Who needs fiction when you have real life?

This post is not about my thyroid or my hunt for a medical professional to actually care about said thyroid. But, in case you’ve been following along on my thyroid adventure, this new dose does have me feeling a little more like myself. It’s only been a week, so I have hopes that as the days go by I’ll feel more and more like the old Tiffany I used to be. I actually miss her.

Now on to your regularly scheduled post…

Regularly scheduled post? Wait, whose blog is this? Don’t worry. Still me. Nothing regularly scheduled about me at all. All joking aside, pull up your chairs and have a seat. It’s story time.

Broken water meter

We pay our water on a monthly basis. The digital meter is clipped to the front of the trailer with a very long wire that runs the length of the trailer to the main.

Before we’d moved in here, the wire had been damaged and spliced together. It was obvious because of the wire crimp cap they put over the splice. It worked. We received a water bill every month.

That is until over the summer. When our son was out weed-whacking he must have caught the wire. It separated at the splice. Within days maintenance was out there fixing it.

Something wrong here…

Then we received our bill at the end of July. $12.50. They call it a minimum usage charge. We contacted the office. They sent maintenance out to fix the meter again. We payed the $12.50 bill with our August rent.

The following month was the same thing. Again someone came out to fix the meter, and we payed the minimum usage charge. This time, the manager assured us that if we received a high bill, they would work with us.

Photo by Sourav Mishra

During the course of that period, we sprung a pretty nasty leak in the tub. The rubber seals that should be around the ball bearings inside the hot and cold nozzles deteriorated. It happens. We replaced the bathtub fixtures.

The end of September rolled around, and we received a water bill that was nearly $800. This was way higher than the $80ish a month we were used to. We called the office. This time because we had no clue how we were going to pay such an outlandishly high bill, and we hoped they truly would work with us. The office manager suggested a payment plan of $130/month, without the worry of late fees or interest, until the balance is paid off.

Bite the bullet

What can we do? Fight the size of the bill? We agreed to the payment plan. Our first payment was made with October’s rent near the end of September. It was the easy one as it was the water bill that month.

The first week of October, they posted a notice to our door. Rent was officially late and they’d added a $50 late charge to our account. A quick call to the office and we were assured that it would be fixed. Mistakes happen.

That’s a big oops

The second week of October, we receive a notice that the park’s attorney had filed with the court for nonpayment of rent. They’d added another $25 late fee and about $200 in court costs. [Side note: in Michigan if you own the trailer but rent the lot, they must serve you three times before they can actually take you to court to evict you.] Around the same time, a notice was tacked to our door with the new (now extremely overdue) balance.

A trip to the office

Upset and concerned, we took a walk to the office to talk to the manager face to face. She was very apologetic. Blamed it on the system.

“It automatically sends out these notices,” she assured us.

She promised to fix it immediately. We cannot access our account history or current charges after the 4th of the month, so all we could do was take her word for it until the end of the month when the portal opened up again.

Lather, rinse, repeat

When the portal opened back up near the end of October, I confirmed that all the late charges and court fees had been removed. When the first of November rolled around, we paid the rent, water bill, and our agreed upon payment towards the payment plan.

First week of November and there they are tacking another notice to our door. The rent is now late and a late charge of $50 has been added to the account. Please pay off the overdue balance immediately to avoid court costs.

Back to the office we go

Ready to nip this thing in the bud, we took the notice up to the office. The manager wasn’t there, but the other office staff member was in. There was a guy giving her an earful. He was upset to be getting late fees and notices on his payment plan, too.

Frustrated, she took our notice, ripped it in half, and tossed it onto the manager’s desk. She assured us that it would be taken care of. Nothing more we could do but trust.

Two notices, one day

The second week of November arrived, and we were notified twice of our balance. The first was tacked to our door. It was a notice that we still have a balance remaining. There were no late fees or court costs on this notice. The other arrived in the mail. It was a second notice from the court for nonpayment of rent. It featured about $300 in fees and court costs.

Since the court paperwork was dated a few days beforehand but the unofficial notice had arrived from the office and was dated that very day, we decided to wait until the portal opened up before we spoke to anyone at the office. We wanted to believe that they had already fixed it on their own.

Birthday dampened

Our son’s birthday was the third week of November. On his birthday we received our official court summons. We couldn’t believe it. Only two months into our payment agreement and, in a complete disregard for the law, they had filed for a court date to evict us. Court was set for the 9th of December.

The office is becoming our second home

The day after our birthday celebration was rained on, we went to sort things out at the office, again. Once more the office manager assured us that everything was fine.

“Just throw it in the garbage,” she suggested. “It’s taken care of.”

I was floored. Had she seriously just recommended that we throw official court documents into the trash? Yes, she had. We took our papers back home [where I filed them with all the other park related documents], and I began watching the court docket closely. When Thanksgiving rolled around and we were still listed on the docket, I drafted our response.

Signed, sealed, delivered

Photo by Roman Koval

We sent our summons response to the court and a copy to the attorney for the park. We stated our case and included documents I’d gathered from the park office during these months in preparation for the inevitability that they would take us to court [whether by mistake or on purpose, I saw it coming].

Adjourned

Today, I took a peek at the court docket. I glanced inside our case to see if anything had been added to the record. As of today, the case is listed as adjourned. The attorney for the park called Clark. He was apologetic and assured him that he would be following up with the court personally to ensure that it was truly dismissed.

Fingers pointed

Photo by Lukas

There is one thing that has been consistent through these months. There is always someone or something to blame. Blame it on the computer system. It issues these notices all on its own. I suppose it also hand writes the ones that are posted to our door. [I wonder if this means the maintenance guy is a robot hooked to that computer.] I suppose that same computer filed all those times with the court from the attorney’s office, too?

And we can’t forget the nameless woman. The one who is [allegedly] sitting at corporate offices managing the park from a distance. She’s been a voice on speaker phone. She’s always just getting ready to fax something to the attorney to fix things or just going into that [rogue] computer system to make some adjustment or another. She never states her name or even verifies that she works for the management company.

Does anyone take responsibility anymore?

Here’s my opinion. If it isn’t somebody’s job to keep track of payment plans and whom they try to evict, then it should be. It is time to reconsider their staffing needs and assign the responsibility to someone. Preferably not the computer.

One thought on “Who needs fiction when you have real life?

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