Money for Nothing


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Here is one of the best ideas to make money that I have ever heard:

Last month, I received an 8-page invoice from Verizon for $8.42. The service that we ordered had not yet been installed (an entirely different, an not unique, problem with telecom companies) but a corporate ID number had been set up based on credit checks, etc. so we’re ready whenever they can figure out their side.

So, before approving this amount for payment, I study it a bit more. There is a line item for Media Services billed in the amount of $8.00. Tax assessed is the 42 cents.

Hmmm, what is Media Services?

Basic curiousity just made me call the 800-number to find out.

I am told that Media Service is the charge to send an invoice.

So, I say to her, it is listed that services rendered is ZERO and we are being billed $8 for just the bill?


So, let me get this straight, you are sending me a bill to tell me that I do not owe anything and I have to pay you $8.42 for that to happen?


Wow, I wish I would have thought up this brilliant idea! This would be like me sending my clients a bill for ZERO and charging them to tell them that. Or I could just send bills for ZERO to everyone in my town or in the state or in the country and start collecting $8.42 from them.

I guess that would be the same, she says.

Okay, so now that you hear how ridiculous this is, will you remove the charge for this invoice?

No, I cannot do that.

Then I think we have a problem.

Jodie Monger
Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics (CRM) and a pioneer in business intelligence for the contact center industry. Dr. Jodie's work at CRM focuses on converting unstructured data into structured data for business action. Her research areas include customer experience, speech and operational analytics. Before founding CRM, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.


  1. Jodie

    I am not quite sure how Verizon can issue a bill to you for a service that they have not installed and thus would not yet be covered by your contract for services.

    Be careful ringing back to enquire further though. It is not unheard of to get a Dear Jody letter from telecoms service providers (an oxymoron if ever there was one) asking you to vacate the fibre optics for being a too-frequent caller.

    On a more serious note. I suggest you check your contract, contact them again and insist they remove the charge for a service that is not yet installed.

    Good luck.

    Graham Hill
    Independent CRM Consultant
    Interim CRM Manager


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