I have to be honest, I USED to check my statements and compare my receipts...all that fun stuff, to make sure that all was in line and no random charges were there. Over the past 4 years, I've gotten out of the habits I had for bills and such, so I can honestly say that I sometimes browse through things, but more often than not, I pay what I'm told without a thought.
There have been a few occasions when things have happened. Charges we didn't make, credits not appearing, charges we've disputed that were supposed to be reversed not being reversed, etc. With things actually happening, you'd think I'd be better at it. I keep vowing to myself to do it, but then my papers just pile up on my desk and nothing happens. Ug. WELL. I am here to encourage you (and myself) to make this a habit, and let me tell you why now :)
Early December I purchased 2 items at a store. Mid December, 1 of those items was returned. Statement came in the mail. I took the statement total, subtracted my return (it didn't appear, I had just done it) and mailed the remainder. Seems simple enough, right? Balance should now be ZERO.
Yesterday's mail brought my new statement and I had a $7.58 balance. Now, it's not about the amount, it's about the fact that it should have been $0 balance. I was on the phone with about 5 different people, and in the end, they credited me the $6.50 they shorted me (the remainder was the interest), but only because i have my receipt from the return with the notes and amounts on it.
Again, not a big amount, I know - but the amounts I've contested are anywhere from $.99 to $12 or even $20 each. They add up if you just keep paying them! SO CHECK YOUR STUFF when it comes in the mail!! And when you talk to peeps on the phone, make notes, and when possible, get the outcome in writing (email) from them...when things don't happen that they promise, you have something to fall back on your words usually enough when you have the date, time adn name of the customer svc rep)
PS - My dad used to tell me to check the grocery clerk as they're scanning the merch as well. Have you noticed they go super quick? His theory was so that they go so fast so they don't have to give you the sales prices. Now most of the time the sale price is embedded in the scanner, but sometimes they're not. So when I can catch it while they're scanning, I do and bring it up and they manually change the purchase price. Other times it all happened so quick I have to sit and look at the receipt in the car and go back in (yes, I have, and wait for my $2 or $5 or whatever the amount is).
I know it seems nutty, but I hope that in taking up this practice I'm able to save you enough cash for maybe a date night or 2 throughout the year ;0...and I guess you now know a little bit about some of my nuttiness and how I work :)
It's all about being your own advocate here, guys! No one's looking out for you but you :)