Posted by on May 30, 2024

         I opened the “bill drawer” (in Evelyn’s desk where we keep incoming bills until we get a day to pay them) on May 22nd.  One of the bills was from Fivemost (not the real name), our home insurance company.

         Somewhat taken aback, I saw that the bill was due the next day (May 23rd).  I knew that my check would never reach them in time, so I decided to try their online payment method (the last thing we need is a smudge on our excellent record of bill-paying).  I found the site easily.  Of course, they asked for a user name and password, so I opened my manila file folder of passwords only to discover that we apparently never had need for setting up an online account.

         No problem.  I clicked on the “Create an Account” tab and was taken to the next site.  I entered the first pieces of information they asked for.  I was stunned when the next message that came up said something to the effect of, “There is no account associated with this information.  A phone number and email address are required.  Please call [this phone number].”  Why they didn’t simply provide spaces for me to enter my phone number and email address, I don’t know.  But in such situations, one simply does what one is told in the hope that the yellow brick road will eventually lead to Oz.

         I did get a representative who, after hearing of my failure to set up a new account, assured me that she would email me instructions for doing so.  Of course, I’m panicking, because I’m assuming that all of this has to be wrapped up in a day to avoid a late fee.  But the nice young lady explained that Fivemost offers a grace period of a few days before any penalties would be applied.

         So I kept an eagle-eye on my email.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip. 

         The next day, May 23rd, being left with no recourse, I called Fivemost again, this time my call being answered by a young man who, between his accent and the poor phone connection, was very difficult to understand.  After I gave him my policy number and name, he took at least five minutes just to locate it on his computer (he later said that all their computers were running slowly that day.  The call took some 35 minutes, but I’ll bet only 10 of those minutes were spent in actual conversation.  The rest of the time I had to wonder if the rep had fallen asleep, taken a coffee break, or visited the cafeteria for lunch because there was nothing but the sound of silence from his end). 

         Then came the moment I was about to explode.  After locating my policy, HE confirmed my phone number and email address!!  They had that information all along, and it WAS associated with my account!  I was fit to be tied!  Why were they making me jump thru all these hoops, wasting my time with someone I had to keep asking to repeat what he was saying, only to learn that it was all totally unnecessary?

         At that point he said that, should I want to do so, I could pay the bill right there.  I said that my main concern was that I wouldn’t be late with my payment, so, yes, let’s do this now.  “Well, I’m not authorized to take your credit card information, so please hold while I send you to our secure payment department.”  Oh, for crying out loud ….

         Once connected with the secure payment department I was actually able to pay my bill.

         This whole scenario raises in my mind the question of why it is that businesses make it so darned difficult to give them your money.  They jump all over you if you’re the least bit late with your payment, but then, as in my case, you’re making every effort to send them their payment and, in the most conscientious way available to you.  Then they set up one roadblock after another (create an account, insufficient information, call a rep, etc., etc.). 

         Makes no sense.  Makes NO sense.

Posted in: Writings