It all began with a glass of wine…

I’m afraid to fly. Doesn’t mean I won’t, it just means I’m afraid. So to help me to be more comfortable, I take a little something my doctor prescribes and chase it with a glass of wine.

When I flew back to Pittsburgh from Minneapolis last month, I had a glass of wine on the plane. The United Airlines flight attendant swiped my debit card and the $7.99 charge showed up in my checking account two days later. That should have been that.

Three weeks later, another United Airlines charge of $7.99 showed up in my checking account. Now let me just say that the wine was hardly worth the $7.99 in the first place, let alone nearly $16! I used my bank’s online customer service link to file a “complaint” about the charge. The bank’s response was to give me back the $7.99, cancel my debit card so it wouldn’t happen again, and issue me a new one.

Because of that glass of wine, I had to log on to Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and other places that had my old debit card information and change my information to my credit card. A minor pain in the butt, nothing more.

When my new card arrived on Monday, I called the 800 number and activated my account. I went to the gas station and put $30 of gas in my car. On Tuesday, I logged into my bank account and saw that the $30 charge went to the checking account I use only to pay bills. Whoever issued my new card associated it with the wrong checking account. Because of that glass of wine, I had to call my bank and talk to an associate  who assured me she could take care of it. A few clicks of her keyboard and all was back to normal. Another minor pain in the butt, nothing more.

On Wednesday, I went to Walmart to pick up a prescription and buy a few groceries and a Christmas card, which was an adventure all its own. People were sneezing on the cards, everyone smelled of Vicks. I needed a radiation bath when I got home. Anyway, I used my new card to debit $141 from what should have been my regular checking account. Yesterday, I logged into my bank account and saw that the $141 charge was debited from my bill-pay-only checking account AGAIN, this time causing an overdraft and two overdraft fees of $29 each.

This was becoming a major pain in the butt.

Because of that glass of wine, I went to an actual branch and talked to someone in person. Cathy was very friendly and very helpful and just as confused about the whole fiasco as I was. She said the associate I’d talked to on Tuesday not only associated my card with the correct account, but she left my bill-pay-only checking account on it, too, therefore causing the Walmart charges to post to that account. She canceled my new debit card and issued me a new one (which will arrive in 3-5 business days), and she assured me that the two overdraft fees would be taken off.

Because I had no debit card for my regular account and my bill-pay-only account was overdrawn (nothing in the banking world is taken care of immediately), I had no access to money except to go to a teller and withdraw money the old-fashioned way.

This morning, I logged into my bank account. The two overdrafts were indeed removed, AND the Walmart charges were now posted in my regular account AS WELL AS my bill-pay-only account! I burst into tears. Not only did I have limited access to my money, I had way less money to access!

Because of that glass of wine, at 9 a.m. I called Cathy and told her what happened. She looked at my account and said in a rather snotty tone, “You’ll need to talk to Walmart about this. There’s nothing I can do.” What the…WHAT? Was she kidding me? The only thing I did was buy a lousy glass of wine 30,000 feet in the air more than a month ago and she was going to make me go to Walmart and have THEM fix my banks’ mistakes?

“I won’t do that,” I told her. So she said she would try to put in a request to have the Walmart charges removed from my bill-pay-only account, but that it would take two business days for her request to be considered.

Because of that glass of wine, I’m going into the weekend $141 poorer and will have no access to my money. I will use this time to decide if I should A) withdraw my money from my bank and find a new bank; or B) withdraw my money and put it in a shoe box.

I’ll think about it over a glass of wine.

10 thoughts on “It all began with a glass of wine…

  1. I vote shoe box. And a bottle of wine. 😉

    I feel for you – all of this electronic stuff means that money instantly leaves your account, but god forbid if a mistake was made…you're not getting that money back in a timely manner, nosiree.

  2. Stories like this – and I've heard others – are why I barely ever use my debit card. I mostly just use it for ATM access. I do, however, use a credit card for almost everything, pay the balance monthly, and get rewards. You've got so much more protection with a credit card, and debit cards are like a “sitting duck” fraud target sometimes.

    Anyway, so sorry to hear about all of this and hope it's all resolved ASAP!

  3. Check you bill pay account payments too. I recently got them messed up because they cancelled the automatic payments when a new account number was issued and the bills were physically sent to an old address that had never been updated on the account

  4. I've had to change cards and suffer the associated aggravation more times than I want to remember. Cathy's snotty tone is unacceptable. I think you should withdraw your money and start over with a new bank on Monday. I've belonged to a credit union for years and have found them to be wonderful, don't charge for checks and other add-ins, etc. I don't know if that is an option for you but I'd highly recommend a credit union.

  5. LOL at the shoebox option. That's about the only thing funny about this whole situation.

    I have to disagree with the commenter who doesn't trust debit cards. I went credit-card free probably 20 years ago–use my debit card for everything. I've never regretted it.

    I am a huge fan of credit unions. And again, that's been almost my only experience for the past 25 years. But I really like my credit union.

  6. What a hassle, especially considering it was all because of a glass of wine. I sure hope everything gets figured out before you really have to go to the hassle of switching banks!

  7. Oh, Lynn, I'm so sorry you've had to go through all of this!

    I use credit cards for everything, both for the points and because I've heard horror stories like yours where companies held people's funds hostage, so to speak.

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