Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unfairness to water bill customers

How fair is the City of Crystal Lake to its residents?

If a resident runs up a water bill and is late paying it, the City of Crystal Lake nails the customer for a 20% late-payment fee. The City bills customers monthly, so run some numbers and see if you feel that the City's billing practice is unconscionable, usurious and ought to be illegal.

How do they get away with it? The City Council passed it. That makes it right; right? Wrong!

Let's say you have a $220 water bill. You're short of money and can't pay the full amount; so you send in $20. That leaves $200. And the wonderful City of Crystal Lake then adds 20%.

How much is that? 20% x $200 = $40. So, when you go in a few days later (after pay day) and want to pay the balance of your bill, you find out that your bill is $240!!!

Since the City of Crystal Lake bills monthly, you could incur a 20% late-payment fee every month. Is this pretty close to 240% year? See what I mean about usurious? Unconscionable? Ought to be unlawful? And it probably would be, except that they call it a late payment "fee", not "interest".

The City of Woodstock is a little gentler on its residents, charging only a 10% late-payment fee. And it bills only every three months, so you at least have a fighting chance to work down your bill and not get killed on interest.

Thumbs down on Crystal Lake's policy.

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