“You haven’t charged me this before so I won’t pay it!”

My first for this sub! Long time reader, your posts get me through the days!

Background: I work for a mobile telco providing support for biz, consumers and our stores on everything from billing to tech support.

This was my 3rd call of the day so I was already well and truely over the day by the time he rolled onto my line. He was a small business customer, and a constant late payer.

Apologies in advance if formatting is off, typing on a mobile but will try to check later if it’s ugly looking! <3

Me: intro

Cust: I want to know what this extra $10 fee is on my account, I didn’t add any extras this month.

Me: okay let’s take a look! validates customer. Right so I see that the $10 extra this month is actually a late payment fee, we haven’t received payment for the February billing cycle. Have you made payment for this already?

Cust: yes! I paid that ages ago!

Me: when exactly did you pay this? Our last payment shows in February, before this invoice was generated.

Cust: I paid on March 30th in full by bank transfer.

Me: so that payment hasn’t cleared yet as it was over a weekend, the banks won’t clear that until Tuesday due to the long weekend unfortunately. I can also see the late payment fee was added to the account on the 27th, before you made the payment anyway.

Cust: But you’ve never charged me a late payment fee before, I’m not paying that.

Me: Your bill was due on the 21st, and it’s clearly noted on the first page of the invoice that failure to pay by due date will incur a late payment fee, in this case we still allowed you until the 27th before we applied it. I can see in the past it looks like you avoided it even tho you have paid late several months in a row, however it is at our discretion whether we charge this fee or not. In this case we have, and you will need to pay it with your next invoice.

Cust: but that’s not fair, if you haven’t charged me this before how can you expect me to pay it?! (At this point he’s yelling into the phone like a child).

Me: it’s very clear on the invoice that you will be charged this fee. You’ve just been lucky to avoid it in the past. It’s also in your contract. I can send you a copy of each for your reference if you’d like? In either case, you’ll see this as a charge on your next invoice. I’d recommend paying future ones by the date listed on the invoice to avoid this happening again.

Cust: this is bullshit! I’m going to change to competitor that also charges the same late payment fee we do!

Me: that’s your decision, they also charge late payment fees just so you’re aware. If you’re planning on taking your number with you just note that your account will be closed when the request is sent by your new provider, and when the account is closed you’ll incur a early termination charge of $980.00 + GST for braking your 2 year contract.

Cust: F**k you!

Me: was there anything else I could help you with today?

Cust: hangs up

I will never understand why people get upset about these. We have VERY generous payment terms (bill at the start of the month and payment due nearly 3 weeks later) compared to others in our local industry who have 7 day payment terms.

The sad thing is, if he wasn’t a total dick I’d have refunded it for him like I’ve done to others many times in the past! Mistakes happen, and all you have to do is just ask nicely and I’ll cave! 🙂

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