One of the major advantages of paying bills by direct debit is that you don’t have to do anything. All of your information is already there…you don’t have to worry about writing a check each month, finding an envelope, buying stamps, or any of the other exciting thrills of bill paying. This is also the major disadvantage of direct debit.
I have to admit, I’m not as fiscally responsible as I should, and I’m not great with balancing my checkbook. I do, however, check my balance, withdrawals and deposits from time to time, and was doing so the other day when I saw that my long distance bill had been paid. I also noticed the bill was about $25. “That’s odd”, I thought to myself, “I didn’t think I knew that many people.” So, after a good deal of hunting, I find my LD company’s website, and manage to log in and get an itemized breakdown of charges. My actual calls come to about $5, various fees, taxes and surcharges come to about $20. I was paying four times as much in fees as I actually was using the service.
Needless to say, they’re not my long distance company anymore, and my new LD company has promised they don’t do that. (I don’t know if I believe them, but…) Admittedly, this isn’t the biggest horror story or tragedy in the world, and I’m not outraged, but I was mildly annoyed, and I figured I’d share.