Man cited for paying bill with 2,500 pennies
Settling a disputed bill with pennies or other small change is occasionally used as a form of protest. But is it smart or effective?
What's one way to get your jollies while paying a disputed bill? Satisfy the debt with pennies -- lots of them.
Or maybe not. A Vernal, Utah, man faces a charge of disorderly conduct for paying a $25 medical bill with 2,500 pennies, according to police. "After asking if they accepted cash, (Jason) West dumped 2,500 pennies onto the counter and demanded that they count it," Vernal assistant police chief Keith Campbell told the Deseret News. "The pennies were strewn about the counter and the floor."
West left after staffers at the health clinic threatened to call the police, who later wrote a citation for disorderly conduct, police said. The maximum fine is $140.
Others have employed similar tactics without legal consequence.
- The Long Island Press pointed out that a University of Colorado student paid a tuition bill with 14,000 $1 bills to protest the cost. Post continues after video about that payment.
- Then there's the case of Thierry Cahez, a San Diego County man who after several tries was successful in paying a $6,500 credit card bill with 650,000 pennies in March. "Cahez said he decided to pay his credit card bill with pennies because he was upset with his bank over a refinance he couldn't get, and charges and fees on his card," an ABC station reported.
- Last year, a University of Kansas student got the school's parking office to overturn its policy not to accept coins for payment of parking fines, after taking 1,000 pennies to pay a $10 fine.
- In August, a Cle Elum, Wash., a businessman and City Council member tried unsuccessfully to pay a past-due personal property tax bill of $330 with pennies. Ron Spears said he was protesting the fact that the original $34 tax bill he hadn't paid had ballooned with penalties and interest.
It appears the citation in the Utah case was due to the mess that was made -- not the payment of the bill with very small change. However, merchants and others can decide NOT to accept pennies as payment, Snopes.com wrote while addressing this false claim: "U.S. law specifies that merchants do not have to accept more than 100 pennies as payment."
Pennies are legal tender, yes. But no law requires merchants to accept them. "Businesses are free to accept or reject pennies as they see fit," Snopes wrote.
Do you think paying with pennies or other small coins is an effective means of protest? Or are you just creating lots of additional work for bureaucrats and clerks who have to process the payment? (Suggestion: If you're compelled to do this, at least count and roll the coins first.)
We're siding with Adrian Chen at Gawker, who wrote about the tax bill incident: "In the end, Spears gave up the civil disobedience shtick and agreed to pay his property tax the normal big-boy way: With bills."
More on MSN Money:
You guys might this is funny, but it is symptomatic of a bigger issue.
It starts with pennies, then dimes, then quarters, then dollars, then paper money altogether. One has to look no further than the TED conferences and statements from the IMF to know, KNOW, that regional paper money is being phased out. The goal is one global currency, most likely on a credit system.
Issued by the govt.
Based on your habits.
Brush your teeth this morning? Good Citizen, have 1 credit!
Showed up for that Federal Reserve protest did ya? Bad citizen, removal of 100 credits!
This is the truth people. Not believing in it won't save you from it.
I applaud this man's ingenius way of protesting whatever his beef might be, but on the other side of the coin (no pun intended), I know what it's like with my job to have to count more than $100 in change at a time and it is no joke and very time consuming. I cannot not complain because, as many have said already, it is legal tender and the people paying us are paying their debts the only way they can sometimes which is, literally, nickel and dimes at a time.
Several years ago Sears demanded I pay a credit card off before it was due (no, I was not late in payments). I paid the $125 in pennies. They tried to reject them, but I reminded them pennies are legal tender.
Seems if businesses can reject payment with legal tender (such as pennies, nickels, dimes, etc.), then upon their refusal to accept payment the debt should absolved.
We don't know the circumstances behind this guy's beef with the medical facility- but chances are he was not being heard. Corporations only care about greed- screw everyone else!
its legal tender,id think they would have to take it...
Legal tender = paying debts. Personally, I'd argue that making a purchase is incurring then repaying a debt, and thus all US currency would have to be used, but thats a bit of a stretch...
As long as the fine is for the mess, then it looks OK. Still, not shocked it was Utah that did this though...
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Financial Information.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
A new federal safety report shows toddlers and minority children make up a disproportionate number of drowning victims.