Monday, July 2, 2012

Aggressive Billing Practices

I really have to wonder what the fuck is wrong with various merchants, doctors and other service providers. I mean, I get that there's a lot of deadbeats out there and that everyone wants to get paid on-time, but the billing practices of some providers has become insultingly-aggressive.

Last year, we'd gotten hit in a head-on collision that rendered our SUV undriveable. The local police called a wrecker for us. The wrecker came and picked up our vehicle and towed it to their lot. The next day, the insurance company came and towed it to the body shop it was going to be repaired at. Before the week was out, I had received a lien-notice in the mail from the wrecker. They'd sent it out within 24 hours of towing the vehicle without so much as even an attempt to bill me or the insurance companies for the initial tow (yet, they released the vehicle?).

At the time, this seemed unreasonable, but, I could at least sort of understand it from the standpoint that there was no previous business relationship between us and the towing company, so there was no good track record of timely payment. I could also understand it from the standpoint that a significant portion of their business is related to police-initiated impound-tows and impound-tows from illegal parking in private lots. Annoying, but at least sort of understandable that they might be aggressive in seeking liens.

In May, the company I worked for switched insurance carriers. My wife had had one of her regularly-scheduled appointments (she's got a chronic condition, so the appointments happen every six weeks) that month. Apparently, when the doctor's office submitted the bill for insurance reimbursement, they submitted to the wrong insurance company (and it was, naturally, declined). Last week, we received a notice from our prior carrier about a $3000 patient-responsibility and, a couple days later, a notice from the collection company her doctor's office had turned the bill over to. Now, this is a doctor my wife has been seeing since 2009. This is a doctor who has been paid, on time, every time, for just shy of three years now. So, we have a well-established payment track record. Yet, somehow, due to a billing mistake on their part, we get a collection notice - without ever having so much as received a call from their billing department or even a "we can't schedule you for your next appointment due to an outstanding balance issue" when my wife had called in a week or so previous to the receipt of the collection-notice.

Seriously: WTF? How fucking hard is it to reach out to customers - especially customers with a well-established track record of timely payment - before just kicking things over to collections?

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Found this image, today, while looking at my "all circles" feed on Plus:

I fin this image is interesting from a couple standpoints:

  1. For starters, the Nexus appears not to have a spoon or even anything spoon-like. Sometimes, all you want and all you need are a spoon. Everything else is just pointless distraction that doesn't help you accomplish whatever it is you're trying to do.
  2. At the same time, you'll notice that with the Apple device, there's little possibility of the hockey-helmeted set hurting themselves with anything pointy or sharp. I suppose the really determined could accidentally scoop out their own eyeball (or, more likely, get it stuck, rectally), but that's about the biggest "danger".

For the record, unlike a lot of the devotees of each maker, I don't really have a religious affiliation with either device. For me, what I want is a tool that works well for the tasks I need to use it for. If I need a spoon, it does me little good to use the device that doesn't have a spoon. If what I need is a knife, it does me little good to use a device that only offers me a spoon. It's just a question of the right tool for the job.