Friday, February 27, 2015

Harassed life - the problems of paying by cheque

My car insurance may be cancelled because the cheque was returned for 'Signatures not matching'. I have spent the last hour trying to overcome and prevent any complication.

I regret my mistake of having signed the cheque. My hand involuntarily shakes at times and the banks have a problem with tallying my signatures. Normally, I ask my wife to sign if I cannot pay by card or online.

I have had problems with my telephone bill some years ago - bsnl would not accept a cheque payment from me after that! Mobile phone company charged me a absurd penalty for cheque bouncing. In each of these cases, I had a hard time finding a problem in my signature. For all I know, the clerk may have been looking at the wrong record.

Does it have to be so? Is there any risk in payment of bills? What could possibly go wrong, which cannot be corrected?

Should we not assume that a cheque is valid unless it has been reported as stolen or there are some serious problems with it?

I think our society has complicated our rules and, hence, our lives just because the correction process is a problem. For example,
.Justice T S Thakur ... blamed “lack of governance” and “officials’ inability to take decisions” as prime reasons behind the deluge of cases choking the justice delivery system
... the top court of the country was compelled to spend a lot of time on cases involving bounced cheques ...
In the early days at the branch level, sometimes a helpful staff member would call and check before rejecting a cheque. However, now the clearing is happening in the back office in Mumbai and the branch staff is helpless.

I am hoping that soon either mobile payments will make cheques obsolete or robots will make the verifying clerks obsolete. The robots can easily send an sms or call us to confirm whether the cheque is valid and bring back a degree of personalization in an increasingly impersonal world.

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