We received an invoice recently for a no-show fee for a missed appointment on Dec 4 2007, of $25. Enclosed is our check.

To this end, we are sorry to inform you that we will no longer be needing your services. Here’s why (and I’m sure you’ve heard all this before but no harm in telling it again).

While I understand that this no-show penalty policy serves as a warning for your tardier customers, as I’d informed your Patient Care Coordinator Liz Kather through a rather awkward phone call this morning (she simply kept quiet while I asked if there could be any flexibility to this bizarre policy), we had snow out in Duvall that day and I was not ready to risk a 30-minute drive up the hill that morning (the appointment was at 9am) without tire chains to make the climb up and back again. However, I was informed that inclement weather had no bearing on your policy.

This leads me to your at-least-24-hour cancellation requirement. Seeing that the snow had fallen overnight and I’d missed the ‘deadline’ to cancel, I just did not think to call as I had made the mistake of expecting companies such as yours to understand the nature of emergencies.

Perhaps you should make information of such penalties clearer to your customers (particularly foreigners like myself who may be unfamiliar with such practices) in the future. I was never given this information and had to look for it AFTER I was invoiced just to make sure. Might I suggest placing prominent notices at your front desk, make your administrators offer up the warning when setting appointments (and when making telephoned reminders). Also, you might want to place the info right on the appointment page of your website and not hide it in a PDF. Ignorance is never a good excuse but it is a reasonably commonplace mistake among visitors to your country, and when they become your customers, it would be helpful to at least do them the service of a brief education and not leap right to the conclusion that we are deliberately delinquent. Believe it or not, such policies are not the norm in other countries (where the doctors, hairdressers and other critical service-providers are still surviving).

Lastly, had your staff checked my records, this is our first ‘offence’ and we are not in the habit of missing appointments just to mess with you. You should attach at least a first-strike exception to this policy, because (and I’m sure the irony is not lost on you) for all of $25, you’ve now lost a customer and I, for one, will not be referring anyone else to your clinic (foreign and otherwise).

I hope you will consider my suggestions, and we wish you all the best.

Yours sincerely,
Jennifer Tan


(yes, I’d actually mailed my cheque – I spelt it the American way above just because – with this letter, and I also sent one to my paed who had referred me to them. My raving lunacy knows no bounds!).

(this seems to also be turning into a DOWN WITH HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS! week. I just don’t know anymore).