I had the misfortune of paying bills on Monday when I realized my checkbook was empty so I put it aside and worked on other projects for a while. I then remembered I had to go down to the leasing office to report a problem in the apartment, and figured I might as well pay my rent while I was down there.
I was able to report the maintenance issue, but I went to write the check…it wasn’t anything there. The landlord wasn’t in at the time, but it was embarrassing none the less – particularly since my last meeting with her was over a banking error (they sent the leasing company $97 instead of $970).
Naturally, it is much easier to think that rather than say someone at the bank missing a zero on the keyboard that I must somehow not know how to write a check properly (even though I’ve been renting here for seven years). Therefore, the missing $873 must come from somewhere, and she made me call M&T at a distinct disadvantage of not having a statement or a cancelled check in front of me while she and her maintenance guy stand in my doorway.
The woman on the phone insisted it was my fault and that was enough proof for my landlord. However, the agent on the phone did say she would send the cancelled check to me. In the meantime, that $873 was still hanging over my head. I had no choice but to make a check for that amount and hope to be exonerated later on.
Flash forward two weeks, I get a letter from corporate offices at M&T bank with a blurry photocopy of a cancelled check that was conveniently illegible. That’s not exactly a great help to me… but as it turns out, in order to reorder checks I need to provide Deluxe with both my account number and the routing number of the bank. The easiest place to find those numbers is… on a cancelled check.
I put the barely legible numbers into Deluxe’s web form and it worked perfectly. I chose a design and hit “order my checks” and went on with the rest of my evening. However two days later, I knew I had to something about this rent situation so I went down to the M&T Bank office to inquire about temporary checks I could use while waiting for the real ones to arrive.
I get to the front of the line and the thirty-year-old woman behind the counter rolls her eyes and begrudgingly calls me over. I explain the situation to her. She rolls her eyes again, pulls a blank check out of her drawer and hands it to me. I start filling it out when she looks at me exasperatedly and says “what are you doing?”
“I told you I needed to make rent and other bill payments.”
“That’s a withdraw slip – it is for CASH ONLY!”
“I can’t pay rent in cash.”
“Well, I’m continuing this transaction until you can tell me EXACTLY what types of payment they DO take. NEXT.”
I leave the bank and look up the number for the apartment complex on my phone. It wasn’t in my contact list so I looked it up on my Smartphone. No answer so I was essentially forced to walk all the way back to the leasing office to find out. I get three blocks away from the bank and I remember that I forgot to destroy the withdraw slip with my name and account number on it so I rush back to the bank to find the slip exactly as I left it and tore it up in the middle of the lobby.
That out of the way, I tried calling the number from Google one more time. Still no answer, they were probably at lunch so I looked down at my watch and decided that probably wasn’t a bad idea either…