Two weeks ago, I received a bill from the pediatrician’s office on account of a check having been returned.  Twice.  Never did I imagine that I would have occasion to write that sentence.  What a milestone on the road to ruin!  (What next?  The electricity being shut off?)

Medical bills are incomprehensible, as far as I can figure.  But after careful scrutiny I gleaned the check number and went to work.

I investigated my records and saw that there was enough money in the account to have cleared the check.  I called my bank, and they confirmed that my accounting was correct — and said that no attempt had been made to clear the check.

I called E in the pediatrician’s billing office and asserted that there might have been a mistake, and that I was puzzled as to why I received their bill.  She offered to send me a copy of the check, which arrived the following Monday.  Upon studying the ooga-booga on that paper, I noticed that there was a big string of numbers at the bottom of my check, and then below that another big string of numbers.  Those two big strings of numbers were identical, save for one digit.

I took that to my bank and learned that the fateful missing digit was from the routing number.  Whoever had done the data entry in the attempt to clear the check had missed a spot, such that the receiving bank was trying to clear a check from an account that didn’t exist.

I called E back and explained that the error was in her bank, and she instructed me to call the customer service line at her bank to sort it out.

I did so, and they were ready to resolve it but could only deal with one of their customers, which I am not.

I called E yet again and asked her to resolve it directly with her bank.  She said she was not herself authorized to sign on that account and told me to call A, the practice manager at the pediatrician’s office, who is.

I called A and she agreed to look into it. 

Does anyone beside my husband think this should have ceased to be my responsibility several steps back?


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