Prepaying the water bill?

Houston Chronicle:

Don Mathis was in for some good news — sort of. He wouldn't have to pay another water bill for 600 years. But the circumstances of such good fortune left the Houston man sourly dismayed.

Mathis thought his check for $99,000 was safely en route to a Dallas securities firm where it would be used to purchase a certificate of deposit. Instead, it arrived at Houston's Department of Public Works and Engineering office, where it was automatically processed, endorsed and deposited.

"It's a comedy of errors," Mathis said, noting that he never suspected anything was amiss until he received a nervous phone call from Dallas. "I have no idea what went wrong. I've done this a jillion times."

Mathis said the problem started last month when, as usual, he paid his granddaughter's $13.74 water bill by phone. About the same time, he dropped his check to the security firm in the corner mailbox.

Days later he was advised the check had not arrived.

His bank determined the check had been deposited in a city account — effectively pre-paying the granddaughter's water bill for six centuries.


It looks like he will get his money back. He may want to look into electronic funds transfers for that amount of money. He is probably losing a few days interest on his investments.


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