Online pay systems scare me

With the technology available today, many people prefer to have their accounts paid automatically from their bank account. Charges such as telephone bills are processed directly to one’s bank account and then paid by the bank, oftentimes without the knowledge of the customer unless he/she reviews the account on line.

Today I read about a real nightmare in the L.A. Times. Verizon charged one customer for his cell phone bill, a charge just under $10,000. The bank said it normally doesn’t pay bills where there would be an overdraft; but when the vendor bills the account three times, the online bill pay system honors the third attempt and the customer is charged for the overdraft.

In this case, the bill was in error. The customer did not incur the charge. It was an error. And neither Verison nor Bank of America would reverse the entries without great effort and much consternation by the customer.

That is a perfect template for disaster! And the reason that this technology is one that I choose to avoid. I choose to retain control over my banking relations and vendor payments. This part of technology still frightens me.

Have you had any experience with such technology miscues?

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