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  #1  
Old 07 March 2007, 05:19 PM
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Shout Paying in pennies

A man who's fed up with higher electric rates has come up with a way to show his displeasure while paying his bill.

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/art...nies07-ON.html
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  #2  
Old 07 March 2007, 05:25 PM
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Hancock says he's worked things out with a local bank to get the coins and with the post office to mail the money. It will cost about $50 extra for postage, but Hancock says that if he can cause Ameren a little inconvenience, it's worth it to him.
This is where my skepticism creeps in...exactly what does one have to do to "work things out" with the bank and post office to get and send the money? This makes it sound like he had to speak with the bank manager to make special arrangements, and get some special permission to mail it. Why can't anyone just get the change from a teller? And at the post office, they weigh the package and charge you appropriately. If it exceeds the weight limit, I doubt you would be able to "work things out" with the post office to mail it, unless you happen to work for the Department of Homeland Security.
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  #3  
Old 07 March 2007, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Buckleupp View Post
This is where my skepticism creeps in...exactly what does one have to do to "work things out" with the bank and post office to get and send the money? This makes it sound like he had to speak with the bank manager to make special arrangements, and get some special permission to mail it. Why can't anyone just get the change from a teller?
I'm guessing it's because banks probably don't have fifty-two thousand pennies on hand at any one time.
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  #4  
Old 07 March 2007, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Buckleupp View Post
This is where my skepticism creeps in...exactly what does one have to do to "work things out" with the bank and post office to get and send the money?
Possibly he wanted to be sure he could obtain the coins from the bank in an easily shippable form, and he wanted to verify in advance exactly how much postage it would cost him to mail 50,000+ pennies.

- snopes
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  #5  
Old 09 March 2007, 11:52 PM
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Possibly he wanted to be sure he could obtain the coins from the bank in an easily shippable form,
This made me laugh. For some reason, it made me think of some guy mailing his 52,000 pennies in one at a time. Now that would be a great way to get back at quite a few people at the power company. The guy who has to open all of the envelopes, for one.

However, my skepticism comes from a completely different perspective. Clearly written at the top of my power bill in bold print are the words, "Pay by check or money order only. Cash not accepted." (Cass County Electric Cooperative) Are pennies considered a form of cash?

Yep. If I was the manager on duty in the accounting department of the power company that day, I'd send the payment back and shut the doofus's electricity off.
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  #6  
Old 10 March 2007, 09:37 AM
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Isn't there a maximum number of coins permitted in a transaction after which the recipeint can refuse them. I know in most European countries it is only a small number like 50.
This guy is a d***head.
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  #7  
Old 10 March 2007, 09:37 PM
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Isn't there a maximum number of coins permitted in a transaction after which the recipeint can refuse them. I know in most European countries it is only a small number like 50.
This guy is a d***head.
The US does not have a maximum legal tender for coins. However, there is no law requiring that coins be taken as payment either. Anyone accepting any kind of payment can dictate to the one paying what kinds of payments are acceptable. If a business so chooses, it can even exclude any form of cash payment.

If I were the clerk receiving the package, I would refuse to log the coins as payment, send a letter to the man requesting that he pick up the unwanted package, and then attach a late fee to his account.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Class Bravo View Post
Doesn't the payment have to be a few months delinquent in order for the power to actually be shut off? I had a landlord who would always neglect to pay the power bill and they never actually shut off the power until it was 3 months late or some threshold like that.
It depends on the utility company's policy. However, all contracts I've entered into have had a 90 day shut-off policy for non-payment.
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  #8  
Old 27 August 2010, 10:07 PM
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Icon605 33,000-penny property tax payment refused

A businessman who tried to pay a property tax bill with 33,000 pennies got turned down by a county treasurer in Washington state, who said she didn't have the staff to count them.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100827/D9HS1Q5G1.html
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  #9  
Old 28 August 2010, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Possibly he wanted to be sure he could obtain the coins from the bank in an easily shippable form, and he wanted to verify in advance exactly how much postage it would cost him to mail 50,000+ pennies.
I believe you can even schedule a pickup to have them come get the package of pennies directly from his house (or maybe even the bank), which would explain contacting the USPS to 'work things out'. That would certainly be easier than having to take that size and weight a package to the local post office.

http://www.usps.com/pickup/

- Il-Mari
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  #10  
Old 28 August 2010, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by snopes View Post
A man who's fed up with higher electric rates has come up with a way to show his displeasure while paying his bill.
The man should feel free to disconnect from the grid. He can get a used exercycle and an old 2hp motor and make his own electricity.

When he discovers that he'll have to pedal like crazy all day long just to keep his fridge running he might get a clue about what a wonderful and generally cheap thing electricity is.
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  #11  
Old 28 August 2010, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by bjohn13 View Post
However, my skepticism comes from a completely different perspective. Clearly written at the top of my power bill in bold print are the words, "Pay by check or money order only. Cash not accepted." (Cass County Electric Cooperative) Are pennies considered a form of cash?
Surely a power bill is a debt, for which legal tender must be accepted?
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  #12  
Old 28 August 2010, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by htonl View Post
Surely a power bill is a debt, for which legal tender must be accepted?
http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq...l-tender.shtml

Quote:
There is no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.
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  #13  
Old 28 August 2010, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htonl View Post
Surely a power bill is a debt, for which legal tender must be accepted?
Looks like it.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/genera...q/faqcur.htm#2

Quote:
According to the "Legal Tender Statute" (section 5103 of title 31 of the U.S. Code), "United States coins and currency (including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues." This means that all U.S. money, as identified above, when tendered to a creditor legally satisfies a debt to the extent of the amount (face value) tendered.

However, no federal law mandates that a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services not yet provided. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills.

Some movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations as a matter of policy may refuse to accept currency of a large denomination, such as notes above $20, and as long as notice is posted and a transaction giving rise to a debt has not already been completed, these organizations have not violated the legal tender law.
(Bolding mine)

ETA: Although perhaps it would be different if there was an agreement beforehand that cash isn't valid. If the first notice comes on the bill, though, the power company would have to take the cash.
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  #14  
Old 28 August 2010, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by snopes View Post
I was thinking about the sentence just before that one.
Quote:
This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor.
Surely a power bill is a debt that you owe to the power company, which is a creditor?

ETA: or what lord_feldon said.
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  #15  
Old 28 August 2010, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by TrekkerScout View Post
The US does not have a maximum legal tender for coins. However, there is no law requiring that coins be taken as payment either. Anyone accepting any kind of payment can dictate to the one paying what kinds of payments are acceptable. If a business so chooses, it can even exclude any form of cash payment.
Yeah in the UK, there's a maximum amount in each coin which constitutes legal tender. IIRC it's 20pence for coppers (1p, 2p). More CAN be accepted, but can also be refused. There was a case like this with a wheelbarrow and some council tax a while back...
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  #16  
Old 28 August 2010, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by lord_feldon View Post
Although perhaps it would be different if there was an agreement beforehand that cash isn't valid. If the first notice comes on the bill, though, the power company would have to take the cash.
Not so:

http://www.mtas.tennessee.edu/Knowle...1?OpenDocument
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  #17  
Old 28 August 2010, 05:17 PM
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Stephen Colbert made that guy his Alpha Dog of the Week when that story broke. He said that it takes a real alpha dog to protest a $20 rate hike with a $50 shipping charge.
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  #18  
Old 28 August 2010, 05:38 PM
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Out of interest, if cash is considered "a valid and legal offer of payment", although any company are withing their rights to decline it; and accepting that the debt still stands if they do, if push came to shove would a court treat a debtor more leniently if they had made that "offer of payment" as opposed to flat out refusing to pay?
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  #19  
Old 28 August 2010, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Out of interest, if cash is considered "a valid and legal offer of payment", although any company are withing their rights to decline it; and accepting that the debt still stands if they do, if push came to shove would a court treat a debtor more leniently if they had made that "offer of payment" as opposed to flat out refusing to pay?
I suspect the court would treat a debtor more strictly for having the ability to pay but choosing to be a smartass.

My opinion only, but courts of law are not renowned for having a sense of humor.

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  #20  
Old 28 August 2010, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
A court might rule in favor of practicality over the law when the payment is offered in pennies, but I don't think a utility company would be able to totally ban cash just by putting a note on their bill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
Out of interest, if cash is considered "a valid and legal offer of payment", although any company are withing their rights to decline it; and accepting that the debt still stands if they do, if push came to shove would a court treat a debtor more leniently if they had made that "offer of payment" as opposed to flat out refusing to pay?
How does a court treat a debtor more leniently? They either still owe the money or they don't.
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