Having Fun

# Tag: Money

The following is an account of what happened to a friend of mine. For whatever reason he decided to check the tax calculation on his cellular bill and found a mistake:

I have just noticed and believe that Bell Canada has been incorrectly charging the GST and PST on my Bell Mobility account.

My exact example is as follows:

Plan charge of \$20
Usage charge of \$22.80
Long Distance charge of \$3.00
Subtotal of \$45.80

The above was/is undisputed and agreed upon by both Bell and myself. However the discrepancy lies with the tax amounts charged.

They were charging \$2.31 for GST and \$3.76 for PST. I can’t tell you why I decided to double check the amounts but I do periodically with all my bills and when I did I discovered that those amounts were incorrect. 5% GST on \$45.80 should be \$2.29 and 8% PST should be \$3.66.

The difference was only \$0.12 but it was the principle of the matter. If Bell is doing this with all of its customers they are making quite a mint! I spent just over an hour on the phone with Bell, and at times it got quite heated. In the end I got my \$0.12 back but couldn’t get it through their heads that their system was improperly calculating the amounts. And for the life of me they refused to follow the simple calculations on a calculator. Now I will be going back through my previous bills to see just how much they have over charged me.

After talking to a couple of my own friends and asking them to double check their bills, they too have small discrepancies. I know its only a few cents, but on a large scale, Bell is potentially taking in millions of dollars that they should not be.

I am curious to know if anyone else has had the same complaint or if I am missing something?

Let’s do the math together, shall we?

Actual math: \$45.80 x 5% (GST) = \$2.29

Bell’s math has to be either \$45.80 x 5.05% (GST) = \$2.31  OR \$46.25 x 5% (GST) = \$2.31

For the PST:

Actual math: \$45.80 x 8% = \$3.66

Bell’s math:  \$45.80 x 8.22%= \$3.76  OR \$47.00 x 8% (PST) = \$3.76

Now a simple calculation on say 3 million customers being overcharged \$0.12 per month = \$360,000 per month = \$4.32 million a year from miscalculating the tax.  Nice work if you can get it.

Bell’s math is just wrong.  Or am I?  Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Warren Buffet always has advice on finances.  Considering his personal net worth, I think it’s probably a good idea to heed it.

By WARREN E. BUFFETT

THE financial world is a mess, both in the United States and abroad. Its problems, moreover, have been leaking into the general economy, and the leaks are now turning into a gusher. In the near term, unemployment will rise, business activity will falter and headlines will continue to be scary. So … I’ve been buying American stocks. This is my personal account I’m talking about, in which I previously owned nothing but United States government bonds. (This description leaves aside my Berkshire Hathaway holdings, which are all committed to philanthropy.) If prices keep looking attractive, my non-Berkshire net worth will soon be 100 percent in United States equities. Why? A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful. And most certainly, fear is now widespread, gripping even seasoned investors. To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions. But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation’s many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now. Let me be clear on one point: I can’t predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven’t the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month — or a year — from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.
A little history here: During the Depression, the Dow hit its low, 41, on July 8, 1932. Economic conditions, though, kept deteriorating until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in March 1933. By that time, the market had already advanced 30 percent. Or think back to the early days of World War II, when things were going badly for the United States in Europe and the Pacific. The market hit bottom in April 1942, well before Allied fortunes turned. Again, in the early 1980s, the time to buy stocks was when inflation raged and the economy was in the tank. In short, bad news is an investor’s best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America’s future at a marked-down price. Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497. You might think it would have been impossible for an investor to lose money during a century marked by such an extraordinary gain. But some investors did. The hapless ones bought stocks only when they felt comfort in doing so and then proceeded to sell when the headlines made them queasy.
Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value. Indeed, the policies that government will follow in its efforts to alleviate the current crisis will probably prove inflationary and therefore accelerate declines in the real value of cash accounts. Equities will almost certainly outperform cash over the next decade, probably by a substantial degree. Those investors who cling now to cash are betting they can efficiently time their move away from it later. In waiting for the comfort of good news, they are ignoring Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
I don’t like to opine on the stock market, and again I emphasize that I have no idea what the market will do in the short term. Nevertheless, I’ll follow the lead of a restaurant that opened in an empty bank building and then advertised: “Put your mouth where your money was.” Today my money and my mouth both say equities.

What’s the difference between a broker and a medium pizza?
The medium pizza can still feed a family of four!

A man walks into a bank and tells the manager that he wants to buy a small business.
The manager says “That’s easy.   Just buy a big business and wait.”