My $0.13 Check

As I was sorting through my mail yesterday, I came across a correspondence that looked suspiciously like a check. It was one of those “the envelope is the letter” kind of things where I had to tear off the edges all the way around it in order to get it open without destroying the contents.

I wasn’t expecting any money, so, of course it was a great surprise. However, after successfully opening the envelope (with the skill of a surgeon, I might add), my surprise immediately turned to confusion.

While it was a ‘real’ check, it was for only $0.13. Yes, THIRTEEN CENTS.

It was some sort of  interest overpayment refund, but it left me dumbfounded.

I had never seen a check that had been written for such a small amount. I mean, the postmark alone showed that it cost the company $0.42 to send it to me! But then, I added in the cost of labor and supplies to print the check, to confirm the amount on the check was accurate, and the cost of delivering it to me.  While it was a crude calculation, I wouldn’t be surprised if my $0.13 check cost the company $5 to send it to me.

I understand the significance of them wanting to balance their books and keep things fair. However, doesn’t it seem like an awful lot of wasted resources went into this $0.13 check? I wonder if there could be some kind of industry consensus that, if a refund is owed to a consumer, a check would not be issued unless the refund amount exceeds the cost of printing and sending the check. I know it’s simplistic, but it’s a good place to start.

If companies would stop wasting resources on such paltry amounts, then maybe interest rates would go down for everyone!

What kinds of similar experiences have others had in this regard? I’d sure be interested in hearing from you. I can’t be alone in my confusion!

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