Would you check a bill to save $5? $500 or $37,000
This past week I have been pouring over receipts and bills for which our apartment body corporate are being charged. These are back-payments relating to the past 3 years – where the developer has been paying for upkeep on the property, when really the body corporate (that is – a collection of the owners) should have been paying them.
Which is where my “I have no life and get a sick kick out of playing with spreadsheets and scrutinising receipts” skills come in.
Every single one of the receipts was uploaded on to a website for us to look at. So we did, and then rolled on the floor laughing at some of them. Some of them were for other buildings owned by the developer, or his other businesses. Quite a few in fact.
One was even for light bulbs (nearly $6,000 worth of the things) for the new IBM office in Petone.
Talk about adding insult to injury – we have to be prepared to take IBM to court, and now we are being asked to pay for their damn light bulbs!!!
I don’t fippin’ well think so.
The upshot of me being picky, and a pain in the arse, is that this portion of the “special levy” we were being asked to stump up for went down by about $37,000.
I’m still not happy with some of the expenses being claimed, and we have voted for someone independent to check them out (with the best will in the world I am not qualified to go further with it than I already have). The saving to us personally is still a few hundred dollars – not to be sneezed at – an independent check could save us even more. And although it was a bit awkward and time consuming – I don’t think it hurts for people to be made aware that I will indeed check and make sure that what I’m being asked to pay for is legitimate and fair.
In the past 2 months we have actually claimed back about $60 in fees that we have been overcharged by various companies. That might not sound like a lot – but right now every little helps.
You may not save $37,000 every week by spotting mistakes in bills – but you won’t save anything if you never check.