How Being Nice Can Save You Bucks

If you aren't getting calls from your customers, there is one assured way to get one. Make a mistake on a bill or entirely confuse them with fees.

As the final bills are arriving in from Columbus I've realized I've made a phone call to clear up questions on almost every final bill I've received. I've been amazed at the errors and billing practices by each one and then the outstanding customer service I've received when I call. 

AEPOhio which provided my electrical service caused me to call because my final bill was an estimated reading instead of an actual reading. Now grant it, I'm not calling about huge monetary mistakes. My final bill was estimated at $23.26 for six days of electric usage. I know I stopped using as much electricity the final six days of service since I either had already or was getting rid of every electrical item I had besides my computer. 

So when I called I was told that the only time they will do an actual reading is if the customer specifically asks for it. But I recommend you don't. Evidently when you call up to question it you get asked, "How much do you think you should pay?" And when you tell them an amount they pretty much say ok. I'm awaiting my new bill with my new amount.

And then there is AT&T who supplied my internet service. They down right confounded me with their bill. There was a past due fee and a credit that made no sense.

I had called AT&T to cancel service in June and asked them to go ahead and charge my bank at that time for the amount that would be due because I was going to be changing banks. On my final bill I received a past due fee for $5.42 for a prior month despite the automatic payments. And there was an $8 credit that I have no idea where it came from.

So I didn't owe anything. They actually owed me, but when I called to figure out what the fee was from and where the credit is from the customer service rep was just as confused and decided to just credit me for the $5.42 for "being a nice person." I have no idea where the credit was from but I do wonder how a company can confuse their own customer service rep so much that they can't figure out the bill either.

So the moral of the story? Call and you may get rewarded by being a nice person on the phone. 

As a person who has sent bills out to customers, I don't understand the issues I've had with final bills. Computers don't make mistakes by adding fees or making bad calculations without a person programming them to do so. And if those mistakes are regularly done, then there should be someone rewriting the programming to correct the issue.

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