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A long time ago and a short time ago. In a place both near and far away my wife got a bill from the University of New Haven for thirty thousand dollars. She is a student and as part of my job benefits she gets free tuition as an undergraduate. When she received the bill she went to the Bursar's Office and told them of the mistake. She then received another bill that stated she owes $600. She went back in and asked for an itemized account of the costs incurred. Then the bill was changed to $405 for student fees. She paid and asked for a receipt with the itemized figures on it. They could not give her one.
From four to six hundred dollars could represent a revenue boon to an organization. Also add mistakes like sending out the same bills three times and representing them as having not been paid. If discovered and questioned it is simply a computer error. How is the unreturned money stated on the Universities accounting?
What percentage of customers will automatically pay the amount on a bill without question? I believe an extremely high percentage of customers do not believe that they would be over billed or billed again by institutions in the United States. This leads us all open to exploitation.
Is this a form of marketing to make up for lower tuition costs in a University? We might think of it as a rebate in reverse. Very high numbers of customers do not take the time or just cannot figure out the complexities of getting a rebate. Try to figure out a Dell rebate sometime. Bestbuy also figures out how to really confuse. COSTCO is an example of a company that helps the customer attain a rebate.
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I believe that billing and rebilling of customers is a national tragedy. The honest are deceived into paying much more. Start calling and ask for bill clarification. For every hundred dollars you save send me one dollar. I just switched cell phone carriers and they wanted to charge me an activation fee of 62 dollars. I called and asked them to forgo the fee and the agreed. Another company Allstate raised my yearly rate by 2000 dollars. I called Geico and got more insurance for my previous rate. With these two calls I should have sent myself 20 dollars at 1 dollar per hundred saved by questioning.
A new bill came from UNH today for 13.198 8/23/07 I do not think she owes anything at this time.