Proving once again that it never hurts to ask, I have removed three charges from three different accounts, simply by calling. It seems that each time I was going to my doctor (after paying a $30 co-pay) I was receiving a bill for $15 more. I paid it the first time, ignored it the second time, and this time I called to ask why I was effectively paying $45/visit.
They look up the charge and see that it's supposed to be 'written off' with this insurance carrier and I shoudl disregard it. So - had I not called, they would have taken my $15 gladly, but since I did call, I don't have to pay it. Hmm. Looks like they're trying to get their money if they can.
Next, I notice that DirecTv is charging me $3.99 a month for a listings magazine which I never even use. Goes right to the killed trees pile. So, I call and ask them to take that off the bill. I never asked for it, and they were happy to remove it, but I had to call. That's $48/year that I don't have to pay now, which is essentially a month and a half of service for the TV. Not bad. Oh, and while I was on the phone, what about that DVD player you promised to send me when I signed up? Oh, you didn't get that yet? Let me make a note of that in your file and you should be getting it within a month. Again, they're all very happy to help me, but only if I ask.
Finally, I noticed that we had been billed $108 for the dentist to take x-rays of Floyd's teeth. This is something that is covered by our insurance, so why are we being charged for it? I question and find out we are only allowed 1 x-ray every 5 years, but the dentists all want us to get our teeth x-rayed every 3 years. It's an ongoing argument between the dentists and the insurance. Since we were assuming our x-rays would be paid for, the dentist happily removed the $108 charge from our bill, thus paying for 2 checkups (the kids) effectively. Again, it never hurts to ask :)
So, over the past 2 days I have gotten a free DVD player, and saved $171.00 by doing nothing but canceling unwanted services or standing up for myself in billing issues. Yay. Sounds like a productive day to me. Now if I could just do that all the time. It could be a living!