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What Inept Billing Software Have You Encountered? 219

Chris asks: "I am a Sprint customer signed up for automatic payments, and over the past week I've found that Sprint has a computer system that does three ridiculously inept things from a programmers standpoint. First, they send a 'Do not send payment...this amount will be charged' bill then a 'Disconnection Imminent' notice for the same amount, within a week of each other. When customer service is called about this, everything appears fine to the customer service rep, and they assure the client that everything is fine. Finally, the computer system shuts down the customer's cell phone for lack of payment, even if the customer has a credit card on file and has given Sprint authorization to use it. What's the worst experience Slashdot users have found with billing systems that don't make any sense?"
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What Inept Billing Software Have You Encountered?

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  • Re:No charge.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alranor ( 472986 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @08:09AM (#16334783)
    Aha, fnorgby [], so this is where you've been hiding.

    Which one of these [] people are you claiming to be?
  • Re:No charge.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:07AM (#16335237)
  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @09:56AM (#16335787) Homepage Journal

    Never. Let. Them. Get. At. Your. Money.

    Push not pull: If automatic withdrawal or credit card billing is optional, do not opt in. If you don't want to deal with manual payment, you can setup your own transaction to send them a payment automatically.

    Minimize the liability: If they insist on 'pull' transactions, opt for credit card billing, using an expendable credit card with a very low credit limit i.e. less than $500.

    Paper billing: You can't accidentaly lose paper to a drive failure or virus/malware. Tangible stuff with big yellow highlighter that says "PAY ME" is easy to see on a kitchen fridge.

  • Re:Dish Network (Score:4, Informative)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @10:26AM (#16336111)
    They took me to collections and the dink to my credit was worth it to just not pay the money they tried to extort from me.
    You let them dink your credit? You should have fought it. If it's still on your credit report, you still can get it removed. Sites like are always willing to help people learn how to remove crap like this.
  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @11:30AM (#16336981) Homepage Journal
    Minimize the liability: If they insist on 'pull' transactions

    Then take your business elsewhere. I have never allowed someone to pull an automated payment, and not been ripped off. Not once.
  • by revarf ( 96889 ) on Friday October 06, 2006 @12:20PM (#16337645)
    1) When we went to purchase our first home, the credit report showed my wife in default on her student loans, despite her being in grad school and having a deferal. The bank holding the loan claimed that they had been unable to contact her for over a year, despite using "all resources at their command." When we asked why she was still getting her checking account statements at the apartment we had been in for over a year, the until then surly manager sat in stunned silence, looking a bit ill. He pulled up her checking account information, and saw that it had our current address. When I pointed out that their customer files might be considered a primary resource at their command, he had to agree. The next morning, the correction had been made to our Credit report. That bank has since gone out of business.

    2) Several years later, my wife and I separated for awhile. I called the Cable company, and had my service moved to my new place, and told my wife that she should contact them to have her service moved into her name. The cable came up at my place, and I never thought about it again. A few months later, we reconciled, and I moved back into our house. She paid the bills that had been moved to her name, I paid the others. About a year later, I decided to move from dial-up internet access to a cable modem. I called and asked the Cable company to add broadband service. "Would you like to reactivate your TV cable service at the same time?" Huh? We already have cable, just add the broadband. "Well... I'll have someone contact you about adding that."

    The next day, a cable supervisor shows up at the door, and launches into this long lecture about Cable piracy and how we were in "big trouble." Eventually, I demand they show when they disconnected the cable when they transferred the service to my new place. They, of course, discover that there was never a work order issued to disconnect the old service. Since my wife had never seen a cable bill, and I hadn't been expecting to pay one after I moved back in, we had never realized they were not billing us. Of course, we then get a bill for the 18 months, which I refuse to pay since I had canceled service for that address. Eventually, they relented and cancelled the bill when I mentioned Satellite TV.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings