A true Story – You’ve gotta love this one
A man living in Kandos (near Mudgee in NSW, Australia )
received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00.
He ignored it and threw it away.
In April he received another bill and threw that one away too.
The following month the gas company sent him a very nasty note stating
that they were going to cancel his gas line if he didn’t send them $0.00 by
He called them, talked to them, and they said it was a computer error and
they would take care of it.
The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried
out the troublesome gas line figuring that if there was usage on the
account it would put an end to this ridiculous predicament.
However, when he went to use the gas, it had been cut off.
He called the gas company who apologised for the computer error once
again and said that they would take care of it. The next day he got a bill for
$0.00 stating that payment was now overdue.
Assuming that having spoken to them the previous day the latest bill was
yet another mistake, he ignored it, trusting that the company would be as
good as their word and sort the problem out.
The next month he got a bill for $0.00. This bill also stated that he
Had 10 days to pay his account or the company would have to take steps to
recover the debt.
Finally, giving in, he thought he would beat the gas company at their own
game and mailed them a cheque for $0.00. The computer duly processed his
account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the gas
company nothing at all.
A week later, the manager of the Mudgee branch of the Westpac Banking
Corporation called our hapless friend and asked him what he was doing
writing cheque for $0.00.
After a lengthy explanation the bank manager replied that the $0..00
cheque had caused their cheque processing software to fail. The bank could
therefore not process ANY cheques they had received from ANY of their
customers that day because the cheque for $0.00 had caused the
computer to crash.
The following month the man received a letter from the gas company
claiming that his cheque had bounced and that he now owed them $0.00
and unless he sent a cheque by return mail they would take immediate
steps to recover the debt.
At this point, the man decided to file a debt harassment claim against
the gas company. It took him nearly two hours to convince the clerks
at the local courthouse that he was not joking.
They subsequently helped him in the drafting of statements which were
considered substantive evidence of the aggravation and difficulties
he had been forced to endure during this debacle.
The matter was heard in the Magistrate’s Court in Mudgee and the outcome
The gas company was ordered to:
 Immediately rectify their computerised accounts system or Show cause,
within 10 days, why the matter should not be referred to a higher court
for consideration under Company Law.
 Pay the bank dishonour fees incurred by the man.
 Pay the bank dishonour fees incurred by all the Westpac clients whose
cheques had been bounced on the day our friend’s had been processed.
 Pay the claimant’s court costs; and
 Pay the claimant a total of $1500 per month for the 5 month period
March to July inclusive as compensation for the aggravation they had
caused their client to suffer.
And all this over $0.00.
Who employs these idiots?
This story can also be viewed on the ABC website.