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When Setting Up Online Statements, Remember to Get Notification

One of my more interesting challenges at my last position was finding out why the company was 6 months overdue on their payments for the mail machine. Pitney Bowes was threatening to cut off service and possibly sending the account to a collections agency.

My boss couldn’t understand why all this was happening. But when I went through the back invoices, I found that we (indeed) hadn’t paid anything in 6 months, shortly before I had taken over her old position. Because she was no longer the front line for invoices (though she saw them all) she probably didn’t notice they were missing. And I didn’t know to look for them, since I hadn’t gotten one.

It took me a number of phone calls to straighten it all out. What I finally discovered was that when my boss signed up for an online account, PB had automatically checked the option to no longer receive paper invoices. She didn’t see it, and thus had legally opted out of getting statements but was still required to pay the bill.

I don’t know if they weren’t sending her statements by e-mail or what. Maybe she thought they were backups?

As it was, I was able to get all the invoices online, print them, and use them.

It’s easy and environmentally friendly to sign up for online billing without ever receiving a paper statement.

But you don’t want to miss a payment either. Automated billing can help with that. If you don’t want to do automatic billing, however, you need to make sure at first that you actually get the statements.

Most places should send them (or notices for them) by e-mail. That’s not too bad. You just need to remember that it’s the only copy you’re getting.

If they don’t, double and triple check the billing cycle and set up automated reminders for every month/cycle.
For a big company, getting behind on payments and having their credit history dinged/threatened isn’t too bad. But for a person, that can lead to services getting shut off and all kinds of problems.


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February 23, 2008 at 8:28 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

PiggyBankBlues February 21, 2008 at 6:26 pm

i do online statements eventually on all my credit card bills, but i bookmark everything i pay online and go through it a couple times a month, marking due dates, etc. on a calendar. but it’s tricky how PB did an automatic opt-out, good for you for catching that…

Dad February 21, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Another advantage with email reminders or checking things a couple times a month is you don’t get caught if the billing company changes the billing cycle. A lot of people get caught by that.

Hilda February 21, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I opted out of Verizon’s hardcopy statements only to realize later on that I didn’t save/print my on-line invoices and I needed those for tax purposes. Yikes! So, as much I want to be kinder to the environment, I switched back and asked for paper bills instead.

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