As I began to think about what I was going to write about this week, the idea actually came to me…through my mail slot.
Yes, it’s that time again…bill arrivals (I know the bills come each month, but sometimes you hope, just one month, maybe they’ll forget). No…today isn’t about letting you know your bills are arriving…it’s about making sure the bills that arrive are ACCURATE.
This is actually why I HATE UTILITY COMPANIES & DON’T TRUST THEM. Why, you ask? It’s quite simple…Think about it…You can’t really measure the usage. It’s your word against theirs. When you get a credit card statement, you can clearly assess what you bought & the cost. ‘They’ tell you that you’ve used 200 therms of heat or 575 watts of electricity…and you just have to pay for it. How can you actually determine the true cost of a therm? If I turn my lights out, how many watts do I actually save? Right…you don’t have the answer. My theory is that they figure out how much they need to generate in revenue each month & then they charge customers accordingly – regardless of their usage.
I digress…the point of this week is to make sure you don’t assume just because it’s written on your bill it’s accurate. The 3 minutes you take to READ (not scan) your bills, could save you thousands in the long term. For every few pence ‘they’ miscalculate (their word not mine) on your bill – if they do that to millions of their customers, each month, for years…It’s more profitable for businesses to miscalculate than it is to be accurate because they know that most people don’t or won’t check their bills.
1) SCRUTINISE your bills/statements each month – read everything carefully & make sure what the companies are charging you for is actually correct, especially if you use direct debit. Trust me, if you’ve found out something’s incorrect, it’s harder to get a refund once they’ve already taken your money. They’ll essentially tell you, they need a natural disaster to happen on the eve of the birth of an extinct animal in order for you to get your refund…(ok, I’m exaggerating…maybe)
2) EVALUATE what you’ve actually purchased – it may seem simple, but know what you’re paying for & if you are actually using it. Perfect example…there are many people who don’t realise they’re paying for cable tv channels they don’t even watch. Don’t assume that once you agree to something it’ll stay the same. Companies change things all the time & yes, they’ll send you updates…in the small, tiny font at the bottom of your monthly bill.
3) CALL if it’s inaccurate – know the service level, contents & costs for what you’ve signed up for & if anything changes that you’re not aware of or the bill doesn’t make sense to you – no matter what it is or how small the amount – call the company and get an explanation. If it’s inaccurate, get your refund/credit. But remember, the trick to getting your refund/credit is to ask 3 times on the same call & when they say no the third time, ask for a supervisor. DO NOT HANG UP, then you’ll just have to start all over (trust me, it’s in the customer service handbook they read off their computer screens).