One afternoon I was working through a list of dental bills when I called an elderly gentleman and the conversation went something like this:
After introducing myself, I gave the typical spiel that I was calling about two invoices that were left unpaid for teeth cleaning. One to have his teeth cleaned and the other to have his wife’s teeth cleaned.
Immediately he told me under no uncertain terms did he intend to pay the bill for having their teeth cleaned because he felt like the dentist charged too much. After reviewing the invoice, I stated to him that the charges were very reasonable and I did not feel he was over charged. He went on and on about how I just did not understand, the dentist was attempting to overcharge them and he should not owe the same amount as his wife. Upon asking the old gentleman why he felt he should have been charged less than his wife, without hesitation he said because she has several teeth to clean and I only have one! After I picked my teeth up off the floor I managed to get out “Mr. Jones, if you only have one tooth in your mouth it is twice as important that you take care of that one and keep it clean!” Mr. Jones paid both bills, but this brings up a good point. Why do some people believe they can set their own price for services rendered after the work is done?
Why do people think they can pay what they want to regardless of the balance due on the invoice? One quick google search will pull up hundreds of websites promising to teach consumers how to settle consumer debt for less than the amount owed. These websites say begin the negotiations by offering 30 cents on the dollar! Believe it or not some business owners take the deal. This has me shaking my head! Can you go into Kroger and decide to buy a loaf of bread but when you get to the register tell the cashier that you don’t think its worth $1.00 as marked so you will pay 30 cents and leave? Before you got out the door you would be arrested for shoplifting, bread confiscated for evidence! Why would business owners settle for 30 cents when they did $1.00 worth of work? There are only two reason this happens. Either the business owner is strapped for cash, themselves, or they fear if they do not take the offer they won’t get paid at all. Some even believe, legally, they must take the offer because debtors tell them time after time, “If I offer to pay and you don’t take the offer then legally, I don’t owe you!” This is absolutely not true!
This leaves the business owner to ponder deal or no deal. I say no deal! The moment you cut your price you say to the customer that you do not believe your services were worth the price that you charged. Trust me when I tell you after years of experience, they have no intention of paying the reduced price either. What they will do however is tell all their friends you will except less than full price and you have just made yourself a web of delinquency. Like a decaying tooth left untreated the situation will quickly turn from bad to worse until you are left with only one choice, immediately turn it over to the professionals! Many times, these accounts are easy to collect. We just have to explain to them after careful review, we have determined they owe you the money. We collect the debt back while you get to keep more of your bread, it’s a win/win!