Have you ever heard the advice that you should review every bill you get?
I follow the rule religiously. I’m glad I do.
I estimate that reviewing all of my bills, rather than just automatically paying them without a review, has saved me at least $4,000 over the last year.
Reviewing Every Bill Allows You to Catch Errors
When I opened my most recent cable bill I was irritated by yet another comedy of errors by my cable company’s billing department.
We had just signed our death pledge and moved into our new house and this was the first bill at the new address. Naturally my cable company messed it up.
The first error was extra annoying. The cable company added a recurring modem rental fee to our account. I could understand them forgetting to remove the fee if I had rented a modem at my old house and recently purchased one.
The problem is I hadn’t rented a modem from my cable company for months. They were just trying to sneak an extra monthly fee on my account. They hoped I wouldn’t notice because it was only $5.00, but reviewing my bill caught them in their tracks!
After talking to the representative they promptly removed the fee and all was right in the world… at least as far as the modem rental fee goes. Yup… you guessed it! There were other problems.
Reviewing Bills Help You Stop Price Increases in Their Tracks
Companies that bill you on a recurring basis love to try to increase your rates. They hope that you have your bills on auto pay and you never look at the bill or your credit card statement. If you never look, you’ll never notice you’re paying the companies more money!
I could have been that person just last week, but I review my bill.
The company tried to increase my rates after we moved to our new house. By moving, they tried to tell me that I had to pay a partial month at full price rather than the promotional price I had verified I would be charged after the move.
Unfortunately the lower level employee didn’t understand this and I had to speak to a manager. You must be persistent about getting the bill increases removed in order to get them fixed.
Luckily, after talking to a supervisor, the problem was corrected, but not before they wasted 32 minutes of my Sunday morning.
You Won’t Catch Fraud If You Don’t Review Your Bills
This last reason is one of the most important reasons to review your bills. Luckily, there wasn’t any fraud on my cable bill but there are many other types of bills that could easily involve fraud. The number one culprit? Credit card bills.
Either way, if I didn’t review my bills it is very likely that these fraudulent charges could have gone unnoticed.
The credit card fraud was only for about $30 but the identity theft was over $3,000.
I’d hope you would notice an extra $3,000 coming out of your bank account if you credit card is on auto-pay, but at that point it’d be too late and the money would be gone from your account.
You can still dispute the charge and likely get the money refunded to your bank account but it might take longer than you’d like to get the cash back in your account.
It could also cause overdrafts, draws on your line of credit and many other fees that you don’t want to bother with.
It would be easy to ignore the bills that shouldn’t have activity on them. I have quite a few of these bills because I sign up for the best credit cards to get sign up bonuses and I rarely close them.
However, these could be prime targets for fraudsters as they know you won’t be watching them.
Just remember… all of this can be avoided if you review every bill you receive! It saved me over $4,000 this year… how much has reviewing your bills saved you in the last year?
What types of bills do you find the most errors, price increases and fraudulent transactions on? Is the cable company your worst enemy too?
This post was originally published on May 1, 2013.