Privatizing the District Attorney?

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

I have to admit that I do not shock too easily.  However, when I read an article this morning in the New York Times, I was taken back by the news.  It seems that private debt collection companies across the United States have partnered with District Attorneys offices, to use the threat of criminal charges being filed against consumers in attempts to collect on alleged bounced checks to merchants.  The fact that people were being threatened by collection companies did not surprise me.  It was the fact that the veiled threats to the consumers were sent on District Attorney or Prosecutor letterhead that amazed me! 

“They bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s office. But there is a catch: the letters are from debt-collection companies, which the prosecutors allow to use their letterhead. In return, the companies try to collect not only the unpaid check, but also high fees from debtors for a class on budgeting and financial responsibility, some of which goes back to the district attorneys’ offices.”  New York Times 

Maybe I am just naive, but does it make sense for the DA’s office to outsource the job of investigating and prosecuting alleged perpetrators of bounced checks to private companies who may or may not actually investigate the bounced check circumstances before “official” threats of criminal prosecution are sent out?  Prosecutors involved in these arrangements claim that the process saves taxpayer money and saves time in their office.

“Debt collectors have come under fire for illegally menacing people behind on their bills with threats of jail. What makes this approach unusual is that the ultimatum comes with the imprimatur of law enforcement itself — though it is made before any prosecutor has determined a crime has been committed.  Prosecutors say that the partnerships allow them to focus on more serious crimes, and that the letters are sent only to check writers who ignore merchants’ demands for payment. The district attorneys receive a payment from the firms or a small part of the fees collected.  “The companies are returning thousands of dollars to merchants that is not coming at taxpayer expense,” said Ken Ryken, deputy district attorney with Alameda County.”  New York Times

These private collection companies are requiring people to pay the money owed on the bounced check, along with an administrative fee and in many cases an expensive budgeting class.  All under the cover of the official letterhead of the partnering District Attorney or State’s Attorney’s office.  I can understand merchants looking for creative ways to recoup the losses they suffer from bounced checks, but attorneys representing consumers see the issue differently from the collection companies.

“Consumer lawyers have challenged the debt collectors in courts across the United States, claiming that they lack the authority to threaten prosecution or to ask for fees for classes when no district attorney has reviewed the facts of the cases. The district attorneys are essentially renting out their stationery, the lawyers say, allowing the companies to give the impression that failure to respond could lead to charges, when it rarely does.  “This is guilty until proven innocent,” said Paul Arons, a consumer lawyer in Friday Harbor, Wash., about two hours north of Seattle.” New York Times

Are these “partnerships” between debt collection companies and District Attorney offices another example of the privatization of government duties?  Do you think that prosecutor’s letterhead should be rented out to private companies to provide them with the appearance of governmental authority?  While this type of arrangement was news to me, it isn’t a new process.  It goes back to at least 2006 when Congress passed a law allowing District Attorneys offices to make these arrangements and consumers started complaining in 2009 as shown by this couple’s statements.

“Both acknowledge they wrote two bad checks, totaling about $200, as they were moving from Florida to Michigan in late 2007. The bad checks, they say, were mistakes. But nearly a year after they settled in a Detroit suburb, letters and phone calls followed from Florida.  “They told me they were part of the attorney general’s office,” Michelle O’Neil told CNN. “And that was scary in the sense that I’ve never had any legal problems. I’m a teacher.”  But the calls weren’t coming from a state agency. They were coming from a company hired by a Florida county prosecutor’s office to collect on bounced checks.

The firm — American Corrective Counseling Services, or ACCS — splits the money it collects with the prosecutor’s office. But it also makes money from financial management courses that people who wrote the checks are required by law to attend at their own expense. And the company’s contract with the prosecutor’s office states those classes are its “principal business activity.” ‘ CNN

My kids always tell me that I am behind the times, and I guess this years old issue slipped past me for several years.  I think it may be time for Congress to take another look at the 2006 law that allows District Attorney offices to make these kind of arrangements.  When the force of law is used to extract much more than just past due monies, then it goes too far.  The governmental process of enforcing the law should never be privatized, in my opinion.  Do you think corporations can be trusted to diligently review each bounced check to insure that their threatening letters on District Attorney letterhead is being sent to people who intended to bounce a check?  What do you think?

Additional Sources:  ProPublica; Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Amazon AWS

69 thoughts on “Privatizing the District Attorney?

  1. The prosecutor just lost his/her “prosecutorial immunity” from the civil suit one would file against the collection agency and their agent (the prosecutor) for various civil charges. When one gets the notice, be the first one on your block to file suit first, before the collection agency and the pig letterhead man. If the debt has been satisfied then sue for extortion. It is a civil rights violation as well. Put the two defendants in the jurisdiction where you live, not back there in Florida-la-la land.

  2. I am stunned! Letterhead is pretty sacrosanct in the agencies I have worked for. The SA’s office has NO way of knowing exactly what is going out under their name. I cannot even imagine they would allow this. Wouldn’t they be legally liable for anything that goes out under that stationery? I mean, if something wrong goes out, they can’t then claim it’s not their fault; not them. If they give permission and provide the stationery (or the template), it is THEM! It’s hard ENOUGH to control the attorneys who work under you and what they say! But non attorneys who do not know the law and are trying to get money out of people (whether legitimately or not) sounds just INSANE!

    Is this going on all over the country?

  3. feemeister,
    this is going on all over the country. It is being done in Cook County, Illinois and in many states throughout the land. The amendment to the FDCA in 2006 authorized the practice, but I am not sure the Congressmen read this bill.

  4. Polizeistaat! Whatever the police say, seems to be the “law.” Look at all our rights – that are no more. The police/government determine if you may protest, when you may protest )Tuesday between 3 & 5.) Look how they cleaned out the OWS protesters across the nation. The police have gotten $100 billion to protect “us.” Who are they actually “protecting”?

  5. Maybe I am just naive, but does it make sense for the DA’s office to outsource the job of investigating and prosecuting alleged perpetrators of bounced checks to private companies who may or may not actually investigate the bounced check circumstances before “official” threats of criminal prosecution are sent out?

    I must be naive too then rafflaw.

  6. Bad checks really hurt small businesses, particularly in the midwest where it is still considered to be a primary way to pay for goods and services. Small businesses have a hard time getting local DA’s to file charges because of giving priority to more serious crimes. Having both worked for a DA, and having my own small biz for almost 30 years, I see both sides. I also have another perspective, having done collections on bad checks for an Italian restaurant owner I know. I did that when I first started my PI business and needed work.

    Bad checks are a much different situation than someone who can’t pay their medical bills or who get in over their head w/ credit card debt. Are there folks who simply make an honest mistake..indeed there are. And you know what, those folks just require a call from the business owner and the check is quickly made good. These folks are the minority. The archetypal bad check is a person who willfully writes a bad check w/ NEVER having any intention of paying. They write them on closed acccounts or accounts that were opened for the sole purpose of writing bad checks. Seldom do they write one bad check, I would find many local merchants who also had bad checks from the same person I was tracking down.

    Collection agencies are like insurance companies..souless. However, they are regulated. Do we want to pay more taxes to have an ADA and investigator to solely work on bad checks? I don’t. I don’t particularly like this arrangement, but I really don’t like people who willfully defraud small business owners more so.

    Interesting topic.

  7. rafflaw, In a perfect world I do. Being a realist, I think this is a practical solution, albeit flawed, and w/ a potential for abuse. If these collection agencies are kept on a short leash, I find it acceptable.

    I have worked insurance fraud personal injury cases where it would be easily proven criminally w/ videotape I shot that fraud was commited. However, DA’s don’t want them even when they involve 6 figure claims. Their attitude is “Well, the sh@tbird isn’t getting any money out of this so that’s his punishment.” The same w/ arson for profit cases I’ve worked. They’ll usually only look @ them if there was an injury or death. There are exceptions because a fire, even if it doesn’t result in an injury, also costs taxpayerss money via the fire dept. costs. The other factor is arson is tough to prove criminally.

  8. It sounds like those same individuals go to Chief Justice John Roberts over the wonders of Obama’s great health care plan. Republicans really love it because corporations love it same as the reason for Democrats to love it.

    In the end those budgeting class only suppose to teach individuals how wonderful the FDIC and Wall Street are as vehicles for saving, all whilst Americans watch their 401’s vanish due to “lip stick on the pig” kind of thing. At last, American is built on utter decent and fraud. It isn’t in god we trust, it’s in government corruptions we trust, because at long last they are expected to be corrupt and continually get away and even be rewarded for their acts of corrupt. It would not be the great ole US of A unless individuals are punished for wrong doing and corporations and US governmental officials never are punished for wrong doing.

    At long last we have become Mexico but we just don’t know it yet. Perhaps we’ll have to borrow money from the Mexican drug cartels to be solvent. Oh wait, that US bank Wachovia has already done that.

  9. raff,

    “it also makes money from financial management courses that people who wrote the checks are required by law to attend at their own expense.”

    Someone who makes a mistake can be forced to pay for a class they don’t want to attend? Doesn’t sound right to me.

    “If these collection agencies are kept on a short leash, I find it acceptable.”

    ROLFL, as if.

    I know of two cases where the collection agency filed in court for a lien claiming personal service that didn’t happen. Defendant doesn’t show up b/c she doesn’t know it’s happening so a default judgement. She had receipts that showed the bill was paid. Lien shows up when she sells her house. Then the lawyer holds 2-3 times the amount of the lien for 4 or 5 years and charges her for the check minus the lien amount, plus fees when she complains loud enough.

  10. bettykath, Besides your knowlede of those 2 cases what is your expertise? Have you worked for a DA? Have you had your own business? Have you ever been the victim of a bad check for goods or services? I said in my first comment I know collection agencies are souless. I get the sense you may be talking out of your ass. I hope not, and look forward to your credentials on this topic. Or is this just how you FEEL?

  11. I liked that “Pirates of the Carribean.” This money stuff is above
    my head. If you attach something snappy like Pirates of the
    Carribean, I get it. God help the agency that hires me.

  12. Why does America still have checks?

    We’re all slaves to the plastic companies here. Learned in Asia that the plastics take 6% off the top. Guess they do here too. Saves chasing bad checks for the businessman. Cost of business taken out of the consumers pocket.

    Cash want get you a dime in rebate. What is this world coming to?

    Do you still have dimes? Pennies? Is it a dollar bill economy now?

  13. feemeister, bettykath laughed @ what I said w/ derision. I asked legit questions about her knowledge on the THIS subject. I don’t purport to be the only one who “knows anything.” I simply want to know what the person who laughed @ me knows about THIS subject. If you’re honest, you would do the same if you were in my position.

  14. “In the end those budgeting class only suppose to teach individuals how wonderful the FDIC and Wall Street are as vehicles for saving, all whilst Americans watch their 401′s vanish due to “lip stick on the pig” kind of thing. At last, American is built on utter decent and fraud. It isn’t in god we trust, it’s in government corruptions we trust, because at long last they are expected to be corrupt and continually get away and even be rewarded for their acts of corrupt. It would not be the great ole US of A unless individuals are punished for wrong doing and corporations and US governmental officials never are punished for wrong doing.”

    Just in my taste. Thanks.

    PS Did anybody follow the link to Keitel on RT. Can’t find it again.
    He revealed before going to the center of world finance (london) that it all was rubbish flowing. Can’t do economy, but it was stuff that had been sold so many times that now what is flowing in the system was thousand times the world’s GDP. This is nothing more than we used to call vaporware, but money in this case. So if anybody starts calling for their money and there is a rush, then 1929 was a holiday in comparison.

  15. I must run an exceptional business. I have had a few bounced checks and only turned one over to the District Attorney’s bad check office over a forty year time span. It was for $500, and the guy did not respond to calls or a certified letter. If our DA’s office had been using that service, I would have just eaten the amount rather than turn it over to the check because IMHO, that would be unethical practice on my part if I did. Even if not technically unethical or illegal, it is still immoral.

    The biggest check I ever had bounce was a payment from State Farm. It was for almost three thousand dollars and came back stamped NSF. The bank had tried to run it through twice on two successive days. State Farm eventually got around to making it good after a couple of weeks, but it was an “interesting” experience.

  16. Feemeister? Honest? How naive Nick.

    The fewer the anecdotes you know the louder you crow. I just can’t resist making up sayings.

    ot saying that about BettyKath. Surprised her saying that. Maybe some people just can’t stand loudmouths. Any takers? I’m already registered as a member.

    Gotta go snooze. Read you tomorrow. Bye y’all.

  17. what is the difference between this and speed and stoplight cameras?

    Bounced checks are a pain in the neck and people not paying are an even bigger pain.

    You can sue someone to collect a debt and isnt that what this is really all about? The lawyers who would sue are losing revenue to the DA’s office.

    Government is supposed to legitimately protect people’s property, when a person writes you a bad check they are stealing either your property or your time. Either way they are depriving you of a certain amount of time from your life. That is why we entered into a society with a government, to protect our rights.

    If this facilitates the collection of debts and maybe even has a deterrent effect then why not let collection agencies threaten jail time? Most who have a collection agency after them are not going to pay anyway because they know for a small amount, less than say a few hundred dollars, it isnt worth an attorney or even a collection agency.

    Bottom line, call the vender, apologize and get on a payment schedule if you have to. Most vendors would just be glad you were willing to pay for your “mistake”.

  18. Raff,

    The thing that gets me with these types of tactics is when a bank closes a bank account because of insufficient funds….. And the returns the checks accounts closed….. This sets up a whole other set of criminal laws….

    It is or was my understanding that the state of Michigan will prosecute the collection of nsf checks if and only if certain procedures are followed….. I have yet to see the prosecutor’s partner with collection agency’s… Not only does this set up the FDCPA but the States version as well…. Which used to be a little more stringent than even the Fed’s…..

    Also if this is going on….. Then it also invokes the states FOIA…… Which I do not think they want to get into…. The states or the collection companies….

    Good article by the way….

  19. Yo, Store Daddy. Put an ATM machine in the lobby of the Mall. Tell the check writers to go get cash. Or use their check/debit card. The card will tell all when they use it. Checks are outdated. If someone doesnt have a debit card or credit card that passes mutard then they will likely bounce the check or be over the age of 65 and remain clueless. I see this every day in the grocery store. Why is schmucko spending so much time writing the check and then taking my time while he fills out his ledger up that at the cahs register station while we are all waiting in line?
    But that aside, if a District Attorney is distributing his letter head then he has no head. Off with the heads of these pirates!

    THat District Attorney Be In Bed
    With That Private Collector
    Who Has a Fat Head.

    They Ain’t Using Condoms
    They Ain’t About Crimes
    Its Porkin For Sure On The Public Dime.

  20. I disagree with having to take the course but then I disagree that people who get speeding tickets should have to take a course. Everyone knows not to speed and everyone knows not to bounce a check.

    Those classes serve no other purpose than to line the pockets of the contractor providing them.

    Why do we need a license to drive a car?

  21. Is the DA paid by tax monies?
    If so, isn’t this a tad icky in the use of government monies being shifted to private companies? And if the DA is funded by tax money….why would s/he be moonlighting for a private company?

  22. The Prosecutor’s Office in our county tried to implement a program for this with regard to UIOBC’s and NSF checks. The office partnered with some company that offered this check collection service and sent out information packets to all the LE agencies in the county (except WSP which does not handle this)

    Essentially the program was such where the recipient of the check would agree to send NSF checks to this collection agency, operating under the purview of the Prosecutor’s Office for the same reasons as stated in this article. In fact, the Prosector (an elected office in WA) put his picture on the packet making almost in my opinion a PR campaign about it.

    I reviewed the program and I refused to participate in it because I considered the program to constitue “Compounding” which is prohibited under state law. ( Compounding is generally where either the prosecutor or the victim agrees to accept something of value in exchange for not prosecuting a crime.) Essentially the program was that the prosecutor’s office would globally forego a criminal prosecution in exchange for participation in a payment program and the consideration, or thing of value, was the Prosecutor’s office would receive a cost savings from not having to prosecute the case (there might have been other consideration between the contracting collection agency but I was not privy to this)

    There was universally no support of this program by any of the LEOs or LEAs in the area and it fell out of favor and was not adopted.

    I further agreed it was greatly troubling to being this type of surrogate role of the demi-prosecutor that was this collection agency. I felt it would open up so many legal cans of worms with regard to jurisdiction, rights of the accused, colors of law, and other issues that the increased legal expense would overwhelm whatever benefit could be derived from it.

    I also worked many check fraud cases during this time and the elements that had to be proven in any criminal case was the following:

    1) The maker of the check had to have knowlege either the check was made when the account was insufficently funded. Negligence or recklessness was insufficient, the maker actually had to know the check would have bounced.

    2) The maker had to knowlingly write a check on an account that she knew to be closed.

    3) The maker had to knowingly use a check for which he was not an authorized signer on the signature card at the time of the issuance.

    4) The person who wrote the check assumed the identity of another in making the check.

    5) The check physically was a forgery and the maker knew this.

    Situation 1) required a search warrant of the bank records and all statements and notifications made and actually read and received by the maker in order to gather evidence to prove situation 1). A person simply goofing up their account register had no chance of meeting this requirement. This was the hardest to prove a criminal intent and was the most work for an investigator. But most bad checks fall within this criterion. This situation is entirely civil in nature and should be handled by the merchant and the maker. The prosecutor’s office should not be invovled if no criminal intent can be shown.

    Situation 2 with criminal intent as well as 3,4 and 5 have no buisiness being investigated by private agencies under the auspices of the Prosecutor’s office because they are felonies. Only prosecutors can provide information to the courts to charge a person with a felony and since the prosecution of a felony is costly, it typically will exceed the value of the UIOBC check and not be a defense to compounding. See

    I would further add this sets a disturbing precedent if we contract out services which are by statute and definition roles of the gov’t.

  23. Darren,

    “I would further add this sets a disturbing precedent if we contract out services which are by statute and definition roles of the gov’t.”

    We have already privatized much of the military, a number of prisons in this country. We now have politicians who want to privatize the United States Postal Service, public schools, Social Security, Medicare. What next?

  24. Elaine:

    that is the concern I have as well. In my view the Postal Service cannot be fully contracted out without having a major upheaval of the nation’s commerce and operations, other operations are the same.

    There are many situations where the gov’t is best to get out of, but core services are not one of them.

    The reason is fluidity. If roadways for example were such that local gov’t abandoned its responsibility for public roads, and allowed a patchwork of private enterprises, all with different roads under different territories the result would be chaos in that different assessments, tolls, rules, and qualities would detract from roads just being a standard that could be trusted and not something where every trip would have to be planned for just to handle its navigation.

    I actually am a person who believes in Public Utilities such as Electricity. Nearly all the public utilities in this state are such that the cost to consumers is substantially lower than with private, for profit utilities. This makes electricity more affordable and conducive toward residents and an attrraction to bring business into the area.

  25. If I write a check and pay by mail the recipient can credit my account when the check clears. When I buy grocieries and have eaten all the food by the time the check bounces then where does the store stand? They should stop accepting checks. Who is left in society who has to use them to buy groceries. If they have a bank account then they can go to the ATM in the lobby of the store and pay with cashola.

  26. Yeah, I would sure miss the Post Office. Of course, if you sh@t canned the Post Office there would be a lot of entitled employees going postal. That would be the only real problem as far as I see.

  27. Elaine, For the most part I do. I never us the PO for packages, I pay bills via computer, and use email. That’s what many folks do now. FedEx has great employees and UPS good employees. Their service is far superior to the PO.

  28. nick,

    I use our local post office when I mail packages. The clerks are always helpful and accommodating. I’ve never had a problem with packages getting lost, damaged, or not arriving on time.

  29. Lotta,
    Thanks for the link. It is sad, but these kind of policies can lead us back to debtor prisons.
    Elaine and nick,
    The Post Office is an essential part of the commons, IMO.

  30. Rafflaw, I don’t think people realize the actual reality of what a debtor’s prison was. I can see the contemporary prisoners of debt being ‘encouraged’ to do prison labor to satisfy their debt to the state and/or the merchant. It’s closer than people think.

  31. lets privatize the coast guard too. then when you’re out at sea and have problems you can give your credit card # with your distress signal and rescue companies can compete to see who gets there first.

    if you have good credit.

    better check that cruise ship company’s credit before you leave the dock too. after a couple of weeks dead in the water you might think you’re on the cannibal cruise.

  32. Rafflaw:>“Maybe I am just naive, but does it make sense for the DA’s office to outsource the job of investigating and prosecuting alleged perpetrators of bounced checks to private companies who may or may not actually investigate the bounced check circumstances before “official” threats of criminal prosecution are sent out?”<

    After reading many of your posts, Raff, 'naive' is one word I would never use about you. I don't know how other DAs obtain their position(s), but here in AZ, the DAs are elected positions at State, County and municipal levels. While I haven't heard of AZ doing this sort of thing, it wouldn't surprise me if they tried. It seems to me, though, that in all probability that such a step would not be legal. After all, isn't the investigation of felonies the job of the various police agencies? Doesn't the DAs office only enter the fray after charges have been drawn up of an indictment charged? And how could they possibly give that authority to a collection agency which has no police powers at all?

  33. Kraaken,
    Thanks. The DA should be reviewing all files before a collection agency sends out threatening letters on DA letterhead.
    I am afraid you could be right.

  34. From what I understand, bad checks are NOT like a bad debt. Bad checks are considered CRIMES since it involves theft of services, and fraud. it is not like a bill collector. THAT is the reason for the use of DAs letterhead. You cannot be taken to jail over a bad debt, but you CAN and in many cases WILL go to jail for writing bad checks.

  35. Writing a bad check is considered a crime, NOT a civil matter. If you do not send the check, you cannot be put in jail. If you do send a bad check, you can. In Harris county the sherrif has a end of year round up of all the bad check writers where they arrest all the ones they can grab.

  36. Elaine, You must live in Lake Wobegon or Nirvana. The PO is archaic. Even the govt. doesn’t want to send their checks via mail, it’s electronic transfers.

  37. I feel like I’m in an alternate universe! These cases aren’t about grandma who wrote her check before her SS check was electronically transferred to her account. These are folks who knowingly wrote checks that bounced, and it’s almost always MULTIPLE checks. Does anyone here think it’s not a crime to go into a store and walk out w/ merchandise w/o paying? Willfully bouncing checks is the same. As stated previously, businesses don’t want to go through this process. They first give the bad check writer the opportunity to make it right. And most people do make it right. We’re talking about the people who say, “f#ck you, come and get me if you want your money.”

  38. nick,

    There you go again! I don’t live in Lake Wobegon or Nirvana. I don’t see the USPS as archaic. I value its services. I still write letters and send greeting cards and gifts via the USPS. Many elderly people I know do not have computers or email accounts. I haven’t experienced any problems with the post office in my city. You think everyone should share your viewpoint on issues–including the privatization of public education and other government services. When they don’t, you attempt to insult their intelligence/belittle them.

  39. Thanks, Elaine. The Lake Wobegon/Nirvana was just a tease. People who take themselves so seriously get indignant when challenged. I didn’t insult your intelligence or belittle you. In deference to your polemic on Chicago teachers I’ve stayed away. Playing victim doesn’t work w/ me. Buck up, girl!

  40. nick,

    I know how you get when people challenge your opinion on issues. As I recall from an earlier discussion, you are the expert at playing victim. Sit back and chill.

  41. Elaine,

    I use USPS all the time to send packages, registered letters, greeting cards and tax payments. I also receive a lot of packages (I’m a big user of Subscribe & Save at Amazon) sent through USPS. I have no problems with the service and use their on-line tracking service all the time. UPS and FedEx also deliver but I prefer using USPS for packages I want to send. I’ve had the same mail carrier for years and we are friendly having kept track of each others lives and families through the years.

    Now, except for taxes, I no longer use the mail to pay bills but that’s just more convenient and cheaper however, you are quite right regarding older folk who don’t use a computer. I correspond regularly with many and always send greeting cards to friends through USPS.

    I use them on a weekly basis and have no problems at all.

  42. Elaine, Whenever I say something to you that hits a nerve your response is, “I know you are but what am I.” That’s probably a consequence of being w/ grammar school kids your entire adult life. To say that I play victim is ludicrous on it’s face. Show me the evidence. I’m not one of your compliant 8 year olds and I will not “sit back and chill.” I’ve known a lot of grammar school teachers, some great, most average, and some any profession. However, none of them were Mensa members and most were control freaks.

  43. nick,

    FYI: I didn’t teach only elementary students. I also taught college juniors and seniors and graduate level students at a large university.

    I expressed my opinion about the USPS. You chose to be snarky in response to my comments. I responded in way that got under your thin skin. So…don’t sit back and chill. Do whatever you like. Get your knickers in a twist. I’m really not that interested in what you do.

  44. Elaine, There you go! Believe it or not I appreciate your last response. It was Elaine..not school teacher Elaine. You could have told me to “Go sh@t in my hat” as my mother sometimes would. I have a very thick skin. On this topic of the PO I think we can both agree..Basta!

  45. As long as we’re going after the post office here! Last September I had 3 packages come the same day; I didn’t receive ANY of them. I called and called the post office, who told me they were delivered to my box, and I insisted NONE of the 3 were there (two of these were frickin

    PRIORITY mind you). They said there was nothing they could do. I could not get any reimbursement for any of the 3; they are not liable for anything. I lost $150 because the stupid postman put them in the wrong box.

    In April, the two priority packages were put in my box. They were 8 months AFTER the date the postman had assuredly put them in MY box! While I was really glad to get my stuff, the post office is really terrible a lot of the time.

    I use UPS now and they have been wonderful for the last year. Had Fedex once, and they delivered to the wrong house. But it was a new guy and he owned up to it and they made it right (he said he left it on my porch, but I HAVE no porch)!

    The Post Office is not NEARLY as good as it used to be! And I DO have to say that them not being much more careful with Priority Mail just floored me!

  46. Feemeister, I sent a priority mail package to TX. It arrived 12 days later (after I had to copy it again and FedEx it at great expense). A couple of years later I sent a priority mail package to Maryland; it NEVER arrived and I had to pay $40 for second copies of a court file and have it hand-delivered at great expense. So I stopped using priority mail and sent a package Federal Express; it got into a snafu that cost me and the recipient a combined $60 and they wouldn’t refund my fee for next-day delivery!

    I would buy a carrier pigeon but they can’t carry the big heavy stuff.

  47. feemeister, I fell for the priority mail scam when it first came out. I would mail videos I shot to clients and it seemed like a good deal. I know, I know, I was stupid. Clients complained about late deliveries. Now, most of my clients are in the same state and they were getting my “priority” mail 4-5 days later. One client bluntly asked me, “Why the hell are you using the post office?” I used UPS and FedEx after that and NEVER had a problem. There’s a reason businesses avoid the post office like the plague.

  48. I remember back in 94 or 95, about a week after postage increased, somebody in TAMPA mailed something to me in GAINESVILLE, first class. It took THREE WEEKS to get there! I thought they had lied and hadn’t mailed it, but the postmark was on it big as day. I could have WALKED it there in much less time!

    Anyone who hasn’t had major problems with the post office has extraordinary luck!!!

  49. If I was a state legislator in Florida I would propose legislation as follows: 1. No criminal charges or colllections efforts can be lodged by the state on behalf of the state unless the following is first proven and submitted in the Warrant application: A) Schmucko tendered a check for goods or services which are described in an affidavit attached; B) The check bounced as evidenced by the Schmucko’s own bank; C) Demand for payment was made and schmucko did not pay up within ten days; D) The judge may deny the order upon the Warrant application without reason and may defer decision until the witness (victim himself) is produced in open court for questioning.
    2. No letter head of a Prosecuting Attorney may be loaned to any private collection schmucko.
    3. Only employees of the Prosecuting Attorney, with no connection to a so called victim may be a part of the prosecution or investigation of the crime.

    Prosecutors who violate the above are guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor on the first offense and Class C felony on the second offense.

  50. Nick,

    Had to mail my quarterly tax today but I hurt my knee and it would be difficult for me to walk or even drive to a mail box. Mailman comes at 11. I left a postit for him to ring my bell. He took my payment with a nice big smile. The PO ROCKS!!!

  51. This is horrible. It is a financial partnership, and a bribe to the prosecutors office. Using the prosectors stationary is abhorrent. But adding on a fee to share with the prosector is an incredible conflict of interest to this agreement between the prosector and collector. It reminds me of abusing incarcerated individuals by charging them and their families egregious fees earned by private companies and shared with corrections for using phones to communicate with their loved ones. As improper as I believe this is, in this case there is not crime even proven.

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