Logic Problem

Well that was odd. I went to my credit union to find out why they rejected a draft from Paypal:

On Jan 11, 2014, we [Paypal] attempted to transfer $3.99 USD from your bank account ending in xxx6. This transfer was returned by your bank on the reason below:

This is an invalid bank account number.

The teller couldn’t see the rejected transaction on her computer so I went to a customer service desk and explained the situation. She brought up the account and told me there was a transaction at the post office. True, I had just come from mailing a package; and yet so not relevant to my inquiry. Then she printed out the last 3 or 4 weeks of transactions “so you can see the Paypal transactions”. Very nice, but not helpful since the $3.99 rejection on the 11th did not appear on the printout. I asked about that and she said rejections wouldn’t appear on such a printout. Okay.

I asked, who can see the rejections? She called someone. The upshot of the call was to tell me that if the routing number and account number were typed in wrong the transaction wouldn’t go through. Again, quite true and yet not meaningful in this situation since there was no typing involved. I linked the checking account to Paypal nearly two years ago and it worked fine until the 11th. I pointed that out and asked if the bank would have changed the number, because otherwise it’s the same old number that’s been working for two years. She responded to that by carefully writing my account number on a slip for me. Very thoughtful, but as I told her I do know my account number, and if I forgot it’s on all my checks, and unless the bank changed something it’s the same one that’s been working for Paypal for two years. We parted with the understanding that if it happens again I’ll print out the notice Paypal sends me and bring it in.

The above account is abbreviated since we several times trod the logic path of it’s the same number for two years, it’s worked for two years, so what is the variable that made it not work on the 11th? To me that seems like a progression that any bright school kid could follow, but the customer service rep drew a complete blank on it.

Several time lately people have suggested to me that applying logic to situations isn’t always what the social occasion calls for (“People don’t like that.”). Maybe so, but in the case of a bank transaction rejection it seems to me the appropriate response on the part of the bank rep is to try to trace the cause of the problem in a logical order. When I run into something like that, I debug it. It worked up to X point, okay, so what changed at or just before X point that caused the result to be different this time?

Here’s hoping it was a one time glitch.


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