Just received my Gas Bill from British Gas.



That's what I do, but that didn't stop BG trying to rip me off.
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Roly wrote:

Fortunately that's not happened to me, but please do spill the beans so that I know what else to watch out for!
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I don't write cheques unless there is no alternative organisation from which to make a purchase. Last year I wrote two. This year, I hope not to write any. They aren't necessary and are a distinct disadvantage to the consumer.
Regarding energy bills and direct debits, I have a simple solution to avoid the game that the suppliers try to effectively get payment in advance and for a credit balance to be built. I don't lend money to utility companies.
I look over the previous couple of years of use on a monthly basis and price the consumption according to the selected tariff. I then offer the supplier a monthly DD to the value of 80-90% of this. Over the course of the year, there will of course be an underpayment and they will attempt to not only raise the DD to recover that, but also to try to secure a credit balance for the following year. I take the shortfall, add it to the following year's projection and offer them 80-90% of that or a switch to a different supplier.
That has only been turned down by one supplier. They are interested in customer retention.
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On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 08:28:49 +0000 someone who may be Andy Hall

Why?
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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On 2008-02-29 08:44:56 +0000, David Hansen

- Because writing cheques is archaic.
- Because it usually involves an envelope with a stamp and posting it. Extra actual cost and implied cost in terms of time to effect the transaction.
- Because suppliers may not supply goods and services until cheques have cleared
- Because there is extra time between payment being made and being received. Depending on the banks, BACS transfers can be same day. I object to the banks making margin on delay in the transfer. I would rather keep the money in my account and transfer it immediately before the due day. Deliberately delaying a transfer of money to make margin is not a value add to the customer. I am happy to pay the bank for value added services, but that patently isn't one.
- Because requiring cheques indicates that the supplier is perhaps out of date with use of modern EFT and may have a similarly slow customer service attitude
- Because I have less consumer protection than if I user a credit vehicle for payment.
Those are six good reasons that I won't do business unless absolutely avoidable by means of a cheque.
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On Sat, 1 Mar 2008 14:41:54 +0000 Andy Hall wrote :

BACS works fine most of the time but not all customers are equal to it. We print our BACS details on every invoice and some less than bright councils still write to us to ask for them. Others transmit the payments with a cryptic reference such as KLWN or Payments Account - fortunately we're small enough to be able to guess most of these from the amount.
--
Tony Bryer SDA UK 'Software to build on' http://www.sda.co.uk


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Except that e.g. CityLink use ACL
... ACL (a pneumatics company who we use from time to time) are just around the corner from me
took a while to think that one through
--
geoff

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On Sat, 01 Mar 2008 22:01:21 GMT someone who may be Tony Bryer

As we do. The best one was a large arm of government, which told us that they ignored anything of that sort printed on invoices, "because it is often wrong". They wanted us to send them a letter with the same information on it.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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On Sat, 1 Mar 2008 14:41:54 +0000 someone who may be Andy Hall

[snip]
You gave six reasons why a customer may not wish to use one.
My question was why a business would want to turn a customer away simply because of their preference in ways of paying.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
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On 2008-03-02 08:54:13 +0000, David Hansen

That was the context of the thread.

- Because of the extra time and effort in processing the cheque
- Because of needing to confirm that the payment has cleared
- Because as Ed says, it may well be an indicator that the customer is going to be a PITA in other ways. For a business that is not mainly dependent on availability of man hours, this may not matter very much. For one that is, it is a major consideration if there is a work backlog and steady flow of business.
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On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 08:28:49 +0000, Andy Hall wrote:

I'm trying to get my customers to pay either cash or by bank transfer. There is a significant minority of people who I can't get off cheques. I think I'll have to either offer a surcharge/discount for cheque/bank transfer. Alas I might even have to turn down customers who write cheques but I hope it won't come to that.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
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On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 18:40:54 +0000 (UTC) someone who may be Ed

Why?
Some potential customers might turn down suppliers who will not accept cheques.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On Sat, 01 Mar 2008 08:07:54 +0000, David Hansen wrote:

I have more than enough customers. The cheques are often symptomatic of other backward ways like not expecting to pay labour rates of 50 years ago.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
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On 2008-03-01 08:07:54 +0000, David Hansen

Probably not the ones that are wanted.
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On Sat, 1 Mar 2008 14:45:12 +0000 someone who may be Andy Hall

Businesses which adopt that sort of arrogant attitude to customers tend to have a similarly arrogant attitude to customers in other ways. Such businesses are best avoided.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On 2008-03-02 08:59:18 +0000, David Hansen

It isn't arrogant.
It's in the interest of both the supplier and the consumer not to use archaic methods of payments like cheques.
Utility companies such as BT are quite reasonably saying that customers can pay in other ways than DD if they want to but that there will be a charge. This is simply because they know that they will need to chase a proportion of those customers for the payments and there is a cost associated with that.
Another way to think about it is that customers who choose to save themselves and the supplier the potential cost of collection can receive a discount.
These are just different views of the same discussion and are completely reasonable.
The customer may choose to go for the non DD method of payment and incur the 4.50 BT charge. For high users, it may be interesting to keep the money in the account and pay BT at the very last minute. However, this is a different discussion.
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I agree completely.
Receiving them is even worse than writing them because one has to make a trip to the bank or use some other time consuming means to pay them in. Total waste of time, when one considers having to find parking and paying for it, the time taken queuing in the bank and all the rest of it.
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Andy Hall wrote:

In what way are they a disadvantage to the consumer? Since BT started penalising me for not paying by DD I have stopped paying by credit transfer and send them a cheque.
In addition my Osteopath prefers to be paid by cheque - processing them costs him nothing whereas accepting credit or debit card payments does cost him.

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You have substantially less legal protection than if a credit vehicle is used for payment.

Which costs you in time and effort to write and post.

Untrue. It costs him time to process and bank the cheques.
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On Sat, 01 Mar 2008 14:49:02 +0000, Andy Hall wrote:

It's this which in reality is the downside to cheques.
--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
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