Seeing as how there are so many companies who don’t seem to bat an eyelash at billing you for things that you never ordered or “accidently” double charging you for services, I’ve decided to come up with a list of ways to combat billing mistakes. You can check out Part 1 before reading on and see if you can save some money today
4. Credit Card Bill
If you have ever owned a credit card, you should probably know this: Credit card companies make money by charging you fees and interest. Now, we have a credit card (though, maybe we shouldn’t) and we have never paid a cent of interest to the credit card company because we pay it in full several times a month. But I still check it at the end of every month to make sure there wasn’t a mistake. With our newest card, we have not had any issues, but past credit cards have held my payment for a few days, causing it to post after the due date. They then charged me full interest (like 20%) or something ridiculous. I had to call them up and ask them to remove the charge. They told me they would remove it this one time, but to make sure and pay at least a week in advance next time so the payment would post on time. Can’t they just move the due date up then so I don’t get hit with interest even though I submit my payment on time? Hmmm…
One other thing that has happened is our card has been stolen (twice this year, actually). We found out by them sending us new cards in the mail with a letter explaining that a bunch of numbers had been hacked form a database, blah blah blah. We noticed some odd charges the first time, and they actually reached out to us first and asked about them. We assured them we didn’t rent a cottage in the Netherlands yesterday, so they cleared all the false charges.
BUT, the second time the thief bought some stuff online and we had to manually dispute the charges with the company. They approved our first dispute, but rejected the second one because the store convinced them that we had, in fact, made the purchase. They sent a big explanation letter talking showing the transaction, which had our address and name info, along with all the required credit card info. Heck, these thieves even used a coupon! WHAT?! They bought 3 iTunes gift cards and received a $9 discount. Gosh, that was nice of them! Well, the one error was that they used some spammy email address, which I pointed out was not ours. After some hesitation, the credit card company finally agreed to refund the charges. It was only $36, but what a friggin headache!
Savings: $15 in interest, $1,000 from first theft, $99 + $36 from second theft = $1,150
5. Grocery Store Bill
We frequent a few chain grocery stores in town and my wife shops the heck out of ‘em! We rock eMeals (<- affiliate link) for our meal plans, so we know we’re always shopping the deals. We also occasionally bring in some coupons as well. One thing we’ve noticed is that you can’t always trust the computer to scan our items properly, or give us the proper discount. Items may be tagged wrong, prices could be advertised differently, coupons might not scan, items could be double scanned, etc. So we are now in the habit of watching the items ring up on the screen. We’re probably worse than the checker’s micro-managing boss the way we hover, but we’ve definitely saved some cash by watching like you’re creepy next-door neighbor does through the blinds…
Savings: Probably $20 a year
6. Restaurant Charges
Mrs. iHB and I are fans of the finer things in life. Which really sucks because we don’t make enough money to pay our bills. But we do often find ourselves sipping on some vintage 2006 Oregon Pinot Noir while satisfying our taste buds with the choicest of meats, and of course, GARLIC MASHED POTATOES!
We have noticed that restaurants can be VERY BUSY places, which means a higher probability for mistakes on your bill. Many a time, we’ve been charged the wrong price for an item during happy hour, had things added to our bill that we never ordered, and had drinks counted twice and been double charged for them. And though we’re big ballin’, we do always make sure to check the receipt before handing over our card. We probably save a good $50 – $100 a year catching these mistakes.
Savings: About $75 a year
Total Savings: $1,245
Stay tuned for Part 3, because yes, there are EVEN MORE places people can rob you of your hard-earned cash!
Comments: Have you seen unwanted charges on your credit card, grocery or restaurant bills? What did you do about it? Are you in the habit of checking receipts before paying, or do you drop a stack of 100′s like a rapper and buy out the bar? Also, who wants me to tweet AT&T and Comcast and ask them why all billing errors are in their favor?