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Money for nothing in New York state

Commentary

The other week I ran into a friend of mine. In the course of the visit, l told him I was looking for a whizbang and did he know where l might find one.

He said he happened to have one and would sell it reasonable. l gave him the money and we agreed that the next time I was in his neighborhood, or he was in mine, we could transfer the item. A few days later there was a knock on my door and there he was. I was pleased, but not surprised. There are probably many people who can tell a very similar story.

I am telling this story to contrast my friend’s behavior with normal practice by the state of New York.

Several years ago, I bought a truck. In among the numbers on the sale documents there was a charge of $2.50 per tire, which was a state imposed “tire disposal fee.” There was groaning, but the fee, or tax, or charge was paid. After all, the state needs the money and they give us good value for the money they collect.

In time, the original tires had to be replaced. So the truck got four new tires and l got a bill which included a $2.50 disposal charge for each tire. The old tires were in the back of my truck. When I complained to the tire seller he said the state got the fee for the original tires and that my dispute was with the state.

The guy at the landfill said l could drop the tires there on payment of another fee. If you count the number of old tires laying around the countryside, it looks like there are a lot of people unhappy with the state’s practice.

My friend, on payment of the money, assumed that a contract was created between us, and he quickly fulfilled his obligations under that contract. The state, on the other hand, says that even though l paid a fee, l have no right to expect any performance of service in exchange for the money paid. The state, having collected the money, SHOULD perform the service.

Larry Zollinger is a South Dayton resident.

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