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lioneye68
Knowflake

Posts: 6062
From: Canada
Registered: Apr 2003

posted July 28, 2003 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lioneye68     Edit/Delete Message
On Thursday, 24 January 2002, Derek Guille broadcast this story on his afternoon program on ABC radio. In March, 1999, a man living in Kandos (near Mudgee in NSW) received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away.

In April he received another bill and threw that one away too.

The following month the gas company sent him a very nasty note stating they were going to cancel his gas line if he didn't send them $0.00 by return mail. He called them, talked to them, and they said it was a computer error and they would take care of it.

The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out the troublesome gas line, figuring that if there was usage on
the account it would put an end to this ridiculous predicament. However,when he went
to use the gas, it had been cut off.

He called the gas company who apologised for the computer error once again and said that they would take care of it.

The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue. Assuming that having just spoken to them the previous day, the latest bill was yet another mistake, so he ignored it, trusting that the company
would be as good as their word and sort the problem out.

The next month he got a bill for $0.00. This bill also stated that he had 10 days to pay his account or the company would have to take
steps to recover the debt.

Finally, giving in, he thought he would beat the company at their own game and mailed them a cheque for $0.00. The computer duly processed his account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the gas company nothing at all

A week later, the manager of the Mudgee branch of the Westpac Banking Corporation called our hapless friend and asked him what he was doing writing cheque for $0.00.

After a lengthy explanation the bank manager replied that the $0.00 cheque had caused their cheque processing software to fail. The
bank could therefore not process ANY cheques they had received from ANY of their customers that day because the cheque for $0.00 had caused the computer to crash.

The following month the man received a letter from the gas company claiming that his cheque has bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and unless he sent a cheque by return mail they would take immediate steps to recover the debt. At this point, the man decided to file a debt harassment claim against the gas company.

It took him nearly 2 hours to convince the clerks at the local courthouse that he was not joking. They subsequently assisted him in the drafting of statements, which were considered substantive evidence of the
aggravation and difficulties he had been forced to endure during this debacle.

The matter was heard in the Magistrate's Court in Mudgee and the outcome was this:

The gas company was ordered to:

1] Immediately rectify their computerised accounts system or show cause, within 10 days, why the matter should not be referred to a higher court for consideration under Company Law.

[2] Pay the bank dishonour fees incurred by the man.

[3] Pay the bank dishonour fees incurred by all the Westpac clients whose cheques had been bounced on the day our friend's had been.

[4] Pay the claimant's court costs; and

[5] Pay the claimant a total of $1500 per month for the 5 month period March to July inclusive as compensation for the aggravation they had caused their client to suffer. And all this over $0.00.

(This story can also be viewed on the ABC website.)

Ah, the automated modern world...WHAT A GODSEND!!

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Randall
Webmaster

Posts: 25287
From: Columbus, GA USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted July 28, 2003 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message

------------------
"Never mentally imagine for another that which you would not want to experience for yourself, since the mental image you send out inevitably comes back to you." Rebecca Clark

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X3me
Knowflake

Posts: 238
From:
Registered: Nov 2002

posted July 29, 2003 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for X3me     Edit/Delete Message
Here we see a case of literally getting something out of nothing.

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super_bull
Knowflake

Posts: 256
From: nowhereland
Registered: Jun 2003

posted July 29, 2003 05:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for super_bull     Edit/Delete Message

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NikiSpeedy
Knowflake

Posts: 345
From: NC
Registered: Jul 2003

posted July 29, 2003 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NikiSpeedy     Edit/Delete Message
Sounds similar to something thathappened to me. -- I received a car insurance bill for that amount not that long ago. Then i received a credit memo saying they would refund my 0.00 -- In another few days i received an actual check for $169 and some pennies.


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lioneye68
Knowflake

Posts: 6062
From: Canada
Registered: Apr 2003

posted July 29, 2003 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lioneye68     Edit/Delete Message
Cool, Niki!

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Lunargirl
Knowflake

Posts: 1513
From:
Registered: Mar 2003

posted July 30, 2003 02:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunargirl     Edit/Delete Message
Most excellent, lioneye!

After government, there's nobody like a public utility to mess up the simplest operation.

Those people deserve a Red Duct Tape Award.

cheers,
Lunargirl

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