Why ask questions to a professional?

Sometimes in business, you pay a professional to do a job – and we forget to ask questions.

You receive an answer, or a product, or a statement or a letter – and you just go with it.  After all it came from a professional right?  WRONG.
As a paying customer I believe I have every right to ask my suppliers questions – about their invoices, about the products, about their advice, about the service – about anything to do with what I have paid for.

I want to give you an example – something I was faced with this week:

Several years ago (we are talking pre-children days) I opted in at a workplace to participate in some employee shares.  It was not many, but I thought why not.  I paid for the shares up front, I have been receiving dividends ever since and have had them sitting there in the background waiting for me to decide what to do with them.  This week I received  a letter from that employer saying the shares had been sold to fund a loan that was existing on the shares.  And if I could sign the attached letter and they will pay me the balance from the proceeds less that so called original loan.

Now some people would have seen that they were due some cash, signed the form, agreed with the letter and happy days.  But what if the letter was wrong?  What if I never had a loan over those shares?  What if that employer had no right to sell them?

That was the dilemma I was faced with.  Being the anal retentive document keeping person that I am – I dug through 5 years worth of employment contracts, bank statements, share documents and found all my source documents.  I emailed the employer and kindly advised them to check their records as I didn’t believe any such loan existed, and if they thought it existed to provide proof of me signing up to a loan.  I was not rude, I was not forceful – I was simply advising that I thought they were wrong. I was simply asking questions about their letter.  As a shareholder I think I had every right to question this letter.

Funnily enough within 24 hours of my email, I have since had two emails from the employer (who has made no contact is over 4 years) and advised that the sale of shares was done “in error” and that it will be “rectified”.

Why did I not just take the money they said was owing to me?  It was the principle of the matter.  Those shares were fully paid by me, they were my shares.  I should be able to choose if and when I want to sell them.  Plus there was an amount of money they had taken from the proceeds which was never owing in the first place.

Just because you pay a professional does not mean they are always 100% right.  Yes, you hope they are, and look, in most cases they will be.  But we are all human.  Innocent mistakes happen.
So if somethings doesn’t sit right with you, if something doesn’t make sense – don’t be afraid to ask.  If that professional can’t explain the situation, then that is not good enough.

Don’t stop asking questions.  Never stop asking questions.

That is how we all grow and learn

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