No, not mud, as in the mixture of soil and water. No, I am talking about a MUD, as in Municipal Utility District, or the infamous providers of sewer and water services to most of Suburban Texas.
My MUD has a bad habit. Actually, it’s the company they hired to collect water and sewer fees that has a bad habit. They regularly misplace payments, and fail to process said payments, until after the due date has passed. Each time they do this, they then threaten disconnection, with huge associated fees for reconnection. Those reconnect fees, and the “delinquent payment” which brought them about, must be paid, not by check, but by some means such as money order, etc.
Note I started by saying that they “misplace payments, and fail to process said payments, until after the due date”. I’m not talking about payments that were legitimately paid late. This has now happened to me for what must be the fourth or fifth time since I moved in here after Hurricane Rita, and the attendant forced evacuation. I spent 17 hours in traffic from Pearland TX to Austin TX. But I digress. That’s a story for another day.
Always before, like a good little subservient, I paid the fees, even though I knew I had also paid my bill on time. I needed my water more than I needed the money, or my pride. Well not this time. This time, I live alone. No one but me is affected by my decision to “fight City Hall”, so to speak. I called them on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and told them I would not pay late fees brought about by their incompetence. I told them I wanted the fees expunged from my account, or the next time they heard from me would be by way of my attorney.
Clearly, they thought I was bluffing. This past Tuesday afternoon, they called and left me voice mail telling me to feel free to have my attorney contact their Board of Directors, who meet on the fourth Thursday of every month. Obviously, they hear idle threats about attorneys regularly enough to have become inured to those threats.
What they didn’t get, though, was that mine was no idle threat. I have a law firm that represents me. They are a powerful, expensive law firm with lots of resources to spend representing me. No, I am not wealthy. I just plan well, and I know that: “You only have those rights you are willing to defend.” Google that sentence, and you will see that it is popular in the gun rights world. I’m no gun enthusiast, but I agree with the gun enthusiasts. “You only have those rights you are willing to defend.” (I do intend to get my CHL one day, though. It’s just a matter of time and money.)
Now, most of you are, in theory, willing to defend your rights, if you only knew how, and could afford to do so. But the middle class in America is priced out of the benefits of the legal system. People who live in my subdivision are by definition middle-class. Bullies like my MUD know that, and they take advantage of it. They don’t need to process payments on a timely basis. In truth, it’s not even to their advantage to do so. Am I accusing them of malfeasance? No, I accuse them simply of incompetence, that as it happens, enriches the district. So of course, there is no motivation to eliminate that incompetence.
The rest of my story? I called my attorney’s office at 9:18 AM local time, and left a message requesting a call back about this issue. At 9:25 AM, I received a call from an associate of the firm. By 9:30 AM, he had agreed to write a letter on my behalf to the MUD board. Idle threat? No, not so much. They picked the wrong person to F*** with this time. If you would like to be able to do the same as I did, look over to your right for my Pre-Paid Legal link. Click it, and start defending your rights today.
“You only have those rights you are willing to defend.”