What Does Balance Due Really Mean?

November 10, 2014

In my experience, an invoice, bill, or statement will state, unequivocally, the total amount due. One merely looks for the words “Balance Due” or “Total Due”.

Once that amount is paid, the balance due should be ZERO. Right?

Well, apparently only in some circles …

I recently went online to pay the balance due on my cruise reservation.

  • I logged and navigated to the payment screen.
  • I verified that the initial deposit had been credited and looked for those magic words … balance due.
  • I found them, chose the “Pay in Full” option, pulled out my brand new, rewards miles credit card, and submitted the payment.

According to the confirmation screen, payment in full had indeed been received – no balance due.

Let me repeat … Z E R O due.
Account Paid In Full.

I waited patiently for the email confirmation to follow. When it hadn’t, I called the ‘group specialist’ to request a copy.The confirmation arrived and, much to my surprise, the statement indicated there was an outstanding balance of $50.

I went back over all my paperwork and called the group specialist for clarification …

OOF!! We went ’round & ’round. Me insisting that balance due has a definitive meaning; she, insisting that there was a “but for…” consideration. Yes, I could see that there was a remaining balance due, I simply wanted someone to ‘splain me why that amount WASN’T INCLUDED IN THE ACTUAL BALANCE DUE.

I asked to speak the her supervisor. A message was left. I missed the return call, called back, and left another message. Several days pass and I receive an email from the supervisor claiming that she had been trying to call me for days, but couldn’t get through/ there was no answer / there was no voice mail option.

S E R I O U S L Y ??

I freaking work from home!!!

Lemme ‘splain you … I so rarely leave my house anymore* that my average, monthly gasoline bill is less than $50!! The possibility that I missed a call to my landline is, well, virtually nil!

I respond by email, verify my phone number, and offer times that I know I will be available for a call. She confirms a date and time … no call. In the meantime, I had AT&T check the line.

The supervisor finally calls – I pick up and we talk.

It would have been far more productive for me to repeatedly beat my head against a brick wall.

We go back on forth on the same issue …
Balance due means the amount owed to pay off the account.
“Well, yes, ‘except for…'”
Um, NO! It’s the remaining amount owed.
“Except for…”
There is no ‘except for…’! Yes, I see that there is still a balance due. What I want explained is why that amount wasn’t included in the BALANCE DUE when I logged on to make my payment.
“But there is a balance due. I’ll send you another copy of the confirmation showing the balance due”
I have that confirmation – that’s why we’re having this conversation.
“Well then, you can see there is a balance due…”

Dear Lord, get me off this ride!!

That went on for 30 minutes. Ultimately, I received a $50 on-board credit. I’m still waiting for someone to explain how balance due is not the balance due …



* Yes, I know. It’s bad habit born of working from home. As wonderful as computers, mobile devices, and cellphones may be – they are the work of the devil. It is far too easy to sit in front of/hold a device and do what needs doin’, all while life passes on by just outside the walls.

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