Are there bills that you refuse to pay electronically, or am I the only maverick running loose across the range?
These days, I pay all monthly bills by EFTs, except the phone bill. I never trusted Qwest, which in the past was prone to sending incorrect statements full of phantom charges. But because they had been OK for several years and because I no longer make many long-distance calls, I opted to let them engross money from my checking account. That was a mistake—it added even more aggravation to the late, great Qwest saga. So, when I switched to Cox, which after all is just another giant squid of a telecom corporation, I decided to keep its tentacles out of my bank accounts.
Cox’s statement hasn’t arrived this month. It’s usually here by now: last month I wrote a check on the 6th, meaning the bill would have been sitting around the house for several days by then. The bill actually isn’t due for another couple of weeks, but they claim you need to get the payment to them ten days before the announced due date, to ensure it posts on time. So I had to call them on the phone, navigate the infuriating punch-a-button system (is there any question why so many Americans have high blood pressure?), then find out what’s owing and what their mailing address is.
Snail-mail is so passé that the employees don’t even know what the company’s address is. It took the human I finally reached two tries to find what she thinks is the correct accounts receivable P.O. box.
There are some corporations, IMHO, that can’t be trusted. The phone company is one of those: I want to see the bill before there’s even any possibility of money being released. Ditto that for credit cards. I never pay credit-card bills electronically: I do not want Visa or American Express to have any access of any sort to my bank accounts, other than through a check. I want to be able to see and confirm each charge in each billing cycle before sending money.
A credit-union rep once remarked that it’s not a good idea to pay insurance companies electronically, either. I do: long-term care and life insurance premiums are EFTed to the relevant companies. But I don’t pay the annual homeowner’s and auto insurance that way. Too squirrelly: you never know when they’re going to run amok with the premiums, so I want to minimize potential hassle if I decide to switch insurers.
What bills, if any, do you pay the old-fashioned way?