Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Sneaky Way Companies Make Money


I am not sure how long this tactic has been used by companies but I wasn’t a victim until this year. I have been doubled billed twice for bills I already paid.  I talked to some of my friends and they have been double billed too, the frequency has increased during the month of December. I guess companies are hoping customers don’t verify their accounts and send in the double payment. 

It is sad that companies do this. It is bad enough that every product or service nowadays is overpriced.  Customer service at most companies is at an all-time low and they have the nerve to double bill, at least provide quality products and customer service.  Many people are aware that lawyers use this tactic frequently. Unfortunately, no industry is immune from this sneaky tactic. 

Companies should realize that everyone is suffering; consumers have less money to spend and don’t need to be tricked into paying money they don’t owe.  This tactic should be illegal and criminal.
In May 2012, Apple double billed customers for iTunes purchases and as a result a class-action lawsuit was filed.  In March 2012, BGE claimed a glitch in a new billing system caused 14,000 customers to be double billed. I wonder if those customers got their money back. 

In August 2011, Microsoft was sued for double billing customers who purchased Xbox Live.  According to the website customers’ claim that ADT Home Security double bills customers even if the credit card has expired.

According to the website customers claim that Netflix double billed them. Some customers who pay for their Comcast service via ebill have been double billed. If they call to have the charges reversed they will have to pay $25. The city of Los Angeles has already paid out $1.25 million dollars in refunds to apartment and condo residents who were overcharged on their Department of Public Works bill. Other companies such as AT&T, DirectTV, utility companies, Verizon, Quest Diagnostics, the IRS and more are also guilty of double billing.  If you feel you have been double billed here are 8 ways to fight it:

  1. Keep all of your receipts, statements and bills for at least a year.
  2. Review your monthly bank and credit card statements and compare with your bill to verify the charges before making a payment. You may have to go back a few months.
  3. Call the company's customer service department right away to try to solve the problem.
  4. If you are not satisfied, call back and ask to speak to a supervisor. A trick I use which has been successful is I state I want to give a compliment about an employee. Some supervisors refuse to answer a customer call if they know it is a complaint.
  5. If you are not satisfied with the response from the supervisor you can contact your credit card company or bank you used a debit card and ask that the charge be reversed.
  6. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau if you are not satisfied with the response from the company that double billed you.  Log on to, enter your zip code, Click on “File a Complaint".  Complete the questions. You should get a response with 30 days.
  7. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  8. Let family members and friends know about your experience to prevent others from being victims of double billing.

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