To the editor:
Cheers to Chad Lawhorn’s Jan. 30 article detailing the late charges on Lawrence citizen Kelly Elsten’s utility bill. We, too, pay our bill through the bank, days before the due date, and upon inspection we discovered two years of charges with the vague term “adjustment.”
Director of Finance Ed Mullins seems quite callous in quotes such as “it’s pretty clear to most people ‘adjustment’ means ‘late fee.’” These days, the term “adjustment” can mean a myriad of things from a rate increase to a change in the billing cycle, not to mention its ubiquitous use in today’s cable, credit card and cell phone bills. If we were to take Mr. Mullins’ advice (“if you see an adjustment, you should ask about it”), we would be on the phone (likely on hold) for most of a day.
What angers me is some entity replaced “late fee” with “adjustment” and, by keeping the dollar amount low, it flies under most citizens’ radar and results in a hidden tax. It seems deceitful. Had the city utility department used the clear and concise “late fee,” we would have discovered the error years ago and corrected it then, instead of spending valuable time digging through old bills.
I’m glad Mr. Lawhorn brought this to our attention. Good Work!