THE NATURE OF THE CONTRACT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Contract

I spent a very large part of yesterday trying to get the mailing address for my mortgage company. Not the address for paying the bill, but where to send the tax paperwork so they could pay it out of my escrow account.

My bank wouldn’t give me the information. They said it was secret. Secret? It’s MY mortgage and I’m the one who pays the bill. But it was too secret to tell me, assuming they even had that address. So, I went to the website and there must have been thirty different addresses listed, one of which was for tax bills. Except the address was incorrect. They have changed the name of the group that pays tax bills but neglected to notify those of us who have tax bills to be paid of the changes. This is what happens when you switch to online bills. You don’t get any details at all.

Downtown Uxbridge

Meanwhile, I couldn’t get into my account which turned out (eventually) to be (probably) my own fault because there was a number missing. Oops. Also, in the process of trying to argue with my bank into giving me the address for my mortgage company, I realized I couldn’t find my checkbook.

Not like I use checks very often these days, but I know I had one. I have a vague and distant memory of having removed it from my bag because my bag had gotten so heavy, I could barely pick it up and I thought “Why keep all this paperwork in here when I don’t use it anyway?”

And for this, we pay the mortgage

Sadly, that’s the last memory I have of that stuff. I don’t know if I accidentally threw it away during one or another of our major cleanup efforts, or — worst of all — put it “someplace safe.”

“Someplace safe” means I will probably never see it again, or if I do, it will be years in the future and I won’t care anymore. I do have a couple of other checkbooks. Garry found them in the drawer under the printer and since our address hasn’t changed in 18 years, they are fine if we happen to need a check. But I’d really like to figure out where my checkbook and check entry pad went. I’m sure they are in this house. Somewhere.

I looked hopefully at Garry and he looked blankly back at me. He can barely find his own shit, much less mine. Ditto my son who thought my believing he might actually remember something was pretty funny. The dogs, who think it’s much too hot to go outside, were all asleep and for once, I could hardly blame them.

I’m still mad at the bank. How can they prevent me from knowing the address of the biggest bill I pay? Did I sign some kind of contract that says they can do whatever they want with this information?

Night in Uxbridge

In an earlier, more innocent time, we actually had to add the address for our payees. Now, the moment we enter the name of the company, the bank grabs it and says “Okay, thanks. Ready to go.”

This is supposed to protect me from hacking. I think it is possible that it is mainly protecting the information from me.

I am not going to be done in by the awful things happening in the world. I’m going to die of details. Of lost passwords. Of vanished items that are safely put away … somewhere. I will be crushed under the weight of miscellany.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

49 thoughts on “THE NATURE OF THE CONTRACT – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. I don’t get it either. It was one of those insane days. I couldn’t get the information from the bank and BOA is one of the places you just can’t argue with. My mortgage company is usually pretty reasonable, but their customer service number was down and the people I got on the phone didn’t know the address. They kept explaining that they would HAPPILY give me the address if only they had it. And half the information ON the website was just a little bit wrong. The kind of wrong that makes it useless. One of my credit cards had decided to become a different credit card, so they sent me a new bill with a new number (but the old balance). I haven’t gotten the new card yet and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to pay and everybody put me on hold forever.

      By the end of the day, I was ready to just sit there and scream. And not one tragic thing happened. It was all stupid little stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think the world has gone mad. I remember going into the grocery store to buy wooden matches. Couldn’t find them so I asked. They told me they no longer sell them because they are inflammable. That’s the whole idea dah….
    Leslie

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Leslie, are you serious? They don’t sell wooden matches because they’re inflammable? Sorry, that’s bat-shit stupid. How about firecrackers? What a wonderful world!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well, if you don’t have those dangerous flammable matches, the fireworks are safe. This state just within the past few years decided to make fireworks available to the general public again. Score one for the emergency room staffs…

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        1. I like to think that most of the people who blow themselves up are probably just the kind of people who were born to blow themselves up. If it wasn’t fireworks, it would be something. With or without “flammable” matches.

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  2. This could be me writing this after searching for an important paper and a key all week. I always thought it would be smart and of course I never did it, to place a list of where things are, say on the fridge or other prominent place. The old “I put it right where I knew it would be safe” no longer works for me. A friend who volunteers for the VA has a condition that doesn’t allow her to remember anything much. She has a wall of sticky note reminders. Maybe I should try that. : 0

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m in the 15-second memory span. I remember everything perfectly for slightly less than a minute and then … poof. Gone. Whatever was there is now blank. It’s like the telephone calls that come in early in the morning. I answer them. I’m pretty sure we have some semblance of a conversation, but by the time I get up for the day? I not only don’t remember the conversation. I also don’t remember the call. And throughout my life, it has always been dangerous to put things in a safe place. “Safe” and “gone” are the same word for me. This missing checkbook is going to haunt my days and nights forever.

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  3. I went to my bank in person. Face to face. Only way I’ve found that you might actually get some accurate information AND they know it’s nobody trying to hack or scam the account. What a pain in the derriere though. My bank has had the ‘brilliant’ (read incredibly STUPID IMHO) idea that their mortgage officers (used to have one at each branch), are now obsolete and a “mortgage department’ in BFE (I don’t know where it’s to be located, neither did the loan officer I spoke with yesterday) will replace all the workers. Which translated to mortgage payee speak means that all one can do in future is dial some stupid number on the phone (because there isn’t a body to go talk to), hope you press the correct number of 1s or 3s or whatever the hell will get you to a live person; and pray. I told the woman I spoke with in person that I found that to be a good reason to change mortgage companies actually, because I went with the bank because they had PEOPLE not Departments. She said a lot of other people had the same opinion, but that our collective opinion didn’t change the fact that there’ll be a department. I don’t know what this ol’ world is coming to, but I have to agree with you – it AIN’T good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s hopeless. Oddly enough, BOA — which is a huge bank — has a full complement of live people IN the bank and they are always local people and very friendly. Otherwise, though, it’s all voicemail.

      I HATE VOICEMAIL.

      I really, really, REALLY hate voicemail.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Another great example of business “stream-lining” to “improve” service. They figure if you remove human interaction, service is improve. I don’t think so.

      I remember when banks had staffers who knew customers. Parents, Grandparents, kids. You were treated with courtesy by people who were familiar with you, your family and could help with bank account numbers without going through red tape and vetting your political leanings.

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    3. Embeecee, corporations do what is convenient for THEM, not what’s convenient for us, the customers. Yet they like to advertise about how great their customer service is! Eventually, we the older generation will die off and the younger generation will put up with all the ways the banks (or whatever) find to screw them because they never knew anything else.

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  4. Checkbooks became obsolete some time ago in Switzerland. It is all done by transfer. I still have a checkbook belonging to my British bank account, but I no longer need it, When dad passed away, I paid the remaining funeral bills, although I had paid almost all in advance and there was only the gravestone left. I have a minimum left in the account. The Brits still live by checkbook. Of course I have no idea of the American system.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are still — out here in the bush — people who don’t accept credit cards but will take checks. I think I use MAYBE three checks per year, usually as gifts to the son or grandchild (because I never have cash, either). Otherwise, I didn’t know my checkbook was missing because I never use it. I wouldn’t mind not having it if I had some idea where I put it. At least I’m sure I didn’t lose it or have it stolen. It’s somewhere. IN the house. I just have no idea where.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We still have a few venues in town that take cash only, presumably so they can avoid credit card fees and also do whatever creative things they want on their taxes. I secretly love it.

      Liked by 1 person

              1. Garry’s keeps cash in his pocket. He buys newspapers, so he can put a couple of dollars on the counter and not wait in line. I usually don’t have any cash because either Garry needed it or my granddaughter dropped over. You can get a lot of things around here for less than $10, but I usually only take out $20, so you are out of money pretty fast. Like … immediately.

                Liked by 1 person

    3. By transfer do you mean credit cards or electronic withdrawal from your account? The auto withdrawal drives me crazy! There are some people – like me – who get very confused or forgetful with auto withdrawal. I can’t keep track of things unless I have to physically deal with it myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean payment through my bank. It’s direct transfer for most credit cards and other payment. Otherwise, they send a physical check in the mail. — like for the trash collector and the people who deliver oil for the boiler. Also, for some reason the electric company won’t take electronic transfers, so they get a paper check too. It depends on the company. But if I pay through the bank and someone says the check didn’t show up, they will see if it did really show up and call the people and explain that they have the check in the bank with their signature. You have NO idea how happy I am when they do that. I just smile. When BOA calls and said “You cashed the check,” they say “Okay, I guess I cashed the check.”

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    1. I once found a missing necklace in the bottom of Garry’s underwear drawer. I have no idea how it would have gotten there. I’m sure it wasn’t Garry … and I can’t imagine me in a conscious state putting anything there. I might have been sleepwalking. I have done some strange things while being asleep.

      But this checkbook — I remember taking it OUT of my bag. That is where the memory ends. I may have thrown it out during one of those frantic attempts to get rid of the tons of paper accumulated on the tables in the living room. Or it’s somewhere VERY safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope you find the checkbook. I still pay maybe eight bills a month with checks, and I like that I have to make an effort to do it, since otherwise I lose all track and if we had direct debit on everything, we would run out of money in a short time and everything would crash. As it is, I pay what I can the best I can, and very little goes by direct debit. It shocked me though that getting checks printed is VERY expensive, and most of the companies that do it are the same company with different names, same-looking websites and addresses…

    I agree that it is crazy to make it so hard to find addresses. Any number of times I have tried to look up where to send a bill if the envelope got wet or they printed it poorly or whatever, and it is very difficult–this was often for health insurance companies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I pay online, but I’m VERY careful about how the money is used. I used a calculator and figure out exactly when I can pay each bill and at what time of the month. The thing is, our social security doesn’t come in on a specific day, but on whatever Wednesday falls closest to your birthday at the time you started getting it.

      Wednesday?

      So MY check, for example, can show up as early as the 14th if the month starts on a Wednesday … or as late as the 21st. Bills are not paid like that. They have a date and they don’t care when YOUR checks come it. It’s maddening.

      Our mail service is SO slow, I don’t pay anything by check. I do send checks directly from the bank, though. These are cashier’s checks, too, and the bank tracks them and if something goes wrong, they will take care of it. I remember paying for everything by check. It was a nightmare for me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s good that you have a system that works for you. I worked for a lawyer for 17 years and paid all the checks and did the bookkeeping, including the taxes for charitable foundations, on paper with pencil, so it reminds me of being a worker when I do that sort of thing. Otherwise I lose track and that can be bad for me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I used to use a bill-pay system that tracked the money, but the bank has many of the same stuff on their website now. But I have to calculate everything to make sure there’s money left over until the next check shows up. I just wish we got more money so each month would be such a killer.

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    2. I find that when I let companies do direct withdrawal , the same thing happens to me, Donnalee – I lose track and then at the end of the month I am shocked at the balance! Some payees don’t give me a choice or make it so difficult to just send me a bill in the mail which I pay on line, that I end up giving in.

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      1. I refuse to use auto-pay. Except for the TV services where there is no other option, I won’t do it. My money comes in when it comes in and I can’t let them pull it out when they “feel” like it. They pay no attention to when you say you want the withdrawal made, so now I always leave a few extra days so they won’t draw me into an overdraft.

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    1. A lot of the time, I am bewildered because it’s so STUPID. They keep making easy things complicated and this supposedly makes us safer. It doesn’t make us safer. It just means that every little thing takes so much longer to get done.

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  6. incredibly frustrating. I am one of the few businesses that still takes checks. I prefer it, as the 3 percent plus charge for credit card or PayPal adds up fast in my very small, low overhead, try to make it affordable therapy practice. Looking into cash transfer as an option.

    I’ve learned to limit my safe places, for the very reason you illustrate, Marilyn. Best of luck.

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    1. I despair of finding the stuff. I think it’s near me, in one of the pieces of furniture in this room, but there are so many corners and piles of things. I don’t intentionally hide things. I’m always sure I know how to find it again. Unfortunately, my memory isn’t great.

      I didn’t mind writing checks, but gradually, most places stopped taking them. Too many forgeries. You really can’t win, can you.

      Liked by 1 person

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