Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When Automatic Billing Isn't So Green.

Over the winter, I reviewed our budget and to try to reduce any unnecessary spending. One glaring unnecessary expense in my mind was our cable bill. When I approached my husband about reducing or even canceling cable, he replied, "what would you do without Bravo TV?". He always knows how to throw it back at me as he knows Bravo TV is my vice.

He suggested that I call the cable company to review our bill and inquire about smaller cable packages.

I made the phone call and after a 30 minute conversation with a customer service rep, my brain was mush from all of the talk about bundling, broadband and Internet speeds. We bundle our cell phone, Internet and cable and because of that we receive a discount. If we reduce or cancel cable, we will pay more for Internet and our speed will slow down. GRRRRRR.

Sensing my frustration, the customer service rep dangled free 3 months of HBO in front of me to appease me. I bit and hung up the phone.

I was glazed over and hubby was going to have to figure this out. After all, electronics are his domain. If it were up to me, cable would be gone, but it's not so easy for us to cancel cable as it will affect our Internet speed which we have grown accustomed to. The bundling makes each service attractable.

Fast forward to July 2010 and my husband asks to see a copy of our cable bill to review. He was finally going to help me figure out how we can reduce our cable bill. Because I signed up for paperless billing, I needed to go online to print a copy of the recent bill. Our monthly bill is automatically paid via a credit card.

I printed the bill and without even glancing at it I handed it to my husband.

"Why are we paying for HBO?", he asked.

"What did you say?", I replied.

"$22.99 for HBO", he said.

Until that very minute, I completely forgot about the free HBO that we were given several months ago. We might have watched a few movies initially, but we forgot all about it.

He called the company to talk about our bill and found out that the free HBO ended two and half months ago and we were now being charged $22.99 a month. He told the customer service rep about the free offer and that we weren't interested in paying for the HBO. The rep refunded our account $71.82.

The new paperless billing that I signed up for is great, because I don't have to worry about missing a payment. But I don't see a bill unless I take the time to look at it online to check for inconsistencies. And obviously I have not done so. Lesson learned.

"You owe me", my husband said with a wink.

My husband just saved us $71.82 because I was asleep at the wheel. I might be the Family Office Manager, but it goes to show that 2 minds are still better than one.

How many of your bills are paperless? Do you still review them regularly?

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  1. Almost the same thing has happened to us with our cable. We cancled ours about 6 months ago and thought we were just getting a few local channels for free. Well, we had been paying $16 a month for them! We canceled that, moved some cables around on the TV, still get the SAME channels but we are not paying that extra money. We have also added a home phone with unlimied long distance, canceled our cell phones and gone to prepaid trac phones. It's going to save us around $40-$50 a month!

    I agree you should look at your statement every month to make sure you don't have those hidden fees.

  2. I have been there too! I hate to even accept those "free for so many month" things because I KNOW I will forget and end up with a HUGE bill. I ALWAYS forget!

    I do pay almost everything online, but I don't do anything automatically, because then I would forget to write it down and we would end up being short. I also feel the need to have a paper bill in my hand. I cannot seem to get over that.

  3. Yes most of my bills are paperless. We are in the process of getting rid of cable. We will still watch our favorite shows and movies. Read my article on moving away from cable and still being able to watch your favorite shows and movies

  4. We are in the process of going paperless...

    But I am obsessive about checking everything on-line, so it really isn't a big deal. The couple of times that I found something amiss...I printed those particular bills out before calling so I could write my notes on the bill.

    Glad you got a refund.

  5. Not sure that any of our bills are actually paperless. I have 2 that are automatically drafted, but they send something if the amount varies.

    I'm glad that they worked with you and you got a refund!

  6. I do a lot of paperless billing, but I still pay all the bills myself. I am always afraid something like that would happen to us. I just don't trust automatic payments. I am so glad you were able to get it refunded!!


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