When I think about being double-billed for services I automatically wonder how I could let something like a bill payment slip through the cracks.
Even though we are very diligent in watching our money you never know when you might miss something but a word of warning if you never check your bank account.
Many people do get double-billed and if it’s automated billing you’re likely to be a target of error or a computer glitch just like any other in-person service.
Many people say they don’t have the time or dislike having to sit down and manually pay their bills every month so the convenient alternative is automated billing.
Automated billing is great for the banks because they most likely save money from not sending out paper bills in the post and the bill gets paid automatically so no chasing down unpaid accounts.
I’m sure there are times where they have customers with no money in the bank to pay the bill and they have to catch up with them but what happens when the error is their fault?
Double-billed error caught
Double-billing is not intentional as it’s likely an error but where the problem extends itself is when no one catches that error. At least for one Brantford, Ontario senior resident Margaret Belean she is happy an error was finally caught on her Bell phone bill.
When I read her story yesterday I knew I needed to say my piece about this because I want my readers to be aware how easily money can slip through your fingers if you aren’t paying attention.
Margaret has been what seems a loyal Bell Canada customer for 12 long years and it was just found according to her son that she has been double-billed every month for the past 12 years. Bell Canada billed her for a second phone line that she never even had.
That means she’s been paying an extra $133 a month for nothing when she could have invested that in her retirement savings or many other ways. That’s lots of money every month.
I’ve talked about automated bill payments before and how I don’t really fancy them that much even though some of our bills are processed that way. Just recently I caught our home and car insurance automated bill payment to be far higher than it should have been. Had I have not noticed we would have paid more than we should have for the year.
Although it wouldn’t have been a long 12 years like Margaret it would have still be money coming out of our budget that didn’t need to be removed.
After talks back and forth between Bell Canada and her bank RBC the phone company is now ready to make good on the extra $18,000 they removed from her bank over the 12 year period. The reason they gave about why she was double-billed was error many years ago.
They say she was being billed for a phone number belonging to a business and not Margaret. Somehow they managed to link her account to this business. Don’t think that errors can’t happen because human errors and computers happen every day.
So, Margaret should be getting a nice Bell Canada cheque once they investigate the actual figures. She wants her cash back and I don’t blame her as I’d want my money back and fast if this happened. I’m not sure what she plans to do with the money but hopefully they give her interest on top of the money owed as well.
What I’m wondering now is how come the business whose number she was being billed for said nothing for 12 years? Maybe they were getting billed, who knows. If they weren’t getting billed don’t tell me that they didn’t know they were getting free Bell Canada phone services. They better hope they are out of business and long gone now or that they have lots of cash to pay for a bill that might be coming their way.
It’s often best to make a phone call if you don’t get a bill in the mail or payment coming from your bank account especially if you know you are supposed to pay for something. Mistakes happen and pretending like you don’t know isn’t an excuse.
It’s hard to hear that but your finances should be a priority and if you aren’t able to handle them find someone who can help you.
I often worry about my parents as they age how they will manage their finances but I know if they need me I will be there every step of the way.
I bet Margaret learned a valuable lesson from all of this and will regularly investigate how much money is being taken from her bank account so she is never double-billed again. It’s also a good thing that her son was there to support her along the way.
I remember reading somewhere that a guy didn’t pay for a bill because he wasn’t billed for it and thought he’d wait. He didn’t think he’d wait on the company he just didn’t want to say anything because he thought if they were going to be fools and not catch it he wasn’t going to pay the bill. The customer was on the ball it was the company that needed to pay closer attention to their billing.
Now he has to back pay for the services he used. There is merit in being honest that way you aren’t pushed into a corner when everything goes wrong and it will. Bell Canada learned the hard way as did Margaret and potentially now this business whose phone bill she’s been paying.
Have you ever been double-billed and do you check your bank account to make sure all debits and credits are correct each month?
If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Foodie Bloggers from around the world.
Once a week I pick one recipe that has been submitted as my Top Recipe of the week. Trust me when I say this is no easy task as some of these foodies can cook up a storm.
This week I picked a simple recipe that is great for any summer BBQ or staff party or just to eat at home with your family. Aunt Bee’s Recipes blog always has recipes that makes my mouth water and this “Sugar Cookie Crusted Pork Tenderloin Slider” is no exception.
Enjoy and thanks Aunt Bee!!
Weekly CBB posts
If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!
- Making extra cash with a part-time job: May 2014 Net Worth Update
- Updating the budget breakdown: Our Family Budget May 2014
- Would you go back if you forgot your groceries?
- Financial decision-making steps some take as a last resort
- Rhubarb blueberry protein pancakes
- Grandma baby shower another gift for your budget
Every week I share a few of the best personal finance blog posts that I read online over the past week with all of you so please enjoy my top 8 picks.
My Editor’s Pick goes to Frugal Trader at Million Dollar Journey where their journey to a million dollars net worth is now completed. I’ve followed his blog for a while now and certainly there are lots of informative info for Canadians. Congrats to FT!!
- Is inflation affecting my budget?- My Alternate Life
- A better way to budget- My Own Advisor
- How to budget as a freelancer- Diversified Finances
- When throwing frugality out the window feels good- Frugal Rules
- Your financial road map AKA.. Your Budget- Financially Blonde
- 5 strategies for relocating on a budget- Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
- Is contributing to a retirement account the best way to save- Everybody Loves Your Money
Well, that’s a wrap for this PF Friday’s Grab a brew #75. Happy budgeting and I’ll see you here again next week when I do it all over again.
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