Friday, January 21, 2011

To Pursue or Not to Pursue?

I've stumbled into a situation that really calls into question the whole, "Is it really worth the effort?" question. That's a question that crops up often when people talk of couponing. Some people claim that their time is more valuable and the would rather spend it not clipping coupons, but instead paying full price and gaining an hour. The couponers turn around and say things like "I enjoy clipping coupons and saving money, therefore, I'm not wasting my time."

I fall somewhere in the middle, but that's a whole different debate than the predicament I'm in right now.

Before I get into exactly what happened, I need to give you a bit of background.

I live in a triple-decker or multi-family home. We're on the second floor, which means that above us, usually, are Landlord and his partner. Below us, is Elderly Neighbor. Presently, Landlord (who is a college professor) is on a yearlong sabbatical around the world (nice life). In order to still pay him rent while he's away, we have deposit slips for his mortgage account, write checks, and deliver them directly to the bank. It works well, usually.

This past month, we wrote our checks like usual, deposited them at the usual bank, and went on with our lives.

I started using at the beginning of the year, and one thing that they do is send me an email if I go over in any budget category. It's a pretty handy feature, but you can imagine my surprise when I got a frantic email from them telling me I had gone over in the rent category.

Somewhere along the line, someone added six dollars to my rent check, and instead of paying the usual $530, I was charged $536. No problem, I emailed landlord and told him that the bank screwed up, I will just pay him $524 next month.

This is where it gets weird.

He received the correct amount deposited in his account. We deposited two checks for $530 apiece, with a deposit slip that added up to the correct $1060--yet I was charged $6 more. Where did the money go? My landlord doesn't have it; the deposit was correct so I'm sure the teller's drawer balanced at the end of his/her shift, yet I'm $6 poorer and have no idea who to yell at about it.

If I was clipping coupons, I would thrill at saving six dollars. Funnily enough, the bank where the deposit went was the one that just told me they wanted to charge for a $5/month maintenance fee, which caused me to close my account, so I certainly don't want to give them $6, but I don't know if they have it.

Since this is such a bizarre situation, I have to think that it's probably going to take a lot of time and effort to deal with it. Landlord is in China, so communicating with him takes a while, and I'm not even sure which bank to approach first--if I choose to deal with it.

Anyone have any advice?

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