Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Figure These Odds

I HATE Quicken 2005, and the U.S. Postal Service sucks.

Since 1994 I've paid bills using Quicken and Check Free (which wasn't, but it was pretty cheap and very reliable). Input the bills in quicken, hit a button, my bills were paid electronically.

Enter greedy Intuit, who decided they wanted a piece of the bill paying pile o' dough, so they bought out Check Free and created Quicken Bill Pay. I had no choice, if I wanted to keep paying my bills electronically, I had to use Quicken Bill Pay AND upgrade my version of Quicken to 2005. Intuit was nice (they should be), and sent me a free copy of Quicken 2005 Premier.

Before Quicken 2005, Quicken was a very simple program. Track your bills, track your accounts, life is good. When I installed Quicken 2005 Premier, the first thing I thought was "what is all this crap?" Charts, reports, bar graphs, annoying reminders (bill comes in, I pay bill, who needs more of a reminder), "simplistic" menus (my ass), and I can chart and track my stocks, bonds, how much fiber in my diet from the Quicken analysis of the food items I purchase at local grocery stores... ok, I can't do that, at least I don't think I can, as I haven't made it through the 3,000 page Quicken Quick guide yet.

I want to pay my bills. I want my bills paid on time. That's all I want.

The first problem with the upgrade was that it added 3 numbers to every payee zip code, then told me it couldn't pay my bills. I fixed that.

The second problem was, every time I said "pay a bill" it made it a check I needed to print out. No, I want you to electronically pay my bills... ok, I can do that... by sending a check to the payee. NOOOO, I want you to ELECTRONICALLY pay my bills. I can write a stupid check, why should I pay you 13 bucks a month to do what I can do?

So... for some reason, in October, Quicken decided to send Office Depot a check. Before that they would pay electronically without a problem, but October appeared to be check month.
On October 20th, I get a letter in the mail from the U.S. Postal Service, inside was the check that was suppose to go to Office Depot (on the 1st). The letter said: "we process 8 million letters a day, and well, we screwed up on this one, as it was found damaged and stuck in one of our machines". Nice. Ok, so you processed 7,999,999,999 letters on that one day, and hosed up mine, but why did you send it to ME? Why didn't you send it to who it was addressed to? On October 23rd I put the check in a new envelope and mailed it off to Office Depot.

Sunday I go to pay some bills. Three bills that I sent off to be paid came back and said "hey, don't forget to print me!" I DON'T WANT TO PRINT YOU, I WANT YOU TO BE PAID ELECTRONICALLY! So I demand they get paid electronically. To which one of the bills said "I've already been paid, but I'm just not going to say that." Now every time I close Quicken, it says "you have bills to be sent". No I don't. Yes, yes you do. No I don't. I'm arguing with software now. Fine, send it. "Oh, I'm sorry, but that's already been paid, but you have bills to be sent, would you like me to send them?"

Tuesday rolls around. I get the mail. In the mail is a letter from the U. S. Postal Service. Inside is THE FREAKIN CHECK FOR OFFICE DEPOT FROM OCTOBER!!!! The letter inside says: "we process 8 million letters a day, and well, we screwed up on this one, as it was found damaged and stuck in one of our machines". TWICE? THE SAME CHECK?? How is it that a check gets sent from one place, gets stuck in a machine and mauled, gets sent back to me, then I send it from another place and the same thing happens? Out of 8 million letters A DAY, how does this one keep getting caught in a machine and mauled?

The check is no good, past the 90 day expiration. I racked up a late fee from Office Depot the first time it got sent, and now... Oh, it gets better. I open up a credit card and find that they didn't get the check sent by Quicken that was suppose to post on December 24th. Everyone else got their checks, but they didn't.

By now, I'm livid. I fire up Quicken (it reminds me that I have a bill to be sent NO I DON'T!), and start firing off nasty e-mails to them, which they, of course, have not responded to. I'm sure they'll say that the Office Depot fiasco is the post office's fault, not theirs (it wouldn't have been if they had paid it electronically which they started doing again for no reason in November), that because of the holidays, and the fact that the other credit card check will invariably come back to me mangled won't be their fault either. I'm sure they'll even go so far as to blame me for the "you have bills to send" message, or tell me to upgrade to a new operating system (a whole other tale of woe).

I don't want this bloatware on my computer anymore. I don't want them to pay my bills anymore, I'll pay my bank to mess up my bills and only have to deal with one excuse generating autoreply when something doesn't get paid (instead of Quicken fingerpointing to my bank, the post office and some wino on the corner for their lack of organization). The only problem is... much like crack (I hear) it's literally impossible to wrestle yourself out of the many talons of quicken bill pay once you've started. I'm going to start cancelling my auto-pay stuff one by one, starting with our mortgage the moment the next payment gets sent (to Alaska and gets stuck in a machine there). Little by little I will get away from that bastion of incompetence, and if I have to, dammit, I'll write checks myself for the postal service to lose.

what a bunch of crap, on top of everything else going on.
Alpacas... Kansas... here I come.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Two words, babe: PeachTree...ok well it's one word, but technically it's two because a Peach Tree is not spelled Peachtree....and afterall, do you want a Peach tree balancing your checking account and paying your bills...but then of course, you went with quicken which makes you quicken every time.
Nothing like having a program that sends you into birthing contractions when you aren't even pregnant.

not very intuit of Intuit.