot more attention to what is going on down there! I have online banking for our TN account (it’s super crappy compared to what we have here), and I’m committing to checking it weekly! Our electricity will be back on today, and the woman I dealt with re-assured me that I’m not a complete moron, even commenting that in the 13 years we’ve had an account with them, we’ve never missed a payment. Still…
So it was pretty funny when William called me when I was in the middle of dealing with this hot mess yesterday, and he asked, ‘how’s your day going?’ and of course I said, ‘good, good, not much going on really. How’s your day?’
Yeah… live and learn. Life’s (still) good, just a little more expensive than it was!