Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Auditing Bills

My computer background of system testing at Accenture was training and planted the seed of trying to understand the detail bills I receive from providers.  Today, I decided to look over the Verizon Wireless bill that I received this month.  It was a complicated month because of adding Ellen's iphone (which included a data plan) to the family plan. 

The first revelation was the percent we pay for taxes and surcharges (beyond the monthly plan quoted).  For my last two bill it averaged over 10%  (10.5% and 10.8%).  WOW - that caused me to go into "auditing action".  The 10% consists of Verizon surcharges and governmental taxes.  Of course I can't change sales tax (as much as I would like to) which is 6.5% - but what about the remaining 4%?

Verizon has their classic answer to this question on the web site with the ultimate out :
Please note that these are Verizon Wireless charges, not taxes that we are required  [I love that point "required " - required by whom] to collect from you. These charges, and what's included, are subject to change from time to time.
But where are these charges defined and how am I sure they are calculated correctly?   Off to my phone to call the Verizon Wireless Customer Service (which is a very long story and addendum blog).  After two reps and two supervisors, I could get no detail answer on how some of these charges are calculated.  There are no less than six of these charges - some per line, and some based on some percentage that varies by zipcode. 

What I did discover that was unique to this bill is that Ellen's monthly fee was being prorated (for the 22 days of the partial month) but the surcharges were not.  After intense discussion and me training the supervisors - we concluded that I deserved $0.63 credit (8 days of the monthly surcharge overbilled plus tax). 

So are there any benefits of spending time to audit to this level of detail?  This time it was only $0.63  (the refinance mortgage closing audit resolution ended up being $175) - but you never know unless you take the time to understand what you are really paying for. 

No comments:

Post a Comment