Thursday, March 03, 2011

Short Story March: Day Three

The Sewer Lien: An Epistolary Tale

**

The Municipal Wastewater Board
23 Water Street
1/16/2006

Dear Occupant,

Your account shows an unpaid balance for calender years 2001-2005. As of this time, we are owed $475 for services rendered. If this matter remains unsettled past January 31st of this year, a lien will be placed on your property for the unpaid amount plus late penalties.

If you feel our records are in error, please contact us immediately at the number on your quarterly bill. You can also reach us on the web at www.municipalwaterboardspringfield.org. Have your seven digit account number ready when contacting our offices.

Thank You,

Alan Durst
Vice Executive Director
Municipal Wastewater Board

**

Occupant
427 Paper Street
1/20/2006

Dear Mr. Durst,

I am writing in response to your letter of 1/16/2006. I have made repeated attempts to contact your offices to clear up this matter, but nobody has returned my numerous phone calls. Your website shows it has not been updated since November 21st of 1999, as evidenced by the animated construction worker .gif. I can only assume this will find you, as you have had no trouble receiving and processing the checks I have sent you on a quarterly basis since the second quarter of 1994, when I purchased this home.

Attached, you will find photocopies of several bank statements and cancelled checks. I have taken the liberty of highlighting the pertinent information on these documents, including highlighting the lines on the bank statements which correspond to the attached cancelled checks, on which I have also highlighted the payee information (The Municipal Wastewater Board of Springfield), the dates, the amounts, and the account number printed on the memo line. Also attached you can see the back sides of the cancelled checks, which show they have been stamped by the Municipal Wastewater Board of Springfield.

I hope this clears this matter up. As for your obvious breakdown in communication between the office of accounts receivable and billing, I leave that to your organization to rectify.

Thank you,

Frederick Burton
Occupant

**

The Municipal Wastewater Board
23 Water Street

1/29/2006

Dear Mr. Burton,

Thank you for your letter of 1/20/2006. Please be assured we take all concerns seriously and are looking into your matter with the utmost care.

If you have any questions, please refer to the telephone number on your quarterly bill. You can also reach us at our new website, www.springfieldwastewater.org. Have your seven digit account number ready when contacting our offices.

Thank you,

Alison Franklin
Customer Service
The Municipal Wastewater Board

**

The Municipal Wastewater Board
23 Water Street
2/1/2006

Dear Mr. Burton or Current Occupant,

On January 16th of this month, we sent you a letter regarding payment due to your account. As of today we have not received contact from you. We are left with no recourse but to place a lien on your property in the amount of $475 plus a 5% annual interest rate until the balance is paid in full.

If you feel our records are in error, please contact us immediately at the number on your quarterly bill. You can also reach us on the web at www.municipalwaterboardspringfield.org. Have your seven digit account number ready when contacting our offices.

Thank You,

Alan Durst
Vice Executive Director
Municipal Wastewater Board

**

Enraged
427 Paper Street
2/2/2006

Dear Mr. Durst,

Attached you will find more photocopies of the cancelled checks and bank statements I have already sent to you. Also, you will find a letter from Alison Franklin of the Municipal Wastewater Board's customer service department explaining that the matter was being looked into.

Incidentally, you may want to update the standard form letter you've have saved on your computer's desktop for the past few years; as you can see in Alison's letter, your web address has changed since last you proofread. The new website is better than the old; instead of an animated picture telling me the site is coming soon, the new site has a flash slideshow of city parks and waterways with men wearing hardhats and kids playing. While it is an improvement, it still lacks any kind of tools for your customers to manage their accounts. My guess is that since you are the only game in town, you've gotten lazy. That's not good business.

If you feel my records are in error, you can contact my bank and explain to them how somebody else is impersonating you and cashing checks for sewer service bills. I'll bet they'd be interested in knowing about it.

Thanks you,

Frederick Burton
Enraged Occupant

**

The Municipal Wastewater Board
23 Water Street
2/7/2006

Dear Mr. Burton,

Our records indicate that we have not received the payments you insist have been paid to us. The fact that you have cancelled checks and bank statements claiming otherwise does not match the records in our accounting, billing, or service departments. Our customer service department has these records, but inquiries indicate that they received them via mail from you. As these are not originals, we can not accept them as proof.

We have contacted our lawyers and will begin the lien process forthwith.

If you feel our records are in error, please contact us immediately at the number on your quarterly bill. You can also reach us on the web at www.municipalwaterboardspringfield.org. Have your seven digit account number ready when contacting our offices.

Thank You,

Alan Durst
Vice Executive Director
Municipal Wastewater Board

**

The Law Offices of Shank, Thurman, Thurman & Shank, LLC
922 High Street Suite 1322
2/7/2006

Dear Mr. Burton,

This letter is to inform you of a lien being placed on your property in the amount of $475. This lien covers unpaid sewer service balances from 2002 until the most recent billing period.

A copy of the lien is on file at the County Recorder of Deeds Office at 100 High Street, Suite 210. A release will be filed once the full payment is received by the Accounts Receivable department of the Municipal Wastewater Board at 23 Water Street.

Your prompt attention to this matter is appreciated.

Yours Truly,
Richard Shank Thurman
Junior Partner, The Law Offices of Shank, Thurman, Thurman & Shank, LLC

**

427 Paper Street
2/9/2006

Dear Mr. Durst,

Your continued lack of comprehension on this matter confuses me. Attached this time, I have included notarized copies of my bank statements and cancelled checks. If you check your records, I am sure you will see that the same date my bank statements say the money was debited from my account, your account will likely reflect a credit of the exact same amount. Put two and two together and please manage to arrive at an answer that is more than zero.

Frederick Burton
Befuddled Occupant

**

427 Paper Street
2/9/2006

Richard Shank Thurman, Junior Partner;

I do not hold any ill will against you, as you are just a pawn in this game. I am sending you copies of all of my correspondence with the Municipal Wastewater Board as well as copies of my cancelled checks and bank statements. Maybe you can talk some sense into that idiot Alan Durst. I will thank you to release the lien immediately.

Yours,
Frederick Burton

**

The Law Offices of Shank, Thurman, Thurman & Shank, LLC
922 High Street Suite 1322
2/14/2006

Dear Mr. Burton,

Our apologies. In reviewing your records and consulting with the various departments of the Municipal Wastewater Board, we have concluded that your account is in good standing. It appears a clerical error occurred in a recent system upgrade, causing information for your account and several others to be reset. This error has been corrected. The release of lien has been filed and this should be the last you need worry about this matter.

Sincerely,

Richard Shank Thurman
Junior Partner, The Law Offices of Shank, Thurman, Thurman & Shank

**

The Municipal Wastewater Board
23 Water Street
3/22/2006

Dear Mr. Burton,

Our collections department has made repeated attempts to collect payment in the amount of $475 for services from 2001-2005. This will be your last warning before serious legal action will be taken.

If you feel our records are in error, please contact us immediately at the number on your quarterly bill. You can also reach us on the web at www.municipalwaterboardspringfield.org. Have your seven digit account number ready when contacting our offices.

Thank You,

Steven Voss
Vice Executive Director
Municipal Wastewater Board

**

427 Paper Street Wastewater Production, LP
427 Paper Street
3/24/2006

Dear Mr. Voss,

It has come to my attention that you have been receiving wastewater from this residence for many years without paying for your usage.

I understand you have sewage treatment plants that would otherwise sit idle without a steady stream of wastewater from producers such as myself. Yet you wantonly consume this wastewater without consideration for the work that has gone in to providing it to you.

Checking our records, it appears you have not paid for the use of this wastewater since the residence at 427 Paper Street was constructed in May of 1954. The total due with penalties and interest comes to $475.

As you have recently claimed that I owe you the same amount for services rendered from 2001-2005, I propose that we call our feud even. Though you should reflect that your rates are much higher than mine, and you may consider lowering your fees in the future.

Thank You,

Frederick Burton
Chief Wastewater Producer, 427 Paper Street Wastewater Production, LP

**

The Municipal Wastewater Board - Billing Department
23 Water Street Box 2
4/1/2006

Dear Mr. Burton,

Thank you for your prompt payment of your Quarter One billing statement.

You can now manage your account online at www.municipalwater.springfield.com/accounts

Sincerely,

Amber Stevens
Billing Agent, Municipal Wastewater Board

**

4 comments:

notawritersfather said...

Roberta Singlton, Registrar
Ure College
Clayton, Idaho

Mr. Burton,
our records show that you still have not paid your $250 security deposit for your dormitory space. This has been due since August 1987, your freshman year. Please remit as soon as possible or we will be forced to rescind the rights and priiviledges granted to you by this institution on the occasion of your metriculation in May, 1992.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Roberta Singleton, Registrar

Kathy said...

As I said I would.

Um. You addressed the letters wrong. They generally have the address of the person you are wanting to contact, not the person writing the letter :) Love ya anyway and this was incredibly interesting.

mGk said...

Tee hee! So very amusing!

Molly said...

hahaha.... I've been down that treadmill before!