I only check my mail at most once a month. The first Monday of each month I realize that my bus pass has expired and I frantically (because, naturally, I’m running late that day) dig through the pile of mail in my garage to find the ‘wage works’ envelope. This process is my monthly reminder that I need to clean the garage floor of mail.
Back in November I received a bill from my medical center. Since I had paid them previously online I went through the simple and easy method of paying them again. Yay internet. When I checked my mail the next time I found several invoices for the same bill. I simply ignored them. They started to call me. The pleasant automated voice told me it was the accounts receivable department regarding —- (yes, they never told me exactly why they called). After a few phone calls I finally found some time to call them back. Naturally, no one picked up and I left a message. I continued to receive and ignore automated calls and letters about the bill supposedly I didn’t pay. I secretly hopped that if I waited long enough it would magically work itself out. That didn’t happen.
Last night I found a very threating letter from the medical center; It basically told me I was about to be sent to collections. Having dealt with collections in the past (pg & e put me in collections for not paying a $5 bill and I only found out years later when I ran a credit report), I knew that I had to call them.
The process was surprisingly painless. This morning I finally called the accounts department again and I learned that the ‘account number’ on the bill is actually an ‘invoice number’; It changes with every visit. When I paid through my online bank, it went to the wrong invoice and I had a credit on that ‘account’. It also turned out that my payment for the first ‘account’ had been forwarded to a different department for some unknown reason. Yippee. At least it’s over and they didn’t stick me with a “We sent you a dozen letters and called you 20 times” fee.
This whole ordeal brought to the forefront my inability to deal with paper (and fear of talking on the phone). Even if I check my mail more often this would have happened anyway. Paper is the bane of my existence. If I can’t do it online immediately, I can’t do it for weeks.
My concern about the bill manifested itself into a stressful dream.