The mail has arrived. When I was a child, getting mail was usually a joyous occasion. But now that I’m an adult getting the mail usually means bills or ads.
While bills are just a part of life, they can cause headaches when they are wrong. So, what do you do when you’ve been over-charge, or mis-charged on a bill? How you find out what is wrong and get it fixed? Below are some steps you need to take to dispute a bill and get a favorable outcome.
Ask for a Detailed Bill
If you think your bill is too much or you were charged wrongly, call and ask for a detailed bill. This can show you what you are billed for and how much each service costs. From here you can see more clearly if there was an error or if services were simply more expensive than you thought. Doing your research before blowing it out of proportion makes it an easier process for everyone.
Have Your Facts and Information Ready
It does no good to dispute a bill if you don’t have all your facts straight. For example, you may need to get previous bills out to prove that you’ve paid on time and have a good history with a company. Or have an estimate handy before disputing a charge that was higher than what you were quoted.
Be Polite and Logical
The better behaved you are, the better your chances of making it through the correct channels to get your bill fixed. Being mean and callous gets you nowhere, especially when you aren’t talking to the person who can make it happen. Try to be logical and don’t let too much emotion get in the way. Something said in anger can easily make it hard to go back and get your bill fixed.
Ask to Speak to a Manager
The customer service reps usually can’t make decisions when you dispute a bill. So, it may be necessary to ask to speak to a manager to get some actions completed.
Be sure to write down the time, date and the name of the person who you speak with. This is especially important if you are trying to dispute a medical bill or credit card bill. With these large companies, you may not get the same person twice on the phone.
If you notice you aren’t getting anywhere with current representative, ask to speak to someone else or if there is someone else you should call. Remember they are human too. Shouting at the low man on the totem pole will get you nowhere.
Call, call and then call some more. Send a request in writing, email or fax it in. The more persistent you are in calling, the more they will pay attention if you aren’t getting the attention you need. In your persistence, be sure to see the above for being polite, logical, etc.
Having to dispute a bill can be frustrating. Be sure that you keep detailed notes of everything that you talked about and were told from the customer service representatives. If you have been told everything about your bill and the company wasn’t in the wrong, pay them their dues. Getting hot-headed and saying “I’m not giving you another dime” will get you nowhere and will make it difficult in case you ever need to dispute a bill again in the future. If you aren’t happy with your service, haggle, shop around, or look at going elsewhere for your services.
Have you ever had to dispute a bill? How have you handled billing disputes? What have you found that works?
Photo courtesy of: Alexas_Fotos