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Ever get double billed? Here's why you should always check your statements, and not just from the bank.

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A lot of us like to put our payments on autopay. It helps avoid late fees and cuts down on time spent paying bills. But that autopay shouldn't be used as a replacement for looking at your monthly bills.

A Cable Conundrum

Kathy had her cable and her internet bundled with the same company. It helped her save money on both and keep costs down. But recently, she decided to downgrade her cable subscription. This separated the payments. When Kathy looked at her first bill after the split, she realized there was a problem. Her cable subscription had been double billed. The cable company was asking her to pay twice for the same month of service

To resolve the issue, Kathy started by calling the cable company's customer service. Unfortunately, after spending time on the phone, she got nothing but the runaround. So she moved into a second phase of problem-solving. She took to the internet and blasted the cable company wherever she could. She hoped that someone at the company might see this and be motivated to help. But there was no reply. Finally, Kathy upped the ante and took her complaint to the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC. But the FCC told her that they have no authority over cable companies. Their jurisdiction covers television and radio that is broadcast over the air, not over cables. Having hit a wall, Kathy called TrustDALE.

TrustDALE Steps In

When we heard about Kathy's problem, we wanted to help. So our producers started the same place she had, with customer service. Sure enough, we got the runaround, too. It just didn't look like we would get anywhere. Finally, after some diligent prodding, we found someone to talk to. We told them who we are and had a pleasant conversation about Kathy's complaint. 

Unfortunately, no one at the cable company could promise us a resolution. However, within hours after our call, Kathy checked her bill online, and the double bill had disappeared. We'll chalk that one up to Kathy and TrustDALE together. Our perseverance got it done.

Before you try this with your billing problem, consider this: Is the amount of money you are disputing really worth the time and aggravation you will spend fixing the problem. In a perfect world, large corporations shouldn't get away with billing problems. But in the real world, every choice you make should be informed by good money sense. It just doesn't pay to spend more time saving money than the amount of the savings is worth.

Always Double-Check Your Statements

Usually, errors in billing are simple mistakes, and many companies are eager to correct them. But they only know about a mistake when a customer calls them to let them know about it. This is why it is important not to set your bills on autopay and just forget about them. Autopay is a great way to make regular payments and avoid late fees, but don't use it as a crutch. Take a look at your statements from time to time to make sure there are no hidden charges or billing errors. And we're not just talking about bank statements. 

Any service you pay for on a recurring basis—phone, internet, utilities, streaming services—runs the risk of accidental charges you didn't want. To avoid overpaying, it's important to at least scan your monthly payments and make sure you aren't paying too much.