Sunday, June 15


The people at my HOA are trying to rip me off. The reason I know this is because they tried to rip me off just the other day. When I went to my mailbox on Friday, I found a dunning letter from the Homeowners Association which states very explicitly, "Your account has an unpaid balance of $(bald-faced lie) for past homeowner association dues...Not paying your dues causes the Homeowner's [sic] Association grave difficulties in maintaining the community and could result in devaluation."

I resent the use of the phrase "grave difficulties." A bit self-important, really. Grave difficulties like they won’t be able to buy the yearly supply of koi after herons eat all the existing ones? Truly, a situation of life and death.

When I called the HOA office to tell them my account is not behind, the girl on the other end of the phone told me sweetly that I was a month ahead in January but I never paid my February dues. I had my check history on the computer screen in front of me and it clearly showed check XXXX written to my HOA and cashed for $135 in February.

"Nope," she said confidently, "you didn't pay in February. You're probably just confused because you had the credit in January. I'm making a spreadsheet for you right now so you can see when you paid and when you didn't." I love how people think spreadsheets will solve everything. I got it, and it’s just a chart that says exactly what she told me: they have no record of my February payment but they have all the payments since then. I wanted to tell her that in this context a spreadsheet is totally meaningless because it is basically just a visual representation of their side of the story. It’s not from their bank or anything. It’s as meaningful as if I'd made a spreadsheet showing which of my shoes I wear the most.

I got a copy of the check from my bank, but since it's older than 90 days all they could provide me with is a shitty, pixelated copy that is faint and blurry. I took it to the HOA office, but of course it was totally useless as you can't see the endorsement stamp or read the account number it was deposited to. The girl called me back to tell me that a) she could gain no useful information from the shitty check copy, and b) she has no record of my check in their files, where they keep both a spreadsheet (!) of all the homeowners' payments and photocopies of all of the checks.

I printed the more recent checks off and took them to the office. By that time the nicer girl who works at the office was on her break, and in her place was the middle-aged, supremely evil office manager. The evil office manager proceeded to tell me in her very harsh voice that they never received a check from me in February. I gave her all of my check copies. It is clear from the newer check copies that the disputed check was deposited at the same bank in the same account, because you can tell that the bank stamp and the account stamp where it was deposited are the same as on the newer checks (which are much easier to read). She said she'd research it and get back to me on Tuesday, even though she still "can't read" the Feb check.

My HOA sends letters out every June to almost every resident in my complex stating that their dues are behind (they used to both mail a copy and tape a copy on everyone's door; a heinous waste of paper). They are total liars.

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