Check your bills

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08 May 2007 00:00 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4256 posts Send private message

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A neighbour of mine uses one of the many telephone services available for low cost calls. This particular service offers international calls at certain times for a fixed monthly cost. I don't know the exact terms of her particular option, but basically she can make unlimited calls between 8pm and 8am for the one fixed fee. You can find all the various options on their website:

Her latest bill arrived, and instead of just her usual fixed monthly charge, there was a list of all the calls she had made outside the pre-determined hours of her service - all in the hour or so before 8pm. Now, knowing that she never makes international calls outside those hours, she called the company to protest. After much aggravation trying to get to speak to a real person rather than a robotic answering service, they admitted that the error was their's, and was due to the fact that they had "forgotten" to adjust their clocks when daylight savings came in a couple of weeks back. The calls have been refunded, naturally.

I for one don't believe that this was an accident. Was she the first and only customer of theirs to notice this error? Have they now notified all their other customers of their error and issued refunds? Do they not operate a computerised system that automatically adjusts the time? I know my bog standard, off the shelf piece of PC junk can and does do so, so why not theirs? I personally believe this was just a cynical ploy to fraudulently charge customers for services they had already paid for, in the knowledge that the majority will not bother to check their bills and will not notice.

The moral of this little tale is clear. Check all your utility bills carefully. Check your bank statements. Check your receipts from supermarkets and other large stores etc. Recently I have personally found stores such as Carrefour, Leroy Merlin etc., putting one price on a product on the shelf, but charging you a different price (higher, naturally) when the product is scanned at checkout. Occasionally this could be a genuine mistake, but it seems to happen all too often, and most people will not even notice.

Watch out! You have been warned.



"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain




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08 May 2007 19:30 by bobaol Star rating. 2262 posts Send private message

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Not, unfortunately, "errors" confined to Spain.  My BT bill started charging me for calls on the internet even though I'm on anytime broadband.  I don't normally check but my latest bill seemed a lot higher than normal.  After the usual ranting at the missus and kids about being on the phone so long, I realised it was my internet dial up that had extra charges.  All refunded after a call to BT and "apologies" about wrong billing information entered in the computer.

And a letter in the press the other day from a woman who says she always gets overcharged at Tescos.  Apparently she checked it one day and they hadn't given her a BOGOF reduction.  She says that every time she goes in, she now checks the bill before leaving the store and finds at least one error on every shop (sounds a bit excessive to me but that's what she claimed.)  She reckoned it's worth it because Tesco gives you double your money back if they make an error.

I was once overcharged on lamb chops in Tesco which were on offer at the counter but not on the till.  I took them to customer services and they gave me my money back AND the chops for free.   Worth checking, I suppose, if you've got the inclination and time (now I'm feeling a very sad person for even contemplating this.....Not British to complain, don't yer know!!)

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08 May 2007 19:53 by Roberto Star rating in Torremolinos. 4256 posts Send private message

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There is one member of staff at our local post office who ALWAYS without fail manages to short change you by 1 or 2 cents. Irritating, but who would feel comfortable complaining about such a paltry amount? It's quite normal practice in supermarkets here anyway for the odd couple of cents to be ignored - but sometimes in your favour, sometimes the other way. It balances out. But this guy makes sure it's always in his favour, and I'll bet by the end of each day he's pocketed a tidy little sum. After weeks, months, years of doing this, it's easy to see how he arrives at work each day in a shiny new Bentley! (slight poetic licence there, for the sake of a better story!)



"First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure"

Mark Twain




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09 May 2007 10:34 by rosi n Star rating in Cornwall / axarquia. 119 posts Send private message

Roberto.        We have also noticed this price difference from that displayed and the till price sometimes as much as 10 cents   although thats not very much it does if this is going on for a long time as it mostly does .   we have noticed   Leroy Merlin are very good at this , we did ask about this price difference at the till once all we got in reply was a blank look and arm waving as if it was our fault that the price was not the same it must be magic for the profit % margin as proberly most people dont see the price is not the same  .     Regards Rosi n

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