When I travel, I expect to spend money. But I also try not to spend too much, or to be surprised by unfortunate, unseen expenses. Sometimes, it’s hard to forecast what could go wrong.
For our trip to Brisbane, we managed to get promises of nominal coverage for health insurance, for example, just in case. And we tried to foresee what our costs would be, in order to find good deals, like for our housing situation — but our careful planning ahead backfired on us.
Sometimes, it’s better not to plan ahead, it seems. For example, I came back home to a stack of bills and a problem — I had done what I thought was the right thing, by canceling my mobile phone account with my carrier, Tele3. Unfortunately, I did not realize that the money I had in the account would not be enough to cover any final charges. Because I was away, I missed that last *paper* bill for 60 SEK (the equivalent of about 10 bucks USD).
After five months, that missed bill landed on the bill collectors’ desks, and it morphed into more than 1000 SEK. If I had set up automatic payments, I would have avoided this problem (even though I worry that I might get overcharged in an auto-payment scenario). An employee at the smaller bill-collecting company told me it’s no good once a case reaches Kronofogden — you can end up losing your ability to have a phone account, or even qualify for a loan. You can imagine that I paid off the bill collector very quickly (Tele3 was unsympathetic to my plight).
This whole kerfuffle interests me from a number of angles: Stupid behavior, for example, by otherwise smart people (what was I thinking, not forwarding my mail?!). The ability of large companies that provide necessary services — banks, phone companies, and so on — to profit from their customers’ stupidity, even if it’s a small fee for a change or service, or somesuch. But large companies also have a reputation to uphold; they might make an effort to not mistreat their customers and respond to complaints.
You would think it would be the same for small companies, but we ended up having a bad experience with a one-person show in Brisbane, for our apartment rental. That’s another story, which I will post tomorrow.