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Refusing to pay service bill

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  • MPMD MPMD 
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    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2043
    Joined: 05/01/2017

    I second calling back and asking to speak to a manager at that time.  If they don’t accommodate your request immediately or forward you and you get hung up on I would not only file reviews as suggested, but I would call back and hit the prompts to deactivate whatever service this is.  When you get the customer retention person on the phone make it abundantly clear that you want to cancel because they are committing fraud and if the person you speak to can’t address it immediately you want to cancel your service and will go with their competitor.  As with any negotiation, have the other deal lined up first.  The free market can address these problems right quick.

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    Just so I’m clear this is an HVAC issue not a monthly service. Given that I live in Chicago and everyone uses both furnaces and A/C units every year I doubt that threatening them with not being their customer anymore is going to land very hard.

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    Well $%@!  In that case I’d go to the local office, demand to speak to the manager and bring a few buddies to come – one who can masquerade as a news reporter and the other to pretend to film with a camera – one of those ones with the big, glaring light on it.  At least it’d be a good story.

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    you know what @ENT_doc, despite not seeing eye to eye on politics i think you and i have some…. other similarities in personality

    #184225 Reply
    Avatar jacoavlu 
    Moderator
    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 1701
    Joined: 03/01/2018

    service call fee may make sense if you just called and said “send someone over,” but if you accurately described the problem on the phone and they (must have) decided they could help you, and then it turns out they couldn’t help you, well then that’s on them, not you.

    The Finance Buff's solo 401k contribution spreadsheet: https://goo.gl/6cZKVA

    Avatar Anne 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 842
    Joined: 11/07/2017

    My husband had an issue with a service company recently. He was planning on paying the bill (they had completed the service, just not in an efficient manner) but also left a bad review on Google reviews. Within an hour of submitting the review he was contacted by the company and told that the bill would be waived if he took down the review. Worth a try. I think this would be most effective if a company doesn’t have many reviews to start with.

    #184239 Reply
    Avatar FIREshrink 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 845
    Joined: 01/11/2017

    Well, a trip charge is pretty standard. Since you don’t have the bill you don’t know what they charged you for.

    And there is the issue that if you don’t pay, in some jurisdictions they can file a lien against your property.

    #184240 Reply
    portlandia portlandia 
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    Status: Physician
    Posts: 358
    Joined: 07/07/2017

    The key issue is what the discussion was on the phone and if it was clear what the problem was before they sent someone out.

    If after getting a clear description of the problem over the phone, the company sent someone out for an issue that they obviously aren’t qualified to address, that’s their problem. If however, you thought it was an HVAC problem and didn’t/couldn’t explain the issue on the phone and they sent someone out in good faith to address the problem and it ended up being a non HVAC problem that is out of their scope of expertise, I could see where they would want you to pay for the service call, though as a gesture of good will a lot of businesses would just eat the expense.

    #184243 Reply
    Avatar Panscan 
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    Status: Resident
    Posts: 663
    Joined: 03/18/2017

    Pay and move on. Are you going to bring the whole company down? You’re going to put multiple hours into it for 90 bucks.

    I understand wanting to not enable bs behavior isn’t ideal but at some point its not worth your time.

    #184245 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3111
    Joined: 01/21/2016

    A lot depends on whether you want to use the company in the future. I have had the same HVAC company for 18+ years, know the owner (who’s a patient at our Hospital and I’ve read his CT scans, etc.). Having a good relationship with such a company is crucial, especially if you live in a place that gets very cold (like Chicago) and or very hot (like Chicago).

    Either way, I would put the complaint in writing, documenting the events as you have outlined them, asking them to produce an invoice with your signature, etc. There is a good chance they will drop it. Everyone calls on the phone to bitch about bills. Very few people put in writing, and it’s more effective.

    If they do not drop the bill, and you are done with the company, pay the bill and allow us to assist you in crafting a scathing review for google and yelp.

    If you do want to remain with the company, pay the $89 and start asking your neighbors for a recommendation for another company. If these guys beat you out of $89 for doing nothing, imagine how much they pummel you when they actually do something!

    PS Did you ever in your medical career have an ER patient who paid a $100, $150, or $250+ co-pay for a problem that really needed no attention and for which you pretty much did nothing? Well, now you know how they feel. 😉

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1807
    Joined: 01/03/2017

    PS Did you ever in your medical career have an ER patient who paid a $100, $150, or $250+ co-pay for a problem that really needed no attention and for which you pretty much did nothing? Well, now you know how they feel.

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    Reassurance (plus the ability to get it now) isn’t cheap. Too bad @mpmd didn’t get anything of value.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #184253 Reply
    Avatar GasFIRE 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 161
    Joined: 01/08/2018

    Have you used this company before? If so, what is their standard procedure? I assume that they’re like most service companies (AC, plumbers, electricians etc) come to your house, do their diagnostics/service, present you with a bill that you have to sign and typically collect payment unless you have a prior agreement. I would ask them to provide you a copy of the bill that you signed before you’re willing to pay.

    #184259 Reply
    White.Beard.Doc White.Beard.Doc 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 713
    Joined: 02/06/2016
    Earnest refinancing bonus

    I understand your frustration and upset.  I would write a letter and explain why they should not be charging you.  See what happens.  If they end up insisting on charging you, I would just pay it.  They don’t deserve to be paid, but if they send you to collections and it gets on your credit report, it could really screw things up when you apply for a mortgage.  In my mind it is not worth the hassle for $89.  I say this from experience as a service company did send me to collections for a similar situation and it showed up on my credit report.  I jumped through a ton of hoops to get the lowest mortgage rate, but it took a lot of work.  In retrospect I wish I had just paid it even though the service company did not deserve to be paid.

    #184272 Reply
    Liked by hatton1, Craigy, MPMD
    MPMD MPMD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2043
    Joined: 05/01/2017

    My husband had an issue with a service company recently. He was planning on paying the bill (they had completed the service, just not in an efficient manner) but also left a bad review on Google reviews. Within an hour of submitting the review he was contacted by the company and told that the bill would be waived if he took down the review. Worth a try. I think this would be most effective if a company doesn’t have many reviews to start with.

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    people do seem to live and die by those nowadays. whenever i compliment a job well done service people usually ask me to do a google review.

    The key issue is what the discussion was on the phone and if it was clear what the problem was before they sent someone out.

    If after getting a clear description of the problem over the phone, the company sent someone out for an issue that they obviously aren’t qualified to address, that’s their problem. If however, you thought it was an HVAC problem and didn’t/couldn’t explain the issue on the phone and they sent someone out in good faith to address the problem and it ended up being a non HVAC problem that is out of their scope of expertise, I could see where they would want you to pay for the service call, though as a gesture of good will a lot of businesses would just eat the expense.

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    the first lady was supposed to go back and review the call and determine that. i thought i had been clear she said i wasn’t (without reviewing the call). she’s the one who never called back and then when i called the second time she told the guy on the phone that she hadn’t actually been planning to return my call.

    A lot depends on whether you want to use the company in the future. I have had the same HVAC company for 18+ years, know the owner (who’s a patient at our Hospital and I’ve read his CT scans, etc.). Having a good relationship with such a company is crucial, especially if you live in a place that gets very cold (like Chicago) and or very hot (like Chicago).

     

    PS Did you ever in your medical career have an ER patient who paid a $100, $150, or $250+ co-pay for a problem that really needed no attention and for which you pretty much did nothing? Well, now you know how they feel.

    Click to expand…

    I mean we’ve used them for awhile but they just come out and service the furnace. I wouldn’t say I’ve been impressed or disappointed it’s just a quick visit twice a year. One of their techs is actually kind a jerk when he comes over. Honestly there are so many companies within 10 miles of me for basically anything that I’m only brand loyal to people who provide the highest quality work. Thus far this is only an electrician. If you live in Chicago and need an electrician, boy howdy DM me. I would probably let this guy take my appendix out.

    Your ER analogy falls a little flat bc obviously we are doing an MSE. If I just walked in, heard a CC, and said “we don’t deal with that here” that would be different. Obviously I’ve been tempted before 🙂  Maybe that’s what I’ll do when I hit FI (see that other thread).

    I say this from experience as a service company did send me to collections for a similar situation and it showed up on my credit report.  I jumped through a ton of hoops to get the lowest mortgage rate, but it took a lot of work.  In retrospect I wish I had just paid it even though the service company did not deserve to be paid.

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    That’s what I needed, thank you.

     

     

    I think what I’ll do is write a letter and put a check in the envelope. If they cash it I’ll find a new company.

    #184282 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 3111
    Joined: 01/21/2016

    @mpmd

    I was somewhat tongue-in-cheek re the ER analogy BUT on the imaging side, very often we see exams that are a complete waste of time and money. Exams to answer questions that have already been sufficiently answered, the wrong exam for the indication, continually following up stuff that has a near-zero chance of ever changing, etc. When I was doing IR, I would not infrequently turn people away with, “nah, you don’t need that” and not charge them. It’s bad enough to take time off from work or getting a ride and waiting for the procedure. To charge an E&M or quickie ultrasound would add insult to injury, IMO.

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    #184374 Reply
    Liked by angeladiaz99
    Avatar Snag75 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 179
    Joined: 12/09/2018

    All of this, absolutely.  It’s easier than it sounds, just cut and paste most of your story once you find the right websites to post to.  Express outrage at trying to take advantage of customers like this including unethical practices and fraud.  Also add that you had discussed the problem by phone with no issue, and later another company did it with no problem.  While you wait for the higher up to get back to you, draft your letter of complaint and have it ready to go.  I’ve done this numerous times, and I regret once feeling bullied into paying a bill that went to collections before taking this route first, and another I just let go because it was too tiring to deal with.  Best to nip it in the bud early while it’s still fresh and you still have your gumption about you.

    Good luck, and let me know if you need help figuring out state agencies or BBB offices — I’ve become a pro at this!

    #184392 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 1789
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    BBB will be a deadens. You did not suffer any loss.
    Same result in court. Where is your loss?

    1) Pay, or document?
    2) date, time, who, details and result
    Rinse and repeat.
    3) Written protest to the company. certified.
    (You want to prove your attempt to resolve).
    For example, HVAC diagnostics would have results recorded. You didn’t receive bill with any reports. Ask for the techs paperwork or work order. It could be a screwup, once that is pulled, they may say, “sorry”. Get them to send credit or confirmation.

    Keep your “case file” if you did not pay. You may need it.
    It won’t be honored by any collection company, but you will need to “prove” your case to a credit bureau (3 actually) once you have been flagged.

    Because of zero loss, most avenues are closed. Pay the $89, now you are talking! You got ripped. Credit card and even the state attorney general will take it up. Small claims if you want. A default judgement will be likely.
    BUT , now the court found them guilty! Proof!

    That proof will stand over any “dispute”.
    Is it worth $89? You will most likely need it. Good luck recovering expenses.

    Yelp and review sites sometimes hit a nerve. Just be careful not to embellish and have your “case file” handy.
    You can spend time looking up the owner.

    For $89 ?

    #184403 Reply
    Avatar Kamban 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 2124
    Joined: 08/01/2016
    I think what I’ll do is write a letter and put a check in the envelope. If they cash it I’ll find a new company.

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    They will cash it pronto. They don’t care about your repeat business.

    #184471 Reply

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