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Friday, May 6, 2016

It's how much?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photo by Terrah Baker
Donald and Wanda Burtram thought that June 28 was a day like any other, enjoying retirement and relaxing at home. As Burtram will tell you with an overpowering grin, "We're old and we just like to relax."

But on this seemingly normal day, a surprise of thousand dollar proportions came into the Burtman's lives.

"When I first got it I had to take a double take," Burtram explained with a laugh.

A water bill from the Ash Flat Water Company for $4,088.93 for the month of June took Burtman and his wife by humorous surprise.

"I know most people might get mad about it but I thought it was hilarious," Burtram explained.

Luckily for Burtram and his wallet, Ash Flat Water Company had a sense of humor about it too and quickly corrected what Mackie Tompkins of the water department called an error in number entry.

"I was entering his meter readings in and hit the key twice and that's all there is to it," Tompkins said.

Tompkins also explained that unlike the bill claimed, the Burtram's did in fact not use over 3 million gallons of water but rather only 2,120 gallons.

"I found the problem when I was going through the bills at the end of the month and contacted Mr. Burtram," Tompkins also pointed out.

Tompkins finding the error saved Donald and Wanda Burtram around $4,000 and added a bit of humor into their, and many other's lives.

"We went to church and shared it with everyone and got an uproar," Burtram described of the joy a simple mistake can bring.

When asked by the water department if he could ever use over 3 million gallons of water, Burtram said that he didn't think it was possible.

"Not in my lifetime I haven't and I'm 71. You could float Ash Flat away with that much water," Burtram said.

With a sense of humor and a slight scare, Burtram and his wife paid his actual $24.09 water bill trying to remember that with a laugh and some community understanding, any mistake, despite the price, is worth mending.

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The water bill story reminded me of an incident that happened to me, except in the reverse. I pay my bills electronically through FNBC and about a year or so ago I checked the balance in my account and noticed a payment to IESI for over $4,000.00 for one quarter. I went to IESI and asked them if they had received my payment yet and they said no. I explained the problem to them and they assured me that it would be corrected. I went to FNBC and they helped me correct the error before payment was made. FNBC has updated their program so that it is nearly impossible for someone to make the mistake I made of hitting too many keys. I remember in 1957 I was in the Air Force and I had a Marchant Calculator, which was manually operated (electric had not been invented yet) and I complained to the Colonel that the calculator had made a mistake. He told me that if I put it in right it will come out right. The same principle applied to my error at the bank.

-- Posted by jphelps on Fri, Jul 11, 2008, at 10:01 AM

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