My $1,981.05 Mistake
Yup, you read that correctly. I recently made a $1,981.05 mistake. Like all mistakes, it wasn’t intentional. I simply didn’t pay attention. I didn’t double-check my work.
Have you ever made an online bill payment error? A big error?
I did for the first time in I don’t know how long, so long I can’t remember. A couple of weeks ago, instead of paying my final City of Ottawa property tax bill for 2011, I sent over almost $2,000 to Sears Financial for a balance I never had. That’s right, I owed Sears Financial nothing. I owed the City of Ottawa Revenue Division two grand instead.
What did I do? Well, first, I panicked. Then I felt a bit of remorse. Then I got mad at myself. During my foggy transition from remorse to anger to rational decision-making, I called my financial institution, told them what happened immediately after the transaction and they promptly launched an investigation to get my money back. I also called Sears Financial and informed them of my error. Both institutions, thankfully, were empathetic and understanding. Notably, the customer service representative at Sears Financial, Ann was her name, said I should get the money back “no problem because you don’t owe us any money”. That was reassuring. Over the days that followed since my online payment error, the “back office” of my bank called the “back office” at Sears Financial to get their internal processes going to return the money. After calling my bank a few days after my hiccup to find out the status of the refund process, the bank’s customer service representative reassured me as well, saying “don’t worry about this, we deal with these things all the time.” I guess misery does have company, lots of it for this stuff.
Last week, I got our money back from Sears Financial, to the penny. While I was annoyed with my mistake I was also very happy everything worked out, thanks to my understanding bank and the fine folks at Sears Financial. Mistakes are just that. Nobody is immune to mistakes no matter how careful you are. Laughing at them is also therapeutic, which I’m doing now as I write this post. As I age and make more mistakes (no doubt) I’ll try to remind myself how insignificant most of them are in the grand scheme of things. Al Franken had a great quote about mistakes that goes like this:
“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.”
Well said Al.
Al Franken – U.S. Senator, former SNL comedian, actor, author, writer and radio host.
What do you think of my blunder? Have you ever made an online bill payment error? How did you handle it?
My Own Advisor