This morning marked the end of a long and frustrating saga involving Ally bank’s Bill Pay feature. Let me preface by saying that I’ve been a customer for 10 years now and this is the first issue I’ve had, but it was a doozy!
I’d been using Ally’s bill pay feature to pay our kids’ preschool each month and, until last October, everything had been going smoothly. That’s when we received notice that the school had never received our October payment of nearly $600, despite it having cleared our account via bill pay.
For those of you unfamiliar with how it works, Ally debits your bank account on the date they believe the check will be delivered, not the date it clears. This money goes to a third party, Northern Trust, who actually cuts the check and then mails it out. In our case, the check was intercepted in the mail and cashed by an unknown person, so the money never made it to the school. Per the check image, no one ever endorsed it, but they were able to clear it nonetheless. A dispute was filed and the police got involved because apparently this is a thing that’s been happening up and down the East coast with checks mailed to schools.
Now with a brick and mortar bank, this would’ve been resolved pretty quickly and you’d get your money back in maybe a week or two. Not so here since a third party was involved. After calling and emailing every two weeks for a status update, which they were less than helpful in providing, we got our money back today, 127 days after filing our dispute. Fortunately we were able to float the loss of the money for that time, but it could easily cause a lot of problems for someone who couldn’t and it illustrates the importance of keeping an emergency fund. Please be careful when using bill pay and know that this is a possibility and you’d never know until your payee made you aware.
TLDR: Our Ally Bill Pay check mailed to our kids’ school was intercepted and cashed. It took Ally 127 days to restore the funds after filing a dispute. Careful out there, everyone!
Disclaimer: This is a guest post and it doesn’t represent the views of IWB.