Communication Prevents Heart Attacks

Posted on 11. May, 2006 by in Saving & Investing

As I often do I received an email from Verizon Wireless today indicating that it was that time again… time to pay my monthly cell phone bill. My cell phone bill is probably my least favorite bills because it’s one of the highest that I have right now – around $80 for a family plan with two phones. Every time I get that dreaded email I cringe because I know my bank account will soon be hit… and hit hard. So you can probably now imagine my suprise fear anger when I opened the email to see that my bill was around $175! It’s been a busy month for me but I knew I wasn’t talking that long. I immediately thought of the long conversations my wife must have been having all month… laughing as the cell phone bill crept higher and higher.
cellphonebill.jpgUpon closer examination it turned out that last month’s “automatic payment” had not gone through for some reason and I had been billed for last month’s charges, this month’s charges, and a late fee to top it all off. I immediately called Verizon to complain. They were very nice and understanding and even reversed the late fee “this one time.” They couldn’t really explain the lapse in payment, but chalked it up to a “wrong button being pressed my me.” Right. But I was still angry. Why you ask? Afterall, I did get my late fee charges reversed, right?

It comes down to principal. Oh, and budgets. I expect my account to be hit with a $80 charge each month – not $175. When I saw that bill the first time I almost had a heart attack – and I immediately began to make sure that the unexpected charge wasn’t going to do any major damage to my ability to pay any other bills. But what bothered me the most was that with the huge masses of technology that a company like Verizon posesses I had hoped that they might have recognized that for 3 years now I have made an on-time payment every single month through their automatic withdrawal program. I had hoped that maybe, somewhere, a red flag would have been raised when a temporary stop was put on the payment. “After all,” they should have said, “he’s never had a late payment before and is so comfortable paying this bill that he gave us authorization to do it automatically for him every month. Something must be wrong.” I had hoped that then the kind people at Verizon’s headquarters would have given me a call and said, “Mr. Guthrie, it looks like the automatic payment scheduled for next week has been put on hold. Is there a problem?” Then I could have explained that I had not, in fact, stopped the payment and we could have all gone on our merry way.

That’s how communication can prevent heart attacks.

One Response to “Communication Prevents Heart Attacks”

  1. Natalie Ferguson

    11. May, 2006

    you are actually very lucky. Here in NZ $80 would be a very cheap month for our two cellphones 🙂

    It’s true about dealing with some of those big companies. yes they sort it out (eventually…) and yes, in the end there is no problem. But you were put at a fairly substantial inconveniance by having to call them and negotiate. I love hearing those stories about people who charge telephone companies for every minute they have to sit on the phone sorting out issues. Hearing those horrible ‘phone songs’ wouldn be nearly so bad if you were earning $100 an hour doing it 🙂

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