Just a few months ago, one of our clients got an unwelcome surprise. They got their hauler invoice for the month and found that their service rates had increased not 9, not 90, but by 900%!
As you can imagine, they were somewhat less than thrilled.
They didn’t have any service or equipment changes. In fact, nothing had changed.
And yet here they were. They paid a little over $2,000 in April, but found themselves being charged over $20,000 in May.
So naturally, they got in touch with their vendor.
Now I wasn’t there but based on what they told us, I imagine the conversation went something like this:
“Hey guys, Apartment Complex X here. There’s got to be something wrong with our invoice this month - it jumped over $18,000! Can you tell me what’s going on?”
Hauler: “Hmmm. Um, it’s a rate increase.”
Hauler: “A rate increase.”
“You’ve got to be joking. What kind of rate increase entails a 900% jump? That’s ridiculous!””
Hauler: “ Well ma’am, standard price increases are typical and frequently occur after a certain period of time…”
I can’t tell you what I would have said to end this conversation. But I can tell you that Apartment X got in touch with us rapidly.
And their WCI project manager jumped in immediately.
He stayed on the the haulers like a hawk to get a sound answer. After several rounds of calls, the WCI project manager was finally able to speak to someone at this particular hauler’s office who could help. And - surprise, surprise - this person told tell him that the increase was indeed due to an internal error.
But the issue wasn’t all cleared up.
The next month’s invoice came out and was not quite as high, but it was still way off. It wasn’t until the following month’s invoice came out - 2 months after the $20K bill - that the pricing was finally corrected. Our project manager fought for the client at every turn and he didn’t stop until the issue was completely resolved.
What would they have done if they couldn’t have called us? Gone back and forth with their service provider for hours and days and weeks to try to reach a resolution? Paid the invoice? Filed a lawsuit?
But they did call us. They knew we had their backs. We fought on their behalf, and they didn’t have to pay the inaccurate invoices or even accept any sort of rate increase.
This is an extreme example of something that actually happens pretty frequently. We find errors on client bills about 10% of the time. And when we do, we do exactly what we did here - we encourage the provider to correct the invoice.
What would your staff do with an error like this? Would they have the time and resources to devote to it?