My library underwent a renovation this past year, during which we relocated to a temporary space and later returned to our new space. As part of this moving process, certain vendors needed to be notified and utilities changed. Would there be changes in account numbers? Would there be changes in contract terms? From the start, I kept copious notes of who I talked to and the content of our conversations.
I was particular concerned about potential issues with telephone and internet services. At the time, my fear was losing the various numbers hat identified our library, like our telephone and fax numbers. If any of them were changed, it would cause havoc.
I know that some people thought I was crazy taking the time to make notes of my conversations. They looked at my stack of “moving folders” with skepticism and smirked as I checked dates and times and recorded I said/they said logs. There were times in the frenzy when I, myself, wondered if I were just being paranoid and wasting time. Certainly, this tedious course was time-consuming, led to longer hours, and added to the paper trail.
When we returned home and all setups seemed to return to normal, I sighed with relief and put all my notes and logs in a large box. At that point I was thinking they would soon be headed to the shredder. Then I received a bill from our former telephone company. The bill, normally less than one hundred dollars, was for over a thousand dollars. The company informed me that they were charging an early contract-termination fee. No, no, no, I told them. I had asked multiple times and been assured there would be no such fees.
This dispute became a three-month-long battle as one department referred me to another, phone calls were not returned, and each person I spoke with started the review anew. Luckily, my records were comprehensive and well-organized. Because of my notes, I was able to fax a three-page log of my interactions to customer service in which I could identify names, times, and dates of the people I spoke with and what they had said.
Ultimately, the account balance shifted from the over-thousand-dollar fee to an apology and a refund of $180. If I had not been diligent in my note keeping, we would have been stuck paying a wrongful and costly bill.
Definitely take the time to get all the information you need, take detailed notes, and keep them until you are sure you do not need them. Some things you will not need until an account is closed, some will become unnecessary after the next bill or a problem is resolved. The hard and fast rule here is to keep reliable notes—you never know if you will need them, but you will be thankful to have them when you do.