How To Save Money: Billing Mistakes (Part 3)

How To Save Money: Billing Mistakes (Part 3)

Hey, I’m back fools! Well….you’re not really fools at all, it just sounds cool to say that. Anyways…

I’ve been going through a series about billing mistakes and because there are so many of them, I had to split it into 3 parts. Ridiculous. In Part 1, I talked about medical, cable and cell phone bills. In Part 2, I talked about credit card, grocery and restaurant bills. Today we’ll finish off the series and talk about hotel bills and house project/materials invoices. Gah! So many mistakes, so little time…..anyways, let’s get to it!

7.       Hotel Charges

This past weekend, the incredible Mrs. iHB planned out am AMAZING surprise anniversary date with me downtown. We had an amazing dinner at a nice little restaurant that was connected to a hotel (I didn’t know this). The only reason I found out is the waitress asked us “would you like me to charge this to your room?” My wife was bummed that she ruined the surprise, but I was pretty excited we got to live it up downtown for the night and the next day! PARTAY!

And speaking of charging it to our room, we realized that you have to be VERY CAREFUL when doing or ordering anything in a hotel. The rule of thumb is; if you touch it, you buy it! The mini bar, fridge and cabinets were stuffed with goodies and snacks to our hearts content. But, knowing that we would pay for every little thing we touched, we opted to just stick with dinner and the breakfast we got the next morning. Upon checkout, I overheard the front desk gal mention to another customer that everything in the fridge and cabinets were weight sensitive, so if they even moved anything and did not put it back, they could be charged for it! WHAT?! That’s crazy talk! Good thing we didn’t touch anything.

We also had to fight to get our breakfast covered. We were given a breakfast voucher, but it was taken by the waiter who delivered it. Upon checkout, they just charged us for the breakfast ($33!) and didn’t say a thing. My wife reviewed the ticket and luckily caught the charge and told the lady that our waiter took the voucher. She had to confirm this, but eventually waived the charge. If we didn’t way anything, we’d have been shorted $33. Good thing Mrs. iHB rocks at catching billing mistakes too!

Savings: $33

8.       House Project/Material Invoices

As you may have been reading in our weekly wrap-ups, we have been in the middle of some major house projects. It started with building a fence, and now we’re finishing up our patio and pergola. It’s been an all-summer project, but we’re excited to reap the benefits for years to come. We re-used old bricks from a winery downtown, so our patio has a little history that comes with it. All the bricks are weathered and awesome-looking! Our pergola is going to sit over the top of the patio with awesome vines growing over the top, and dangling lights for our late parties.

We got a great deal on the bricks, and ordered most of the wood for the pergola and fence through a lumber company my Dad used to work for. He scored us a sweet price on everything, and even got us free delivery. We over-ordered most of the materials, so the company was able to return a lot of the lumber we didn’t use. The first time they picked up some of the wood, we saw credit on our card within a few days. The last pickup was much bigger, so I was looking at getting about $600 back on the account. Two weeks passed and we hadn’t seen anything. I called my Dad to ask if it usually took a while for larger returns and he just told me “let me talk to them.” He went in the next day and they processed the return within a few days afterwards. Sheesh! I guess they were just hoping I didn’t notice and left $600 on the table.

Savings: $600

We Saved a LOT of Money

Some of these categories are recurring savings, some are one-time savings. Over the course of a year, we have SAVED THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS just by checking our receipts and making sure we’re not overpaying for anything. Our total savings over one year comes to……*drumroll please….*

Total Savings: $3,254

That’s a ridonkulous amount of money that would have just disappeared if we weren’t double-checking someone else’s work. It is annoying that I can’t just trust everyone who bills me to get it right. I have learned that nobody cares about your money as much as you do. If you want to keep your money, you’re going to have to fight for it.

Comments: Do you double check your hotel charges or materials invoices? Have you caught any errors that a company was just going to ignore and make you pay? What would you do with an extra $3,000? Also, what do people watch on TV now that the Olympics are over? Bachelor Pad?

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  1. We got charged from a hotel in Vegas for the weighted fridge thing. We took nothing out just moved some stuff around to put water in there. Our check in clerk was terrible and didn’t tell us about this. I’d never heard of a weighted fridge. They ended up waiving the charge because the clerk didn’t give us a heads up, but it was like getting teeth pulled. You are very right that no one cares about your money as much as you do.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Does Credit Card Debt Have You Stuck?My Profile

  2. Oh companies do care about your money, but they don’t care about you keeping it. They care about taking as much as possible. So people really do have to be vigilant about making sure they get charged correct pricing.

    As for tv, I haven’t turned my tv on since the Olympics ended. It’ll get a bit of a break until one of my sports teams has their next game. In the meantime, it’s back to super productive mode.
    Modest Money recently posted..Thoughts About InvestingMy Profile

  3. I’m always finding that I’ve been charged for random things at hotels. It’s incredibly annoying! Always double check.
    Michelle recently posted..Money or Passion?My Profile

  4. I haven’t really been watching anything on TV. Unfortunately I have to work every night this week, so as soon as I get home we whip up one of our recipes, enjoy dinner and chat it up. I may open up a book before bed and stretch but for the most part the TV stays off.

    If we had $3,000 we’d probably go on a vacation and put the rest of it on debt. I really need an extended weekend away!
    Jason @ WorkSaveLive recently posted..Wising Up – Students and Credit Card DebtMy Profile

  5. i have seen hotel billing mistakes in action as well… out of nowhere, some PPV charges showed up on my bill.. i hadn’t even watched tv the before!.. they dug into the issue and realized that it was a mistake and cleared the charge, thankfully ..
    jefferson @seedebtrun recently posted..The Job Interview Question That Is ALWAYS Asked: “Are there any questions that you have for us?”My Profile

    • You really do have to give the hotel bill a twice-over! I wonder how much money is lost everyday at hotels from people not checking their bills properly…probably in the thousands at each hotel!

  6. My favorite hotel charges are “resort fees” which cover the use of the pool and the gym. Sometimes you can get these waived sometimes you cannot. Also I have seen hotels charge for the “free” newspaper.

    Extra $3K right now? Pre-pay some of the insanity that is daycare. As for TV? Virgin Diaries for the win on TLC!

    • Wow, charged for the free paper, that’s really classy. My wife and I got nicke; and dimed until our bill almost doubled on our wedding night hotel. Nice place, so not worth it at all! The place we went this weeked was about $150 less and MUCH more enjoyable.

      Daycare costs are astronomical. And what’s virgin diaries?
      iheartbudgets recently posted..How To Save Money: Billing Mistakes (Part 3)My Profile

      • Virgin Diaries follows virgins and their quest to find love and in most cases lose their virginity. The show is so unintentionally funny it is great. But in the end it does show there is someone for pretty much everyone. Youtube the trailer for the first episode, it is amazing… they share their first kiss which I would describe as a momma bird feeding a baby bird. It’s kind of like a train wreck and you just can’t turn away.

  7. I always double check the bills.

    I’m not watching much TV now, but that will change once football season starts.
    Andy Hough recently posted..Moving ForwardMy Profile

  8. I always always always double check my bills! Mistakes are all over the place. Most establishments will gladly fix them once it is pointed out, thankfully!

    • The part that irks me is that though they will gladly correct the mistakes, they will NEVER bring them up to you. You have to catch them, call them and get the right person to make the change. The time lost and the hassle is the worst part about it, not to mention the potential money lost if you didn’t catch it.

      Sounds like you have a good habit formed in double checking everything first!

  9. I’ll be going to a hotel soon so I’ll make sure to double check my invoice. I already paid for it in advance though so they shouldn’t have to charge me anything.
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..Credit Score Deconstructed: The Components of Your Credit ScoreMy Profile

    • Paying in advance reserves the room and any package you choose, but if you touch ANYTHING in the rooms that looks like it could cost money, it’ll show up on your bill. Definitely give it a thorough scan before checking out.

  10. Very wise words indeed: “nobody cares about your money as much as you do”.

    Always keep that in mind when dealing with others and money.

  11. I also have been stung with the weighted fridge, also because I moved a few things to fit in water. I outright refused to pay the charges and eventually won. What an absolute nightmare – hotels have no right to charge you for moving something!!!
    Savvy Scot recently posted..How Technology is Changing the OlympicsMy Profile

    • It retty nuts. Honestly, I wonder what kind of scam people had to pull to cause hotels to implement such a system. Were they replacing water bottles they drank from with bath water?

  12. Thanks for the heads up on the weighted mini fridge! I’m sure that will come in handy if we go to Vegas for our honeymoon.

    If I had an extra $3000? Part towards debt, part towards savings (wedding/efund mainly though car fund and house fund would get some love too) and a very small part as “splurge” money. Is it sad that the splurge money would go for things like extra groceries or clothing that we kind of need? And I don’t have “TV” per se as I get two channels and tend to not watch it. (Well, I watch Netflix or Hulu instead)
    bogofdebt recently posted..Spending Recap 8/6-8/12My Profile

  13. I have been planning on going to Vegas next year and have never heard of anything so ridiculous as a weighted refrigerator! Really? I won’t be going anywhere near that let me tell you. I have had so many overcharges just going to the grocery store, it’s ridiculous. You always need to look at your receipts, you never know how much more you may be getting charged.

  14. Wow, interesting on the hotel charges, especially the weights. Will be mindful of that.
    Robert @ The College Investor recently posted..Back to College $200 Amazon Giftcard GiveawayMy Profile

  15. Seriously that is a ridiculous…errr ridonkulous amount of money!! You’re wife is awesome to catch that. If I catch something like that, I usually get fired up or annoyed which puts a damper on something nice, so it’s pretty awesome that y’all got it figured out without too much annoyance or stress. Props!
    Cat Alford recently posted..Pay Off Cards Or Save For An Emergency?My Profile

    • I’ve learn to just fight for it until we get what we want. Getting upset doesn’t help our situation, so we just let it roll and hope for the best. It used to ruin our dates if we had to deal with mistakes, but now it’s just the norm.

  16. My best hotel charge came in the form of a pet fee. When the clerk tried to argue with me that I specifically said I had a pet, I handed her my room key and my car keys and told her to go now and search for this mysterious pet while I waited in the lobby. I read my hotel bills diligently now 🙂
    jolie recently posted..Back at itMy Profile

  17. Love this series. You should add one for utility bills… In the news this week there was a story of a woman who ended up being reimbursed thousands of dollars from her electric company because she had been footing the bill for the street lights on her street for more than a decade. She had to fight the electric company with a consumer protection agency because she hadn’t ever looked at what was on her electric bill and they were listed there the whole time.
    Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..When It Makes Cents To Pay MoreMy Profile


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