Wednesday, 8 October 2014
If you call a plumber and agree to their terms of employment, they pop out to your place and unblock your dunny or fix your leaky tap or whatever other plumber type problem you might have and then they will sometimes want to be paid as a cashie, under the table, straight in their bin or they will send you an invoice that they'd like to be sorted within 14 days or so. You stand around and watch them poke their snakey metal thing up your pipes and feel that relief as the shit coloured water in your loo turns clear and the sewerage stench begins to recede from your loo and yard. You SEE their success, you make 'em a cuppa and enjoy some small talk about the worst blockage they have ever sorted and then they go, leaving behind their business card, in case you ever need more snakey snakey.
If you take your beloved pet to the vets, you make an appointment and get there in time for the vet to play nice with your pooch and then they fix 'em up. When all is sorted you go out and the folk on the desk who were so pleasant when you got there as they coaxed your girl onto the scales, explain the account to you in detail and then you pay the bill and get a receipt and you take off until the next time.
If you put your car into the garage for a service, you'll get a quote before you start and if you're lucky they will call you before they replace the big old whatsit on the hoohar for the cost of a small island nation. When you collect your car, there might be a placcie bag of old bits, that let's face, could have come from anywhere, a washing machine or a blender or indeed from your car and then after a bit of usually fraught chatter, the bill is paid and a receipt is issued and off you go until the next time. Oh shit yeh I must do all that again very soon.
When you get a dodgy email from someone you have never heard of before and who's details are impossible to find quickly in a google search and then when you speak to their 'office staff' on the phone, they don't have any details either, I suppose the very first thing anyone does is go for the grab of your closest credit card so you can give them a big chunk of wonga, because if you don't something bad will happen to you. Yeh I know it sounds like a Nigerian Scam right?
Well actually that's the business practice of the local Anaesthetist company. I had no choice of Doctor and am still yet to meet him, yeh I figure he's a bloke, Barry was a bit of a giveaway. I was told that I needed to pay him before the surgery. I was told that this pre payment was to my advantage cos it would be cheaper than paying later, even though paying later was not an option. Now you don't want to piss off the 'sleep bloke' cos after all they are the ones that keep you alive, so I was over a barrel. Pay up or no surgery.
I pointed out that this was a very strange business practice and was told that it was because too many patients in the past had failed to pay the bill. I hope that my suspicion of difficulties faced chasing dead patients' estates for the bill, is not in fact the reason for the money grab.
Anyway not only do you have to pay up way before any service is provided or any small talk is chattered, the office staff do not even want to provide a receipt after the cash has been binned. Now I can understand why the plumber or the electrician or the house painter or the mower man doesn't always want to give a receipt cos they want to fleece the tax man occasionally, but these folk are usually a bit short in the pockets. Not so the Doctors.
I do wonder if the Doctors themselves are aware of the very questionable accounting practises in place on their behalf. I imagine that they are at least in the abstract.
I hope that tomorrow when I finally meet Barry that I like him, or at least he is excellent at what he does and that there is no shitting repercussions resulting from my series of emails demanding a receipt for money paid for as yet nothing.
Yippee, 2 calls and 2 emails and finally a receipt!