On Thursday, 24th January 2002 , Derek Guille broadcast this story on
> his afternoon program on ABC radio.
> In March 1999 a man living in Kandos(near Mudgee in NSW, Australia )
> received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed
> 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 return mail.
> 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 was this:
> The gas company was ordered to:
>  Immediately rectify their computerized 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
>  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.
> This story can also be viewed on the ABC website.
> Who employs these idiots??