Scranton, PA, Outsources Garbage Bill Collection, Gets Flood of Complaints

Sometimes administrative errors cause real problems for real people. From Consumerist:

Typically, the notices of delinquent bills get mailed in late January to mid-February, but this year there was a transition to a new collection agency, which delayed the process.

That same transition mucked up the city’s ability to easily figure out which property owners still owed some or all of their $178 annual fee for the last 10 years. Instead, the collection company was authorized to use the city’s written records to put together a database of who still owed money.

It sounds like they send collection notices to a lot of people who already paid. Residents are pissed, but the city seems to think it’s no big deal. “If a property owner can produce proof of payment, such as a receipt or canceled check, [the city treasurer] will certify that the fee was paid.” I’m sure that will be great comfort to everyone who has kept 10 years of receipts and canceled checks.

Read “Scranton sends out delinquent garbage bills from 1999 through 2011” on the Scranton Times-Tribune.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/3251886214/)