It’s not enough local governments tax you half to death, now they charge hefty fees for responding to emergencies. No, I don’t mean ambulance services, nor are we talking about nuisance calls. If your house catches on fire, your tire blows out and you wreck your car, or you just need police assistance, many departments are now billing you thousands of dollars for their time and services.
Imagine you’re cruising down the road when you hit a patch of black ice and slide into a guardrail. A passing motorist calls 911. Soon firetrucks and police arrive.
Weeks later, a $1,400 bill does, too — for the cost of the police and firefighters who answered the call. What’s worse, it’s not covered by insurance, and it might scar your credit if you ignore it.
Sound implausible? It’s happening in a number of towns, cities and counties in at least 24 states. And given today’s cratering economy (and property-tax revenue), more strapped local governments may be tempted to authorize so-called accident response fees.
I have no use for policemen — I used to be one. If something gets out of hand, I deal with it myself. Most of the time they are utterly useless in protecting your rights, and they are under no obligation whatsoever to protect you from thugs. In many places they are the thugs. All they do is come and fill out reports, and you’re lucky if they don’t find some off-the-wall excuse to put you, the victim, in jail, too.
Now that they have discovered billing and collection agencies, it’s as if they know no bounds. Look for them to start arresting you if you don’t call them so they can put you on the hook for a couple thousand dollars. Meanwhile, don’t call them. I am told, if someone else calls them, and a collection agency comes after you, remind them you never signed a contract, and don’t owe them a dime. If they persist, you can (for now) file a civil complaint for harrassment.
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