Friday, September 5, 2008

Why I Don't Use Automatic Bill Pay

I read this sad blog about a 70-year old man in Lancashire, England, whose death went undiscovered for 2 years, while his expenses were continuously paid by his bank’s automatic bill pay service.

As a single gal, I often worry about how, if I was wrongly accused of a crime, I would have no witnesses or alibi while I'm home alone. (I think about this every time I watch Law and Order re-runs.) Now I’ve got this to worry about!

Fortunately, this would never happen to me since I haven’t subscribed to an automatic bill pay system. I haven't done so because I like the control of deciding when I pay my bills. Ha ha ha. The real reason why I pay my bills manually is because I want to make sure I have enough money in my checking account before I pay my bills.

But even if I had a significant cushion in my checking account, I doubt I’d subscribe to an automatic bill pay system. I’ve read anecdotal tales about how some vendors continue to withdraw funds for cancelled accounts and how others withdrew erroneous amounts (usually in the payee’s favor). Victims complain about how they were forced to spend enormous time and effort to rectify these “errors”.

Aside from these nightmare stories, I worry more that automatic bill pay would cause me to become complacent. Would I continue to review my spending as carefully? Would I check my bills as carefully for errors? I may never know.

I guess the most important lesson to learn from the deceased 70-year old man is that I should never become a recluse and remain connected with my friends and family. I would be extremely sad if my death was discovered only because I didn’t pay my rent and utilities on time.

Anyhow, it's TGIF! Have a great weekend everyone!


Escape Brooklyn said...

The NY Times had a gruesome article last weekend about a guy in my neighborhood who died in his apartment. He lived alone and his poor dog was half starved (but ultimately okay) by the time someone found him. A neighbor complained about the smell and by the time they opened the apartment and found the guy's body, the bugs had taken over. (Hello, my worst NYC nightmare!)

Sorry, that's a really gross story but your post made me think of it. Guess it's a lesson to also get to know your neighbors better so they realize you're missing sooner?

Penny said...

that IS scary! I pay my bills with checks! I just like being in control of it all and the act of writing out a check! For $0.42 I don't have to worry as much! (plus now I don't have to worry that they didn't know I died!)

Penny said...

I just realized I used a ridiculous amount of exclamation points in that comment! I'm sorry, it must be all the espresso I've had today.

Shtinkykat said...

Eeeewww, Brooklyn. Here's another gross thought - I'm surprised that the dog didn't eat the poor guy. Eeeeeeeewwwwww... Sorry about that.

LOL. I've noticed I liberally sprinkle exclamation points in my posts and I have to reel'em in. (BTW, it's okay to be exuberant on a Friday!)

Note to self: Bake cookies for my neighbors this weekend...