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These Checks Need More Checking

, , , , , , , | Working | September 20, 2022

Back in the days when long-distance calling cards were common, I used one to make calls home from college. I sent in a check for a little over $30.00 one month and transferred enough cash from my savings account to cover the check.

A week later, my checking account was overdrawn. I called up the telephone banking line.

Me: “My account is overdrawn. Can you tell me what happened?”

Agent #1: “There’s a $100.00 check that we cashed.”

Me: “I didn’t write any checks for that amount.”

Agent #1: “You must have forgotten about it.”

Me: “The only outstanding check I had was for slightly over $30. I didn’t write a $100.00 check.”

Agent #1: “You must have forgotten about it.”

Me: “Okay. Send me a copy of this $100.00 check.”

A few days later, a letter arrived from my bank… with a copy of my check for the calling card. I called the bank again.

Me: “Hi. My checking account went into the red because of a $100.00 check. I asked for a copy of the check, and I got a check for slightly over $30. Can you explain what happened?”

Agent #2: “Um. That’s odd. Do you see some numbers printed in the lower right of the check?”

Me: “Yes. One, zero, zero, zero, zero.”

Agent #2: “Oh. Somebody must have entered your check as a $100.00 entry. I’ll arrange a refund of the excess charge and the overdraft charge.”

What I learned when I got my next calling card bill was that they couldn’t get the money back. I had a little over $60.00 in credit. Still, I wish the first agent had been a little more interested in finding out what happened and less interested in blaming me.

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