No one really likes having to go to them, they want you to check in regularly and they expect you to floss. Okay, not the last part. The point is, landlords and housing managers often get a bad rap, but sometimes, it's for a good reason.
One man was frustrated with a ridiculously small billing error and his apartment management company was making incredibly difficult. Well, he and his wife both work in the tech industry, so they came up with a clever solution.
In 2019 I moved from an apartment complex in Celebration, Florida, to a condo. As usual, when you move out of an apartment, you get a final bill, which includes your last month's pro-rated rent, deductions for damages, security deposit refunds, and the like. We paid it.
The next month I get a call from my wife who says we've got a follow-up bill in the mail from the apartment management company, for $0.02. We're both in the tech field, so we laughed that this company's IT department didn't catch the edge case of spending $0.50 in postage to collect $0.02 in revenue. But it happens.
My wife prints out a copy of the bill. I grab two cents from the change jar. The apartment complex is on my daily drive, so I swing by the office. I walk in and tell the manager that I want to pay my last bill.
I say 'It's two cents. Here's the bill, and I have the two cents if you want it.' The manager says 'We don't take cash.' Nothing else. There was an awkward pause. I say 'I don't expect you to take cash. I expect us both to have a laugh about how silly computer systems are, and for you to write off the two cents, because it'd cost you more to process the payment.'
She says 'I'm not going to do that.' Again, awkward pause. I say 'So you want me to write you a check ... for two cents. And mail it? And you're going to process that check?' The manager says 'Yes, send us a check and we'll process it.' and then WALKS BACK INTO HER OFFICE to end the conversation.
So I go home and set up an automatic, monthly bank payment to my apartment complex. For three cents.
And then, because I'm a programmer, I write some code to send a letter once per month, saying 'I'm so sorry - I've overpaid my bill. Please send me a check for the overpayment.' And I use an online service that sends post cards in ridiculous sizes - up to around 18'x24', figuring that'll be my escalation strategy.
The first of the next month, I get a call from the apartment company's regional manager. After introducing himself, the next two minutes were the most sincere, 'Oh god, we made a mistake - please don't do this, we'll never contact you again' apology anyone could've hoped for.
I stopped the mail and never heard from them again. Did I spend several hours on MC for two cents? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
This is ridiculously petty and wasteful… I hope you’re proud of yourself...
I would be! I love it!!
A long time ago I bought something at Sears using my Discover Card (which Sears owned at the time). I wasn't happy with my purchase and returned it the next day but my bill had cycled (with a $0.00 balance) so of course I ignored it.
The next month I got another bill for $0.00 and had a nasty note about being late and paying right away. I assume that there was some sort of rounding error (ie the interest was less than 1 cent) so the bill rounded down to zero but was non-zero internally causing the nasty language.
I called them and they said nothing they can do because the bill is zero. Next month I get another bill for $0.00 and it had some threat about my account going into default and maybe closing the card unless I paid $0.00 immediately. So I wrote out a check for $0.00 and mailed it in with the stub. Maybe 10 days later I got an apology note and they returned my $0.00 check.
ATT sent me a $0.03 bill. I sent them a check for $0.07 and began hounding them for my refund.
Decades ago my husband went into collections over 11 cents. He had no idea how it happened. He just received a letter out of the blue and called the phone number. Obviously, at some point, he called the entire action ludicrous and was told, 'Sir. Eleven cents is a lot of money.'
That's genius. I had a similar experience. E-Z Pass sent me a letter saying they'd deducted $0.46 from my account. Postage was $ 0.48.