I've been busy this week putting on my armor for the annual fight with Denton County Appraisal District over our appraised value. The most optimistic report I can find online for residential values in North Texas for last year shows a decline in value of 5%. So why in the world has the appraised value on my home gone up by 14.8% since 2009 - one of the worst years on record since the Great Depression?
Denton County seems to do this every year. Last year I think the increase was 10.7% before my hearing with the appraisal board. Apparently the evidence I presented brought them back down to reality and we didn't have much of an increase. But the 2010 market was much worse than 2009! The number of foreclosures grew exponentially in 2010, and that has dramatically affected values in all areas. But affected down, not up!
Annoying as it is, one strategy employed by way too many people today is to ask for the increase, or ask for the double payment in hopes that you either don't notice the duplicate, or are too busy to do anything about it! Coupled with the veiled threat of turning your bill over to the collection agency if you don't pay, many customers throw their hands up and write the check. This is patently unfair, completely unethical, and smacks of lack of integrity! But when you are trying to justify a budget, or increase your bottom line, who cares? Well.... me for one!
Far too many businesses today count on not being made accountable! Why do we need to hold them accountable for their actions? Think of it for a minute: if you are selling magazines by subscription and you keep "duping" people for their subscription renewal - and they keep paying multiple times, you've made that much more revenue! Or, if you are a medical provider who solicits payment from both the insurance company (who is going to dictate to the Doctor how much he can make anyway!), and the patient, why not double bill the patient in hopes of getting them to pay multiple times? Worst case is that the medical provider gets the use of the money while the patient is busy trying to figure out how they were just duped! So if you are the appraisal district why not put your constituent in a position in which they are "guilty until proven innocent" by jacking up their appraised value and making them disprove it?
After all, do I really want to take four or five hours out of my day to drive to Denton, wait for the hearing, plead my case (with all of the stress that they build into the process), and find my way home for just a measly old 14.8% increase? Damn right I do!