Skip to comments.Bill Costs Man Pennies -- 52,662 Of Them
Posted on 03/08/2007 8:05:12 AM PST by Abathar
CARTERVILLE, Illinois -- A southern Illinois man who's fed up with higher electric rates has come up with a way to show his displeasure while paying his bill.
Robert Hancock said his monthly power bill jumped nearly 200 percent -- to $526.62.
So he's going to send Ameren 52,662 pennies.
Hancock said he's worked things out with a local bank to get the coins and with the post office to mail the money.
It will cost about $50 extra for postage. But Hancock said that if he can cause Ameren a little inconvenience, it's worth it to him.
They are costing 2 cents to make. Zinc is up too.
Yeah, that's why I post on FR. For the power company's benefit.
On the other hand, were I running the company, I would stick to 'the customer is always right', state that I understand the gentleman's concern, accept his payment, and take the opportunity to redirect consumer ire toward energy policy, etc., and reference some helpful tips on conserving energy.
Unlike the people who think it would be bright for the company to take this opportunity to stick it to the little guy.
Thus, about $56 to ship the 270 lbs.
Oh gee, thanks for your permission. :rolleyes:
Sounds about right. :-)
>>>Oh gee, thanks for your permission. :rolleyes:
You're welcome. :multiple rolleyes:
True, but not relevant. See the following FAQ from the US Treasury web page:
Question: I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn't this illegal?
Answer: The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," which states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."
This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.
All U.S. currency and coins are legal tender today, according to 31 U.S.C. Section 5103. This was not true in the past -- until the 1870s, pennies were legal tender only up to debts of $0.10, and all other coins up to $10.00. The Coinage Act of 1965 made all U.S. coins legal tender for all debts, public and private.
Just because they are legal tender does not mean that a private citizen or entity is required to accept them; it DOES mean that the Federal Reserve is required to accept them.
A person or business is free to say he/it will not accept bills over $20, or that he/it will only accept nickels, or that he/it will only accept debit cards and not cash, ad nauseum.
The U.S. Treasury's take on this can be found at http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/currency/legal-tender.html#q1. There are also Federal appellate court cases on this point; I used them when teaching legal research and writing at a law school.
As to whether States can pass laws regarding the acceptance of Federal currency and coins, my guess (not researched, but pretty darn certain) is that a State law that purported to limit the use of federal coins and currency as legal tender would be unconstitutional.
Last fall, a former co-worker (a paralegal who thought she knew all law better than any attorney) attempted to pay a debt owed to her ex-husband in pennies. He refused them, she refused to tender any other payment, and she was found in contempt. True, the actions of a State District Court judge doesn't set Federal law, but it's the only time I've actually run into this issue in life -- other than using it as a topic for teaching in law school.
People who melt pennies or nickels to profit from the jump in metals prices could face jail time and pay thousands of dollars in fines, according to new rules out Thursday.
Soaring metals prices mean that the value of the metal in pennies and nickels exceeds the face value of the coins. Based on current metals prices, the value of the metal in a nickel is now 6.99 cents, while the penny's metal is worth 1.12 cents, according to the U.S. Mint.
That has piqued concern among government officials that people will melt the coins to sell the metal, leading to potential shortages of pennies and nickels.
"The nation needs its coinage for commerce," U.S. Mint director Ed Moy said in a statement. "We don't want to see our pennies and nickels melted down so a few individuals can take advantage of the American taxpayer. Replacing these coins would be an enormous cost to taxpayers."
There have been no specific reports of people melting coins for the metal, Mint spokeswoman Becky Bailey says. But the agency has received a number of questions in recent months from the public about the legality of melting the coins, and officials have heard some anecdotal reports of companies considering selling the metal from pennies and nickels, she says.
Under the new rules, it is illegal to melt pennies and nickels. It is also illegal to export the coins for melting. Travelers may legally carry up to $5 in 1- and 5-cent coins out of the USA or ship $100 of the coins abroad "for legitimate coinage and numismatic purposes."
Violators could spend up to five years in prison and pay as much as $10,000 in fines. Plus, the government will confiscate any coins or metal used in melting schemes.
The rules are similar to those enacted in the 1960s and 1970s, when metals prices also rose, the Mint said. Ongoing regulations make it illegal to alter coins with an intent to commit fraud. Before today's new regulations, it was not illegal to melt coins.
Metals prices have skyrocketed worldwide in recent years in response to rising demand, particularly in rapidly growing China and India. Prices for zinc, which accounts for nearly all of the metal in the penny, have risen 134% this year, according to the London Metal Exchange. Even accounting for a recent decline, the price of copper is up 50% since the start of 2006. Nickels are produced from 75% copper and 25% nickel.
Although the Mint's new rules are immediately going into effect, the Mint will take comments from the public for a month.
The government has changed the composition of coins in response to rising metal prices. The penny, which was pure copper when it was introduced in 1793, was last changed in 1982.
Look up to post #70.
Not any more. See this press release from the US Mint, 14 December 2006. They announced new regulations prohibiting the melting of pennies and nickels.
And #69 too.
Gotcha - thanks!
I'm not allowed in the electric company ever since that tip jar incident.
Well, I tried that, and the result was under $10 for the same zip code. That either says the online calculator has a bug or the shipping rate for the USPS doesn't care if the package is 1 pound or 70. Is this correct? I don't know, having never shipped anything even approaching that weight! ;-)