For 41 days I was whopping $27,000 richer than I should have been!
When I balanced my checkbook online in late September, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I saw a gigantic deposit into our joint checking account that day and it had me blinking in disbelief.
In a moment of temporary insanity, I tried to figure out why my husband would deposit that much money into our checking account rather than our savings account... The insane part is that we would have had a check that big to deposit anywhere in the first place, but it was a conversation in my head...
Me: Wow, that's a lota loot!
Insane Me: Cha-Ching!!! Mama needs a new pair of shoes.
Me: Why in the heck would Hubby put that much money in this account?
Insane Me: Hello vacation!
Me: Staring blankly at the computer screen as if to will answers out of it...
Me: Dare I actually ask Husband what's up?
Insane Me: Nope, let's just see what happens.
I did ask and Husband had nothing to do with it. He seemed unfazed by the whole thing and went back to reading the newspaper.
It was Friday evening so I decided to wait until Monday to call the bank and sort things out. Okay, true confession, I could have called the bank immediately but the inflated bank balance looked so pretty in my account.
When I checked my online statement Monday morning, the now AVAILABLE CASH was still there.
I dug deeper into my online statement and clicked on every possible link until I brought up the actual deposit slip for the $27K.
Reality smacked me in the face.
Someone-- whose handwriting looked shaky (translation: old) had completed the entire deposit slip by hand rather than using their pre-printed one with all the contact info and account number included. The writing was not great but it was fairly easy to read their full name, complete address and account number.
From what I could figure out, the bank teller mistook a "4" for a "7" in our account numbers and the deposit was credited to our account by mistake.
When I realized the deposit was the result of human error, not a computer error, I was actually a little ticked off. A hand written deposit slip should have been a red flag for the teller to double check the name, address and account number. If he or she had they would have immediately caught their mistake....
Our last name is simple-- Jenkins. Old Person's name looked something like-- Siatoslavovakisia!
So as I see it-- Old Person/Siatoslavovakisia made a deposit and a teller didn't bother to double check their work and a boat load of money landed in our account my mistake.
Okay, mistakes happen.
But no one called me about it. I called the bank! Which means the poor person who hand wrote their deposit slip was probably bouncing checks all over town while they tore their house apart looking for the original receipt from the careless teller to prove they'd made the deposit in the first place.
Can you imagine having no proof of a $27,000 deposit?!?
Then again-- Maybe that person has so much money they didn't even notice $27,000 was missing....
Ohhh, yes, I've played this story over and over in my head too.
Did I mention I called the bank and talked to a customer service person who sounded very, very far away to straighten things out? He was nice, but definitely not talking to me from anywhere in North America.
I felt so much better after I came clean and advised the unknown customer service person that the twenty-seven thousand bucks didn't belong to me. Being much poorer has it's benefits and a clear conscious is definitely one of them.
I actually slept like a baby that night knowing Mr. Siatoslavovakisia had his money back.
But did he?
Day after day, I checked my account balance to see if the money had been transferred out and every day my very inflated balance greeted me-- as if daring me to write a check.
I held on firmly to my good karma and waited for the bank to transfer the funds....
Until I told my accountant friend about the lost loot and he asked if I'd gotten a paper trail to prove the funds had actually been returned to the rightful owner.
It never dawned on me that the far away customer service person wouldn't do the absolute right thing just like I had and returned the money to the rightful owner. Never once did I think to get his name, ID number or even ask for a supervisor. No, I figured everyone was as honorable as me.
Oh yes, a conspiracy theory was unfolding in my head...
As the clocked ticked-- now a full three weeks since the deposit-- and the money tormented me in our account, I spun a thousand stories on where the money would eventually end up-- A Swiss bank account, an undercover fake account belonging to the customer service guy, or worse, in a bottomless pit of cash at the bank from people like me doing the right thing that never actually gets to the rightful owner.....
I know... I have too much time on my hands.
Exasperated, I printed out a copy of the deposit slip and mailed it to Mr. Siatoslavovakisia. I included a note with my phone number in case he needed further confirmation. (No, I did not give him my bank account number.) Ten days later, all that money was still teasing me and Mr. S. hadn't called.
Now, frankly, I was a little miffed, so I marched down to the bank in person, copy of erroneous deposit slip in hand, and talked to the Branch Manager-- which was more like a 20 year old kid pretending to be a banker. I got her name, rank and serial number and even asked for a second bank employee to witness the transfer of my account number and the name, address and probably account number of Mr. Siatoslavovakisia.
Then the Branch Manager asked me about 4,000 questions to make sure I wasn't some nutcase messing with someone else's checking account.... As if I was the problem!
Finally I left feeling confident all was right in the world and soon my bank account would go back down to it's usual pitiful balance.
But that took ten more days....
I realize this was a minor error in the grand scheme of bank tellers-- And that my major bank has a lot of "occupy" protesters hanging around lately to deal with-- And the people I spoke with dealt with me honorably, but really, FORTY-ONE days to be teased before the powers that be check and recheck that I was legit enough to GIVE BACK $27,000 that didn't actually belong to me.
Or worse, 41 days for Mr. Siatoslavovakisia to get his missing money!
Sheesh. No wonder the banking industry is in such a mess.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna Jenkins
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