11 Ways To Avoid Paying Your Bills — A Reminiscence

Shell GameIn a previous corporate life, I worked for one of America’s most well known and longstanding brands in the financial sector.

We once used the following pamphlet as an advertising specialty for the company’s pre-eminent and trusted commercial collection division.    This one-pager was a distillation of the numerous, incredibly brazen dodges companies would use to avoid paying a bill.

I lack the original direct mail piece, and would love to have it, and to credit the creator. It’s brilliant.

Instead, I am sharing my memory of it with you, for a chuckle:

11 Ways To Avoid Paying Your Bills

1. Always wait for the third past due notice, and then write and ask why you never received an invoice.
2. Next, ask for an itemized account. When it arrives, write back and say that’s not what you wanted at all.
3. Don’t ignore sales taxes. These give you unlimited scope for delay. For instance, if they charge sales tax, advise them your purchase order said you were tax exempt. Never mind that there was no purchase order. And if they don’t charge tax, why not?
4. Always ask for the invoice to be broken into two installments for accounting purposes. Then get somebody else in accounting to start the process all over by asking why there are two bills?  And then only pay one.
5. Send a check with figures not matching words. When they call, ask them to return the check. Send a new one, but don’t sign it.
6. Mail back a copy of the invoice, and staple the torn corner of a check to it. They will turn their department upside down looking for your check. When they call back, tell them you will check with your bank.
7. Tell them you will need two signatures, and the co-signer is on a world cruise with someone in their company for two months.  Discretion suggests keeping this quiet.
8. Send a check for the exact amount, but made out to a fictitious company. When they call you back, tell them you will check with the other company.
9. Ask for a breakdown of labor and materials. When you get it, insist that the numbers are reversed.
10. Tell them that all of their invoices have been seized by the Department of Commerce, as part of a nation-wide investigation.
11. Finally, insist that you already sent them a check, and fax a copy of a previous cancelled check. When they track that down, they will ask for new check. Mail them the fax.

There you have it! As I said at the outset, this is from my written notes, copied from the original, author unknown. If you can track that person down, please let me know, and I will credit them.

And of course, this is my reminiscence of a tongue-in-cheek direct mail piece, by no means a recommendation or endorsement.

Mean time, pay your bills.


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