Help Me Hank: Digital Disaster
How do you cut down the high cost of housekeeping? Some shop in wholesale stores, some clip coupons. But Worcester's George Perrault had a budget brainstorm.
George Perrault, Bill Payer
"And what I did was try to find another way to save some money in the household."
Here's what he devised, after the price of a postage stamp went up to $0.37, he just stopped buying them.
"Itís not as expensive as other countries, but when will it end?"
So now youíre wondering, how does George send in his bills if he doesnít use stamps? That's why we're here: George pays his bills online.
"I loved doing it that way."
George would hunt and peck his way through his monthly payments, figuring every time he hit send, he was saving money.
Until one day, the mail arrived.
Hank Philipi Ryan
"When did you know something was wrong?"
"When I got my statement."
The phone statement showed he had a credit of more than $700! Problem was that his bill had only been for about $7.
"I thought, Ďoh my God, what did I do."
Turns out George's hunting and pecking had pecked too many keystrokes, changing $7.71 into $700.71.
"So maybe you didn't check it before you hit send?"
"I'm pretty sure that is probably what I did."
George had cyber-paid his long distance provider a hundred times too much, but he wasn't nervous about the company's response.
"What did you think they would say?"
"They would take care of it, no problem."
But here's the list of people George wound up asking for help from November through April...
"Each time I would try calling them they would tell me it was still being investigated."
Meanwhile, they were taking out $7 bucks a month for his phone bill, apparently their solution was George should just pay six years or so in advance.
"There's someone Iím going to have to call to get some help."
So we called the long distance company and told them George's botched computer entry was obviously an error and shouldn't mean free money for them..."
And soon after this big fat check arrived in Georgeís mailbox and even after his digital disaster, George is not going back to stamps.
"I make sure before I hit the send button I have the right amount on there."
Digital bill paying can be a snap, but it also can be easy to make a mistake and that could be difficult to correct. Each bank has its own rules on how to handle errors, they're often listed on the Web site.