It has been mentioned on this site before that receipts are important in the Philippines. I can remember, when living in the States, we would often just throw away our receipts for stuff. After all, it was very rare that you would ever need the receipt for anything. Now, I am not talking about major purchases. I mean, if you spend thousands of dollars on something, of course you keep the receipt, at least for a specified period.
Several years ago, though, and event happened in our life here that proved just how important receipts are here in the Philippines. You see, when you rent a house in the Philippines, in most cases (not all though), the landlord will not allow you to change services like telephone, electricity, water, power and such into your name. These accounts remain in the name of the landlord, but you pay it. Personally, I don’t understand this. If I was a landlord, I would want the renter’s name to be on the bills for these services. That way, if the renter is delinquent in paying the bill, it goes against the renter, not the landlord. But, that is not how it works in the Philippines.
Well, about 7 years ago, Feyma and I moved into a house in Davao. As to be expected, these services were to remain in the name of the house owner, but it was our responsibility to pay. Well, I needed to get a DSL connection from the telephone company. Having all of my businesses on the Internet, I need a decent Internet Connection. We went to the telephone company to apply for a DSL connection, and we were told that since the telephone account was not in our name, we could not get a DSL account. We had to go to our landlord and have them request the additional service of DSL. We talked to our landlord and she was fine with that. She simply gave us a letter stating that the phone company should go ahead and set up a DSL account for us, in her name. The telephone company accepted this arrangement, and got us hooked up for DSL.
Everything went fine, we paid our bill every month, and there were no arrears on the account. After living in the house for more than 2 years, we moved out. When we were ready to move, we went to the Phone Company office, returned our DSL modem, and took care of everything to close down the DSL account. The people at the phone company, though, told us that technically, the landlord would have to come and have it disconnected, since the acount was in their name. So, we notified the landlord that she needed to go to the Phone Company to take care of this. She agreed, and we moved out as planned.
A couple of years later, we were moving again. When we got set up in our new house, we went to apply for a DSL account at our new house. When we talked to the agent at the Phone Company, we got a surprise. Our old landlord had never gone and shut down the DSL account! This was more than 2 years later, and between service fees, late fees and such, about P60,000 was owed to the phone company! They refused to hook up our new DSL account since this money was due. It was not due in our name, though, it was due in the name of the old landlord. We had paid all of what was due when we lived there. The fact that the landlord did not go and have the DSL disconnected was certainly not our fault.
Funny thing was, though, that the Phone Company then sent a bill collector after us, and also threatened to sue us! All this, and our name was not even on the account.
The Phone Company said that the only way they would let us off the hook was if we could produce a receipt showing that we had paid all amounts due at the time we moved. We had receipts, but it was a matter of trying to find the proper receipt! After several days of searching, going through papers and such, the receipt was found. We presented the receipt to the Phone Company and they hooked up our DSL for us.
Next step, the phone company filed a lawsuit against the former landlord demanding payment for the amount past due. The landlord came to us for the money. We reminded them that they did not fulfill their obligation of just stopping at the phone company for final cut off of the account. We also told them that the phone company had already cleared us of responsibility, and showed our receipt.
I don’t know what ever happened with the situation for the landlord. What I do know is that if they did not pay the past due amount, they will never be able to get telephone service in the house again, so I can only assume that they must have finally paid the amount due.
I sure am glad that we had the receipt, though!
As an aside, on the same topic, basically you must keep every receipt that you get here. For example, if you get stopped by a traffic cop, they will ask to see your driver’s license – and also the receipt for your license! That’s right, the receipt that you get when you pay for your license is required if a policeman asks for it! If you don’t have the receipt and the license, you are in trouble. Just another example that you really need to keep every receipt that you get here. It’s not Kansas, after all!