Today's Word - Billing from the Washington Post

One of the biggest changes that occurred during the past five years has come in the billing department. The split had been about 50/50 between the number of customers that paid their bills directly to the Post and the number that paid their distributor every four weeks.
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The change was made to take the billing 100% in house about 2 years ago. Every customer that receives the newspaper from the Post is expected to pay the Post directly now. The invoices are mailed back to Richmond, Virginia and processed there. While the Post has taken over complete control of the accounts and they generate the customer invoices they list my name and number on the top of the paperwork.
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The idea is to give the customer a local name and number to call if they have a question about their statement. Solid idea but it can lead to a bit of confusion when a call is placed to me with a concern because I was not the one to generate the bill. More often than not we can walk through the problem together without much delay.
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The only time that I am supposed to be actively involved with the billing is when there has not been a payment made within 30 days of the expiration date. It is my job at this point to verify that the newspaper is still desired and to arrange payment or to stop the account.
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One of the more confusing points comes about when an account reaches its cut off date. A large number of folks believe that the newspaper will simply stop coming as in the case with a magazine subscription. But the Post accounts are set up for delivery to continue until someone stops the account- whether it is the customer or myself. This can be one of the more troublesome times and Thankfully it does not happen but so often.
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I hope that I have been able to shed a little light on this topic and welcome any questions concerning the billing process.

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