The Bill That Keeps On Billing

| Working | November 4, 2014

(I had my eyes checked while still living in Connecticut, and while I still had insurance. I recently moved to California, and while I set up mail forwarding I wasn’t necessarily getting all my mail from Connecticut. This happens after I call my eye doctor in Connecticut to get a copy of my eye glass and contact prescription information.)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because I’d like to get a copy of my eye glass and contact lens prescription. They are less than a year old and I’m going to a new doctor this week and I want to provide records”

Receptionist: “Of course. Let me look up that information… I see here you have a balance due. Will you be paying that now?”

Me: “Um, excuse me? What do I have a balance due for?”

Receptionist: “For your eye exam from last December. If you don’t pay it I can’t give you the information you’ve requested.”

Me: “Okay, well, I’m not going to pay right this second, considering it’s now 8 months later and this is the first I’m hearing about this.”

Receptionist: “This is NOT the first time you are hearing about this. We’ve been sending you a bill every month since January and you haven’t paid us. We’re going to have to send you to collections for not paying this bill and refusing to pay it now.”

Me: “Okay, hold up a second. I never got the bill. I moved shortly after the exam and I set up mail forwarding, but I know that sometimes medical forms cannot be forwarded. Maybe that’s what happened. So, yes, this is the first time I’m hearing about it.”

Receptionist: “Well, you’re still refusing to pay so I’m going to send you to collections.”

Me: “I’m not refusing to pay, but I am not just going to pay a bill over the phone without having a bill and the information in front of me. Also, I’d like to call my old insurance company to figure out what happened, because I was supposed to be insured through January. Besides, if I never paid the bill and you had to keep sending notices without any indication that I got them why wasn’t I ever called?”

Receptionist: “That’s not our policy to call. Besides when people get bills, they just pay them. I don’t know why you didn’t.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m trying to tell you I moved. I never got the bill you sent me. I’m not sure why it wasn’t forwarded, but I never got a bill. Again, I ask how come no one ever called me, and if you knew shortly after said eye exam that my insurance wasn’t going to cover it, after I paid my co-pay and signed the form and your office told me I was all set, how was I supposed to know that I had a balance owed?”

Receptionist: “You just need to pay your bills when you get them. Why is that so hard to understand? It’s not our fault your insurance didn’t go through! Pay your bill now that you know you owe it!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not going to pay the bill until I see a bill, and YOUR office told me I was all set when I was checking out. You told me my insurance co-pay was all I needed to pay, so that’s what I paid. I’m sorry for the error, but I didn’t know there was a remaining balance.”

Receptionist: “We sent you bills every month and you haven’t paid yet. You’re refusing to pay now!”

Me: “Again, ma’am, I didn’t get the bills in the mail, and no one ever called me. If you had called me and said there was a problem I could have 1) given you my new address so you could send a bill, 2) called my insurance company while they were still my insurance company in January, and  3) got this all taken care before you had to send me multiple bills. At this point me not paying the bill is on you because I was not notified.”

Receptionist: “It’s not our policy to call people to pay their bills. It’s our policy that we send out bills and people just pay them. That’s what you should have done. People pay their bills, ma’am.”

Me: “Okay, lady, I’m going to pay the bill. I just want to see it first and I want to call my old insurance company to see if they can figure out what happened. Please send me a bill to my new address and I will attempt to figure it out”

Receptionist: “So you want the bill sent to 411 East #### City, CT #### ?”

Me: “Um, no. First off, if that’s the address you’ve been sending the bill too, it was never going to get to me. That’s not even my old address. My address was 311… So, that’s probably why I didn’t get the bill. And second, I just said I was going to give you the address I want it sent to.”

Receptionist: “Well, it’s not MY fault you gave us the wrong address! And I can’t send it to a different address; I have to send it to the one you provided!”

Me: “I’m going to stop you right there. I’m pretty sure I filled out a bunch of forms at your office with my correct address on them. I’m also pretty sure I gave you my insurance card, also with my address on it, so someone in your office must have made a typo. So, thank you for sending my medical bills to someone else for the last 8 months. I’m pretty sure I could filed a complaint about that. And another thing, if you HAD JUST CALLED ME when I didn’t pay the bill in January we could have sorted this whole thing out eight months ago. So, no, ma’am, I never received a bill, and no, ma’am, I was not aware of it ever, because your office sent it to the wrong address.”

Receptionist: “WE DON’T CALL PEOPLE! YOU ARE JUST EXPECTED TO PAY YOUR BILL WHEN WE SEND IT TO YOU!!!”

Me: “That’s enough. I want to speak to your supervisor!”

Receptionist: “She’s going to tell you the same thing!” *to her supervisor* “There is a woman on the phone who refuses to pay her bill. I’ve been telling her that we’ve been billing her for eight months and she needs to go to collections!”

Supervisor: “Ma’am, I’m afraid you’re going to have to pay your bill today. We’ve been billing you for eight months and you haven’t paid at all.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but that’s not what’s happening. I just found out today for some reason my insurance company didn’t pay for the exam from last December. Your receptionist, just told me YOUR office had my address wrong in the system, so that’s why the mail didn’t get forwarded to me in California. She also told me it was not the policy of this office to call people when there is a problem with billing. So, you’re right I refuse to pay this bill today, but not because I’m not going to pay my bill. I just want a copy of the bill sent to me in California, which your receptionist also told me she couldn’t do because it wasn’t the address I provided back in December, which your office put in the system wrong to begin with. I also would like a copy of my glasses and contact prescription sent along with that bill. I need to give it to my new eye doctor.”

Supervisor: “Ma’am, I can’t give you any information until you pay your bill, and I’ll have to send it to collections if you don’t pay with in 30 days.”

Me: “Then please send me the bill to my new address and I will get this taken care of. But unless I see a bill, how do I even know what I’m paying for?”

Supervisor: “I guess we can do that, but you really should have paid the bill when you first got it.”

Me: *bangs head on desk* “I give up. My new address is [Address in California]. Please send out the bill today and I will get this taken care of.”

Supervisor: “Okay, but you really need to pay your bill. You haven’t paid it in eight months and we’ve been sending you a new bill every month.”

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Only One Left

| Right | August 25, 2014

(I am an optometrist, selling glasses and contact lenses. A customer calls me up to ask about some contact lenses I sent to him in the mail.)

Customer: “Hi, I’m just calling to ask you which of the lenses is for which eye!”

Me: “I’m sorry! I am usually so careful about these things. I can’t believe I forgot to mark them.”

Customer: “Yeah, it says ‘right’ on one of the boxes, but what about the other one?”

Me: “Uh, then the other one would be for your left eye.”

Customer: “Great, thanks!” *hangs up*

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Striking A Happy Medium

| Working | August 16, 2014

(One of my more senior coworkers has a well-known reputation for being particularly grumpy and offensive; however, we get on quite well. I’m being let in by the owner just as my coworker arrives.)

Me: “Morning, [Owner].

(My coworker brushes past me. In a very artificially bright voice I speak up.)

Me: “Morning, Mr. Happy!”

Coworker: *grunts*

Me: “Nice to see you’re in such a good mood, Mr. Happy!”

Coworker: *grunts again* “Coffee.”

Me: “You’re going to be even more happy after coffee? How will we cope, Mr. Happy?”

(My coworker and I hear a thump, and turn to see the owner has hit the floor due to her hysterical laughter.)

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An Internal Decision

| Working | July 24, 2014

(The manager in our store usually works the shop floor on weekends when we’re busy as if she were a normal staff member. It’s worth noting that she is always running around, never standing still. She comes into the lab where I am sorting orders, stops still, and smiles at me.)

Manager: “You know sometimes you get really mean, rude, horrible patients?”

Me: “Yep, all the time.”

Manager: “Well, the one I’m with is as bad as I’ve ever seen. She waited for five minutes to get her glasses, and so now she wants something for free.”

Me: *confused* “Well then, what are you doing in here?”

Manager: “I told her I’d ask the manager.” *giggles* “I think I’m going to say no!”

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No Contacts And Updated Contact

| Working | April 1, 2014

(I wear contacts. A couple of years ago when moving house from near Scotland to southeast England, I made sure to change my details with my opticians. I also called up their central office, because apparently you can’t change your delivery address in-store. Nevertheless, my contacts didn’t arrive when they were supposed to. I ring up customer service.)

Employee #1: “Hi. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because I haven’t received my contact lenses. I moved house recently, but definitely changed my details. My current address is [address].”

Employee #1: “Yes, it looks like we still have your previous address on file. You know, you have to call up and change it specifically.”

Me: “I did. I—”

Employee #1: “—and it’s not the same as just calling up your local opticians! Now, we can’t send you a new set just because you forgot to change your address. You’ll have to go to your old place and pick them up.”

Me: “I can’t. I live at the opposite end of the country. I definitely ch—”

Employee #1: “Well, we can’t send you any more. You have to get them yourself or do without.”

Me: “Listen. I went into a branch to change my address, and they gave me a card to call up and change my contact lens details. If they weren’t the right people to call, then who on Earth do I need to call to change my delivery address?”

Employee #1: “Oh, you called and changed your address? It mustn’t have changed in the system. I’ll send you a new pack out.”

(A couple of years on, I’m moving house again. As soon as I move, I call to change my address. Lo and behold, my contact lenses don’t turn up.)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because I haven’t received my contacts. I moved house recently, and made sure to call up the contact lens department and change my delivery address with them.”

Employee #2: “Ah, you changed your address? We’ll send you some more out. Sorry about that. Can I take your new address?”

Me: “It’s [address].”

(A few weeks pass. No contact lenses arrive.)

Me: “Hi. I called a couple of weeks ago because my contacts hadn’t arrived. I was told I would be send some more, but I haven’t got them yet. My address should be [address].”

Employee: “Ah. This is embarrassing. The address doesn’t seem to have been changed. Can we run through them all?”

(They had no fewer than five addresses on system for me, not one of them my current address. Finally, a week later, my contacts finally arrived!)

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