What I've had trouble accepting is the pending charge on my account that I was notified of last month. The balance is $18.11 for a water and sewer charge incurred between Dec. 2, 2007 and Jan. 7, 2008. I was surprised that I'd even been assessed this charge since it covered the 35 days that I didn't and couldn't use the sink or toilet from 887 miles away. Never minding the fact that water charges at The Landings are evenly split amongst each tenant, I called the office to express my objection about the bill. However, after leaving a message, no one returned my call as requested.
The past few weeks went by without incident, and with each passing day I felt more and more that they’d understood my position and cut me a break. So much so that last week, I filed the notice away; a sweet little victory of mine. Here I was, a consumer finally standing up for my rights. Score one for the home team.
Then the other day I received a final notice in the mail about my remaining balance of $18.11, including The Landings' right to take action with a collection agency should I not pay by March 7th.
I understand that by law, The Landings is entitled to this money and technically justified for collecting it because those charges were incurred on my account before I officially moved out. But let's go beyond a black-and-white frame of mind for a minute, and let's look at this situation on principle, because this is not about me being a cheapskate (which I am), or looking for a loophole (which I'm not).
After five-and-a-half years of giving The Landings my business and being a good neighbor, after all 67 months of never being late on a rent payment, and after being physically present for 5% of the time period in which I was charged, THIS IS HOW THEY SAY THANKS? Yes, it's only $18 bucks...but isn't that the point?? Over the years I spent thousands of dollars on rent, and they can’t waive an $18 fee that I was barely there to incur?
All that being said, I’m not exactly sure how to proceed. Here are my options:
a. Pay the bill
b. Don’t pay the bill, or
c. Pay only what I really owe
The good thing is that I can't really go wrong with any of these. But since I have to pick, I think I’ll go with Option C. That would strike a good middle ground between paying and not paying, and it would be the most just outcome of the three. I pay what I rightfully owe and The Landings gets something out of it in return. Everybody wins.
All I need to do is write a check for $0.98 and put it in the mail. Good. I'm glad that's settled.