Limitation of Incompetence



  • We resell broadband services in the UK from a number of suppliers. We had one supplier that was bought out by a new company. Let's call them X.

    X migrated all the billing from the old supplier onto their systems, (this is more than a year ago). We had lots of problems, sorted them out, it settled down. We migrated a lot of circuits off X to a better supplier Y.

    In the last three months we've been sent back-dated billing on circuits going back as far as two years. I've also found they re-started billing on eight lines we moved elsewhere and which they already knew had left. And two lines that had been ceased.

    We've tried withholding payment to try to get goodwill credits, but no dice says X, who threatend to disconnect all our services if we don't pay up.

    They forwarded this extract from their contract:

    Customers' Responsibility to Check

    It is acknowledged that discrepancies may occur over time between the end user orders recorded on X's systems and the Customers own records and those of any Third Party service Providers. It is the responsibility of the Customer to regularly reconcile (at least monthly) its records with those on any provisioning system, for all end user orders, end user order variations, ceases, migrations, cancellations and terminations, including for rejections or failures. The Customer shall notify X promptly of any discrepancies, and shall submit or re-submit instructions through the provisioning system as appropriate, including to terminate end user orders where the end user ended its contract with the Customer and the end user service has been migrated or ceased. The Customer takes the risk of any discrepancies, and any continued or over- billing from Customer. However if the Customer notifies X of any incorrect charges applied to invoices, X will credit any incorrectly billed services for up to a maximum period of three (3) months following the invoice date after which time the Customer shall have no right to claim any credits or refunds from X in relation to any discrepancies.

    That's right folks - this is a Limitation of Incompetence clause.

    Here is my translation:

    Our billing is crap. We know this, but if you don't spot how bad it is fast enough, tough shit - we're keeping the money,SUCKER!

    Fortunately this was not in the contract we signed.



  • I would be amazed if that was enforceable in a court of law.

    "if you tell us something, we might ignore you, it's your responsibility to check if we ignored you" doesn't make sense to me...



  • Local utilities work that way. It doesn't matter that your power meter failed for 2 months without anybody at the utility noticing, they still bill you for what you "should" have been paying. That was a bitch to sort out.


  • BINNED

    I had the exact opposite in a place I used to live. After a few months with no electric bills I decided to get it sorted out rather than being hit with a monster bill. Phoned literally every electric provider with my address and meter number, and none of them had a match. National Grid said my meter was registered with the first company I'd called. One place said that my meter was registered to a different building about half a mile away.

    At that point I buttumed someone must be paying for it, and that my landlord was probably doing something dodgy I'd better not dig up, so I left it. Nearly 18 months I lived there paying nothing for my utilities.



  • We had Microsoft pull this crap on us in an audit. They said "any payments made in the past are an implicit agreement that you are OK with the product you purchased". This was for monthly license rental under a program known as SPLA, not outright purchases. The end result is that if someone buys the wrong SKU, you have to pay for both the incorrect product that you never used and the correct product rather than simply paying the difference.

    They let up after we told them that if they enforced this policy then we would not pay for anything until the next audit since any payment error is lost money, but any not-paid licenses simply need to be paid at the time of audit.



  • @jaloopa said:

    I had the exact opposite in a place I used to live. After a few months with no electric bills I decided to get it sorted out rather than being hit with a monster bill. Phoned literally every electric provider with my address and meter number, and none of them had a match. National Grid said my meter was registered with the first company I'd called. One place said that my meter was registered to a different building about half a mile away.

    At that point I buttumed someone must be paying for it, and that my landlord was probably doing something dodgy I'd better not dig up, so I left it. Nearly 18 months I lived there paying nothing for my utilities.

    Odd, when I've had a landlord, usually the utility is in their name, and the bill gets included with the monthly rent check.



  • Depends. My apartment complex actually has individual power meters for each unit and so the bill goes directly to the renters, but I've seen plenty where the landlord or managers pay the bill and simply divide it up by the number of residents.


  • BINNED

    In the UK it's fairly rare to have bills included in the rent unless you're renting a room in someone's house. When you're renting a flat or a house you usually register with the utility company yourself



  • I'd like to see a clause like that in a relationship agreement: "Both parties agree that if either of them has a problem with the other, they are required to not only say that they have a problem, but upon request, to state what the problem is and not just mutter 'if you don't know what you did wrong I'm certainly not going to tell you' and try to claim that's an explanation. Failure to comply is tacit agreement that there really is no problem at all and you're just being pissy."



  • It also depends on the utility. E.g., my electric bill is in my name (as would be cable and landline phone, if I had them), but water/sewer and garbage is included in the rent. At my previous apartment, the situation was the same for electricity, phone and cable; I got an individual bill (pro rated, not based in actual individual use) for the water/sewer/garbage, to be paid to the landlord with the rent, not the utility company nor the billing company. This was particularly confusing since the landlord's online billing was so screwed up that you could not find out how much you owed — it always said you owed $0 — it was not unusual for me to pay only the base rent on the first of the month, and wait until they emailed me a reminder that "You still owe $X; please pay by the 10th to avoid a late charge" to pay the utility part of the bill.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @HardwareGeek said:

    online billing

    I never do online billing for anyone who won't cut me a discount for using it.



  • I pay online everything that offers that option. (I don't bother using the bank's "pay any bill online" service for those that don't; it's slower than mailing the check myself.) Even if they don't offer a discount, it's cheaper than buying stamps and envelopes, and it's more convenient.



  • I only do one check month, everything else is online.



  • I do two, rent (landlord is just an ordinary couple who bought a new house and rent out their old one, not a property management company) and paying my former dentist for my son's braces (for the next 5 years, or so — paying, that is, not the braces themselves; they're long gone).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Well. What I should say is that I do pay most things online. But I won't take advantage of someone's offer to switch to online-only pay. I realize it's King Canute, but they can keep the expense of sending me mailings every month as well as periodic begging letters to let them stop sending me paper bills, forever, because they're only doing it to save themselves money. Appeal to my self-interest as well as your own, assholes!

    My health insurance is really bad for this. They bombard me with paper--especially a never-ending stream of "enroll in our moronic wellness program" bullshit--and all sorts of "please stop making us send you paper!" emails.

    Wellness programs are stupid and they're designed for stupid people. I actually put up with it for a few months--I'm diabetic--until I got tired of them constantly asking me to set new goals.

    MY GOAL IS TO NOT HAVE TO HAVE ANYTHING AMPUTATED, ok?



  • @FrostCat said:

    I actually put up with it for a few months--I'm diabetic--until I got tired of them constantly asking me to set new goals.

    Whoa, join the club with myself and @locallunatic



  • Could we not end up with user groups by diagnosis?

    Also @FrostCat , most of those wellness things are out sourced from the actual insurer. I mean where I work is outsourced processing claims for them; there is no way they will be sending that shit out themselves (plus I'm regularly amazed that they aren't under some kind of functional adult supervision).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @locallunatic said:

    mean where I work is outsourced processing claims for them

    I believe you. But regardless of that, I really do believe what I said about it being for stupid people. I have a friend with MS. A few years ago he fell and broke his back, and wound up being one of those people you hear about who spent a day and a half or so on the floor before someone found him. He wound up in a rehab place and said there were a LOT of people in there who were diabetics, many of who were there because they'd already had a limb or part of one amputated, and didn't get why they couldn't have cake and stuff.

    It would entirely make sense to have a wellness program targeted at people like that, and of course you'd need to tailor it in a way that would necessarily annoy people who aren't dumb. (I'm not actually mocking dumb people here, believe it or not.)



  • To be fair, many of those that deal with the complications are either "the diagnosis is new as only caught by issues happening" or they are type 1 and things were never explained to them as to why they spent childhood in and out of hospitals. Dumb != lack of education.



  • @FrostCat said:

    I have a friend with MS.

    The first time I read that, my brain inserted an indefinite article into that sentence. I couldn't figure out what relevance his advanced degree had to the rest of the story. Then I read that sentence again. Oh.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I don't disagree with you, but these specific people were. It was all older people who'd already suffered diabetes-related amputations I was talking about. At that point, if you don't understand the danger of cake'n'ice cream, then you're probably not the sharpest knife in the drawer.



  • @chubertdev said:

    I only do one check month, everything else is online.

    The only checks I write these days are at the beginning of the school year for art class fees or whatever for my kids.



  • @da_Doctah said:

    Both parties agree that if either of them has a problem with the other, they are required to not only say that they have a problem, but upon request, to state what the problem is and not just mutter 'if you don't know what you did wrong I'm certainly not going to tell you' and try to claim that's an explanation. Failure to comply is tacit agreement that there really is no problem at all and you're just being pissy.

    This is called the Communicating Like An Adult clause.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    The only checks I write these days are at the beginning of the school year for art class fees or whatever for my kids.

    I don't write checks per se, period. I don't even know if I have a checkbook, actually, because I despise the things.



  • @locallunatic said:

    Could we not end up with user groups by diagnosis?

    I'm fine with just the one. :smiley:


  • mod

    @FrostCat said:

    I got tired of them constantly asking me to set new goals.

    I got a FitBit through work because I wanted a sleep tracker and they were offering 50% off. I won't sign up for the work wellness program they wanted me to use it for, though. If I'm in agony limping to the bathroom from my physical therapy for my legs, I'm not going to increase my step count.


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