Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bad Enough I Gotta Pay Bills...

So it really sucks to pay bills...right? Can I get an AMEN here? But really, can I go a whole month without having to call somebody and straighten out the bill they sent me? Forget a month, I think if I could go a week it might qualify for some kind of miracle designation. And if I could go a week without getting ready to cuss out some unknown person, sitting in an unknown land, I would probably move up to the top of the list for beatification, and all that. If you read my essay, "I've Been to Korea Three Times Today and the Banana Puddin' was Great", you know that I have elderly parents. I've taken over all their bill paying, checkbook functions, and all of that stuff which of course makes sense since I have that little ole Accounting degree thingy. Just wouldn't make sense to hand that over to my "much handier with a toolbox" brothers, and expect me to fix the handrails or install new locks. But now that I handle two households, the likelihood that I will be put on a hit list by some unknown customer service person has more than doubled. Just this week, I had to straighten out a dental visit for our kids (don't mystery charge me), and an ambulance company (umm, you need to file my Daddy's insurance for his insurance to like, ya know, pay it). Certain truths have emerged:

If they don't itemize - there's a reason for that and you need to find out why. Sometimes they've hidden something in there that you didn't need to pay.

If they insist that they will send you to a collection agency - and it's the first bill you've received - politely tell them to "bite me" and continue to make sure you really owe it.

Never assume that a bill which shows the insurance as being processed was processed properly. If you don't think you should owe that much...there's an incredibly darn good chance you don't, and somebody just messed up processing it. Check the details.

Call for a better deal. If they want to keep your business, they will keep your business.

Do not assume that every bill is legitimate. There are a lot of scams out there that present very authentic looking bills. Don't be afraid to google 'em and shred. It makes great packing material.

Never, never be hesitant to call. And while you're visiting that unknown, foreign land, the one their customer service rep is currently sitting in, eat some banana pudding. The stuff is really, really good and I hear bananas have lots of potassium. Which I also hear is really, really good for blood pressure. All that banana pudding is probably the only thing standing between me and the customer service rep's hit list.

Do you have some stories about wrong bills? Can you keep your cool when they are so screwed up or does it make you want to blow your top? What bills have been the worst (medical, dental, cable, satellite, phone, cell phone...)? Share your stories with us, because believe me I've got plenty to share back!

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