U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-13-2010, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,620 posts, read 13,871,762 times
Reputation: 4588

Advertisements

Perhaps I'm just venting here, but over the last week five different bills that arrived in my mailbox forced phone calls to the companies to have them explain the charges.

Is it just me or has billing/invoicing become unnecessarily complicated lately? Is it on purpose in the hope that the billpayer will be so confused that she'll just throw up her hands and pay it? And sadly, none of the billing "specialists" I dealt with had any skills in accounting.

One example is our satellite TV. We're relatively new customers and receiving all the different promotions that enticed us in the first place. We're also supposed to be getting all the premium movie channels for free for 3 months. The bill we received yesterday was a complicated mess. Under the "adjustments and credits" there were ten different items including prorated charges and credits for the previous month and some of the promotional credits for the basic service. When I added it all up it showed we were actually paying $20 for parts of the service that are supposed to be free.

So, I called the satellite company to inquire, and after 10 minutes of talking with the CSR explaining how the math doesn't work (he just didn't get it), he finally came back with "oh, the other credits will be applied mid-cycle, so you won't see them until next month." Then he proceeds to tell me to ignore the Due amount and pay such-n-such, and next month also ignore the Due amount and pay such-n-such.

Same thing with our phone and internet bill. Relatively new customers there, too. Promotional deal was free installation and free equipment. Simple sounding. But not. In their "adjustments and credits" section we had a $100 charge for the equipment, then a $100 credit for the equipment, and then a $10 charge for the first of 10 installment payments for the equipment. The equipment is supposed to be free. I called the company and I was told the $100 credit for the equipment will occur in six weeks. So, in the meantime, I'm supposed to pay the installments for the equipment and then will be credited back what I paid.

When a person buys something and the price is $X, that's what the bottom of the bill should state. This delaying the applied credits forces a billpayer to truly keep track and monitor each and every bill to make sure those credits are eventually applied.

What frosts me, in the two examples of the above, is that we were charged all the different taxes and fees on the full amounts. We were charged the sales tax on the phone/internet equipment even though it will eventually be free. Will we get that sales tax refunded? Who knows.

I don't want to offend anyone, but the various Billing CSRs I spoke with this week had zero math skills. The hotel billing specialist I called regarding a duplicate charge on our credit card stated the second charge was for the second night, and he sent me a copy of the folio. The folio shows three nights; yet we were only billed for two. Huh? The billing agent at my daughter's apartments swears we're up-to-date on our payments of the extra monthly trash and pest fee. We're not. And no matter how I explained it to her, she still insisted we're fine. I'm going to pay it anyway, because eventually, if I don't, it'll bite us in the butt. Same deal with the apartment my daughter vacated in April. Got a dun letter on June 9th dated May 7th stating we still owed money (don't know exactly how much since the letter stated three different amounts). Called the billing agent and after 1/2 hour of going through all the payments over a year's time it was realized they charged us for water in March that they forgot to bill us for. The woman never did explain the different dates and amounts in the letter -- she couldn't figure any of it out and just read off a spit-off of a report. Sad.

So add that to the complicated bills and the billpayer leaves the conversations still scratching her head.

Anyone else experiencing this mess? And all of our companies would prefer, and push, paperless billing and automatic payments. I don't think so!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-13-2010, 10:30 AM
 
5,610 posts, read 10,603,825 times
Reputation: 4777
Yes. It is not an accident.

In simpler terms it is called:

Lying, Cheating, and Stealing.

The cure:

Cease to do business with them.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-13-2010, 03:45 PM
 
386 posts, read 1,276,783 times
Reputation: 312
Yes, our cable bill is like that. It makes me crazy and I do think many people give up feeling foolish that they are not understanding the CS person. I made CS explain it to me about 10 times different ways until he finally gave me the credit. I turned the tables on them .
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-13-2010, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
6,110 posts, read 8,949,394 times
Reputation: 13702
I listen to a reputable radio talk show here in the Charlotte area, and on a money management show they said to watch your bills because companies ABSOLUTELY are putting in extra charges in error and leaving it up to you to "catch" the discrepancy. If you do, they owe you a refund, but like you said, who has the time to scrutinize every bill that arrives. These companies are counting on that.

I have cancelled services, or not renewed when my "trial period" was over based on the confusing billing and assorted mess of "fees" and the lousy, usually out-sourced, customer service. I'd rather just do without - there is nothing I need that badly.

I think we need to start contacting our legislatures about this practice.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-13-2010, 04:12 PM
 
2,318 posts, read 1,718,164 times
Reputation: 540
Confuse and confiscate . Most people will just pay the bill . Imagine the money that comes in from a few million custermers who don't question .
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-13-2010, 05:39 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
3,424 posts, read 4,188,669 times
Reputation: 2815
Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
Perhaps I'm just venting here, but over the last week five different bills that arrived in my mailbox forced phone calls to the companies to have them explain the charges.

Is it just me or has billing/invoicing become unnecessarily complicated lately? Is it on purpose in the hope that the billpayer will be so confused that she'll just throw up her hands and pay it? And sadly, none of the billing "specialists" I dealt with had any skills in accounting.

One example is our satellite TV. We're relatively new customers and receiving all the different promotions that enticed us in the first place. We're also supposed to be getting all the premium movie channels for free for 3 months. The bill we received yesterday was a complicated mess. Under the "adjustments and credits" there were ten different items including prorated charges and credits for the previous month and some of the promotional credits for the basic service. When I added it all up it showed we were actually paying $20 for parts of the service that are supposed to be free.

So, I called the satellite company to inquire, and after 10 minutes of talking with the CSR explaining how the math doesn't work (he just didn't get it), he finally came back with "oh, the other credits will be applied mid-cycle, so you won't see them until next month." Then he proceeds to tell me to ignore the Due amount and pay such-n-such, and next month also ignore the Due amount and pay such-n-such.

Same thing with our phone and internet bill. Relatively new customers there, too. Promotional deal was free installation and free equipment. Simple sounding. But not. In their "adjustments and credits" section we had a $100 charge for the equipment, then a $100 credit for the equipment, and then a $10 charge for the first of 10 installment payments for the equipment. The equipment is supposed to be free. I called the company and I was told the $100 credit for the equipment will occur in six weeks. So, in the meantime, I'm supposed to pay the installments for the equipment and then will be credited back what I paid.

When a person buys something and the price is $X, that's what the bottom of the bill should state. This delaying the applied credits forces a billpayer to truly keep track and monitor each and every bill to make sure those credits are eventually applied.

What frosts me, in the two examples of the above, is that we were charged all the different taxes and fees on the full amounts. We were charged the sales tax on the phone/internet equipment even though it will eventually be free. Will we get that sales tax refunded? Who knows.

I don't want to offend anyone, but the various Billing CSRs I spoke with this week had zero math skills. The hotel billing specialist I called regarding a duplicate charge on our credit card stated the second charge was for the second night, and he sent me a copy of the folio. The folio shows three nights; yet we were only billed for two. Huh? The billing agent at my daughter's apartments swears we're up-to-date on our payments of the extra monthly trash and pest fee. We're not. And no matter how I explained it to her, she still insisted we're fine. I'm going to pay it anyway, because eventually, if I don't, it'll bite us in the butt. Same deal with the apartment my daughter vacated in April. Got a dun letter on June 9th dated May 7th stating we still owed money (don't know exactly how much since the letter stated three different amounts). Called the billing agent and after 1/2 hour of going through all the payments over a year's time it was realized they charged us for water in March that they forgot to bill us for. The woman never did explain the different dates and amounts in the letter -- she couldn't figure any of it out and just read off a spit-off of a report. Sad.

So add that to the complicated bills and the billpayer leaves the conversations still scratching her head.

Anyone else experiencing this mess? And all of our companies would prefer, and push, paperless billing and automatic payments. I don't think so!
I have not had much problem with this because before I enter into an agreement I ask so many questions and often make them write their answers in the agreement. It is a matter of reading closely and asking many questions.

I do not think in the general scheme they lie or cheat. To some degree it is a matter of the customer asking questions to clarify.
One question I often ask if the price they give is ALL I will have to pay and if there are any other added charges that will increase the amount they told me. If they say that is ALL I will have to pay I tell them to put it in writing and that there will be no added charges, take care .
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-13-2010, 05:44 PM
 
16,433 posts, read 20,683,384 times
Reputation: 9567
"It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave..."



Moody Blues
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-14-2010, 08:22 AM
 
Location: In God's country
1,059 posts, read 2,536,798 times
Reputation: 621
I experience this on a monthly basis with our phone company. Even though i knew what our monthly bill was too to when we set up the phone, and it was never to change....it changes every month, which leaves me to calling every month and asking questions. I too have had people try and explain the bill to me, and it takes many times, and low and behold, almost every way they explain it, is different, they never get the same answer, and then i hear "oh wait" and still don't get an answer.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-15-2010, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,620 posts, read 13,871,762 times
Reputation: 4588
I've been out of the corporate world for a very long time, so I cannot recall how sales tax that's paid by a customer is internally recorded and then paid out to the respective states.

Thus, I begin to wonder about the $7 sales tax I was charged for the $100 worth of internet/phone equipment that eventually is supposed to be free. By all rights, that sales tax should be refunded to me and a -$7 should be recorded internally on the companies "spreadsheet" regarding the sales tax they've collected.

I think how easy it would be for a company to make an extra $7 off me depending on how they do their accounting. Multiply that measly $7 by millions of customers and, well, we can do the math.

As for the federally-imposed fees and nonfederally-imposed fees that glut our phone bills, it also just occurred to me that they're calculated on the charges before the promotional credits are subtracted. Again, more of my nickels and dimes are going into the profit pockets aren't they.

Crap - I'm sounding so darn cynical!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-15-2010, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
8,094 posts, read 12,771,800 times
Reputation: 8161
Agree with all of the above PLUS:

Have you noticed that certain companies are changing their bill due dates or cycles to an off date, such as the 12 or 14th of the month so that if you routinely pay your bills once a month at the same time for all you could owe accrued late charges?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:38 AM.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top