The Vernal Express does have some photos from the Basin Clinic, showing the
counter where the guy dumped his pennies. It doesn't look to me like a couple
of pennies fell off the counter - more like half of them. I suspect he isn't as
innocent as he lets on. It might be interesting to see if the Clinic has any
video of the incident. Might be worth going to Court that day.
Floyd Johnson: Pennies are legal tender, they have to take them.
Well I can understand how the office staff thinks they were rudely treated. Any
one showing any sign of superiority is a threat to most medical office staffs.
the office staff was laughed at and snickers were heard. Their rudeness was
challenged and they had egg on their face. So they had to press charges what
else could they do let the next person in line see they can stand up to them.
I had to re-read this when I first saw it because I couldn't believe that it a)
resulted in a citation and b) made the news. Since it did I will add my two
cents. As has been pointed out pennies are legal tender. That it would take a
lot of time to count was the point. Having had an occasional issue such as this
myself I applaud what he did. The clinic staff COMPLETELY
I'm sure glad I don't live in Vernal. This is absolutely over the top. Poor
guy. I hope the charges are dropped--can't believe they were made to begin
@ Floyd Johnson Well Floyd, you are assuming quite a bit...best I
can tell, no one protested his method of payment until after he left...in fact
they provided a receipt, supporting the fact this was indeed acceptable payment.
Nor could I tell if there was a sign posted saying the denomintaions
accepted...No protest, no prior notification...so while an adept citation...not
sure blind application of your citation in this case works...just what I see.Now on to the spirit of this discussion...sounds like the guy had been
trying to bring the issue to the attention of the clinic staff. Sounds like
they kinda know they are the only game in town there in Vernal UT, which means
I'm not shocked to hear they are not very customer focused.Seems
like Penny Man used a little humor to call attention to an issue. As I read the
posts on here...I am begining to wonder if we don't have something more going on
at this clinic than simply bad customer service...We shall see.
Fed-up Customer: 1Stupid Doctor's Receptionist: 0
The clerk was wrong to get so upset as to call the cops. I would have just taken
the bag of coins to my bank or credit union at the end of the work day. They
have a machine that separates and counts the coins. Then take the receipt back
and post to the customers account. No need to bring the power hungry police in
on this or get upset and count pennies.
Shall we take up a collection to pay his court fees? I'm certain we can find
that many pennies in our penny banks...
If Jason has to pay a fine, I will pay .01 towards it.
Sounds like they called the penny marshall. Our did they just call Penny
Marshall? I guess Jason West was the shlameel and the clinic lady was the
Last year I went into a surgical center for a serious procedure. At the
admitting desk, I presented my insurance card and ID along with an itemized firm
quotation from the doctor and the center outloining my exact fees for the
procedure. All of this was done in advance to be certain there would be no
surprises upon arrival for the procedure.The clerk filed the
paperwork and asked me for an additional payment of $1,320.00. I politely showed
her on the quote where that amount was shown by the insurance company as 100%
covered. She still demanded payment, which I reluctantly paid.Six
months later, I received a check from the center for @1,320.00, with the
explanation of the overpayment. No apology. While glad to have the money back, I
rolled my eyes at how blatantly and incorrectly the clerk had ignored the
evidence in fron of her.Don't ever believe clerks don't make errors.
I cannot believe the "penny" guy was cited for conduct. Get Larry the
Cable Guy, "Only in America".The only thing worse than
stupidity is making other people pay for it.
MOS was 71331: He didn't dump them on the floor. They can[t make him go
anywhere else if his primary doctor is in that clinic.
No case law in Utah, but in a 1997 Ohio case (State v. Carroll) the court ruled
an organization was not required to take pennies as payment. The Court
concluded: "It defies logic and common sense that this Congress intended
such a wooden and broad application of the statute beyond the control of the
payee regardless of the circumstances." The Court reasoned that the clerk
could "provide a reasonable procedure for the place, time and manner of
accepting fines consistent with the efficient operation of the clerk's
office."The appropriate response to a disputed bill is to mail
a letter. "Dr. Smith I have reviewed my last statement. It appears that
payment owed for services rendered is $X, and $X have been paid on my behalf.
Please review my account and advise me of your findings."Exactly $25 is likely an insurance co-pay that the patient owes. Patient is
wrong that 1)he did not owe the money 2)that the clinic is obligated to accept
payment in pennies.The intent of dumping 2500 pennies is to cause a
disruption and a nuisance. The charges against him are reasonable. Grow up, play nice.
Go penney guy!
Wow, looks like public sympathy is definitely weighing on the side of Penny Man.
Basin Clinic had better have a very good explanation and quickly get it out to
the public, or (the better solution) quickly acknowledge their poor handling of
it. The new goal: no patient/customer should ever be so provoked by staff that
he would go to the trouble Penny Man did, however immature he may be.The police may want to get out of this as well. I'll bet they never dreamed
it would make the Salt Lake newspapers . . .
So in another Des News story today, the two state employees who were guilty of
publicly releasing "the list" of confidential information just get
probation--but this guy gets a $140 fine???
Come on. Make a hero of this guy?Give me a break.
Wow a patient that actually tried to pay for services rendered??!! This office
should take the pennies all the way to the bank!
Don't feel sorry for the office staff. They don't count the pennies; they just
put them in a bag and deposit them along with the other cash into their bank.
The bank has a machine that counts out the coins in seconds. I would be peeved
too if I had to pay $25 TWICE! Serves them right to get 2500 pennies!However, if the office DID count out the pennies and waste all that employee
time I'd fire them for being imbeciles!
Huray for penny man. Get serious police department. It is not a crime to pay
your bill in pennies.
Penny man, penny man, penny man, penny man, penny man, penny man.....You
speak for many of us who get frustrated with poor customer service issues as
well as billing and insurance problems. Thank you penny man for taking a stand!
Speaking as an office manager for a small private medical practice, this issue
simply should not have escalated to the point where this man would feel so
frustrated as to act in this manner. Admittedly, it is always the people who
owe a $10 or $25 or $50 co-pay that never seem to get around to paying. But
whether this fellow had paid in December, as he claims, or not, it's a only $25.
My guess is that this amount is less than one tenth of one percent of the
annual gross revenue of the clinic. It just isn't worth worrying about.
There are usually two sides to every story. I am amazed that Basin Clinic is
not coming out with their side of the story - probably afraid of the backlash of
putting potential misinformation into the public arena. It will be interesting
to see what the witnesses had to say once this hits trial. Overall,
I would have to say, however, that Basin Clinic have acted stupidly in this case
from a PR perspective. Their way of handling this incident is inconsistent with
the friendly, family oriented image they convey on their web site. A PR savvy
clinic would have laughed about the incident and admitted that it was a clever
way for someone to express a disagreement and that they harbored no hard
feelings. Instead, they have acted consistently with the way the disgruntled
patient has painted them - with hurt feelings and arrogance.
I would send it certified mail, return receipt requested, then if it was
returned I would have proof that payment was rendered, and refused! Ball in
Isn't there legislation in place governing how much of any given denomination
anyone is required to accept? I suspect there is. I used to deliver mail to a
traffic court. Often people, probably angry with the process, the system, the
courts, or just guv'mint in general, would send in payments of pennies in heavy,
ugly boxes requiring much postage. The clerks would write 'return to sender' on
every one. I used to just laugh at this; no point was proven but a few of us got
I've dealt with all manner of difficult customers in my day...this one is cut
and dried for me...rather you run a medical clinic or a wal
mart...if a guy gets mad enough at you to take the time to count out 25 Bucks in
pennies...I think it is painfully clear YOU failed...not the guy who dumped the
pennies.It is legal tender, and it appears as though he did nothing
more than drop his money on the counter...his happened to be coins. Waste of
time to pursue this...You folks at the clinic...drop the charges,
you already look like COMPLETE and TOTAL hacks.
Get a lawyer and sue the Doctors office for wrongful prosecution. Then sue the
cops for not having a brain to tell the Dr's office these are frivolous charges.
I just got a bill from a consult with my (ex) orthopedist and he charged the
insurance company $2700.00 for a 20 minute exam! At his billing rate $25.00
would buy about 11 seconds! This guy should just pay the 25 bucks and count his
This is some great publicity for both this clinic and the police department. I
foresee some customer service training in their futures!
Grow up. You want to be treated like an adult, act like it. Buy some coin
sleaves, roll them up, place them on the desk as payment. Don't walk in with a
handful of pennies, and toss them all over the desk. Complete disrespect. If I'm the doctor, I send him a bill for processing fees for the extra
time it took to clean up his mess after he threw a temper tantrum at the doctors
office. Can you imagine the kids in the waiting room, acting more adult than
this guy was!
Of course, from a one-sided interview, the story seems to back the guy up. As
to what the Basin Clinic's story is, I can't say (maybe the Vernal Express will
say more on Wednesday). The Basin Clinic services many area
doctors. I've been there a few times, for physicals and for getting
immunizations. Have I felt like the people at the desk were snotty? No, but
that doesn't mean that is true for each and every person and visit. The interesting question for me is, will the Clinic still allow him to visit a
doctor located there? It may be that Jason will be switching to the doctors at
the local hospital or maybe even be heading out of town. Seems like most of the
doctors around here have more business than they can handle.
Ask for a jury trial.
I'm sure his mother is very proud of him for becoming a nationally-known smart
Of course this guy could've taken the higher road and provided the bag of
pennies to the clerk. However, having dealt with clerks who are power hungry
and have little if any respect, the penny guy was giving her a taste of her own
medicine. There was no crime performed here. It's like dropping 25 $1 bills on
the counter with some falling on the floor. He paid his bill in full with an
everyday currency. End of story. Again, another stupid case where tax dollars
were/will be wasted on a Police Officer and a forthcoming trial.
I'd like to thank this guy for giving me a great idea on how to pay a disputed
bill with a former landlord. This is exactly what some people deserve. Good
job...Did he by any chance say, "a penney for your thoughts?"
Having dealt with this clinic myself on numerous occasions, I say good for you
Jason!! They are rude more often than not! They are always right and you are
always wrong. I realize it might not have been the "adult" thing to
do but I can empathize with his frustration in dealing with this clinic and
think the charges are totally bogus!!
Based on the information in this article, there has been no crime committed.
This has to be a protected act under the First Amendment. Clearly, he chose to
pay by a legal means. It may not have been an ordinary method, but it was legal,
and the reason for choosing so was clearly free speech. No rights of the
doctor's office were infringed. This case does, however, have an
alarming violation of the law--and that is the City of Vernal's refusal to make
the initial police reported public, a clear violation of GRAMA. This is no small
thing. It appears the City of Vernal (which given its size and location, the
city is probably unversed in dealing with media outlets) is skirting the law in
what can only be described as a power play. As such, I think there needs to be
some more exercising of free speech in this case--speech directed at the City of
Vernal to be forthcoming and law compliant.
I have issues with paying the bill in pennies. Have you ever worked a counter
before and had to count that kind of change? Think about the time involved. The
sole purpose for dumping the pennies was to cause havoc at the office. His
method penalized the secretary who is likely unaware of every individual bill.
Think about it--that secretary would have had to count the pennies...lots of
wasted time.Sure, pennies are legitimate currency. However, any
responsible citizen would not have acted that way. His point could have been
made with rolls of pennies. I expect adults to act like adults (not spoiled
children). The citation is well deserved. Be accountable for your actions.
Is it illegal in Utah to become angry when you believe you're being unfairly
billed by a business? From the description of the incident, an irate customer
paid a bill in pennies which he threw on the floor. Other than raising his
voice and throwing the pennies, he seems to have done nothing to threaten
anyone. The employee who called the police acted ridiculously, and the
responding police officers who arrested the customer should be reprimanded. The
officers' proper response would have been to tell the clerk who called that they
have no jurisdiction to become involved in civil matters. The officers might
also have added, "Customers sometimes get angry. Deal with it."
Having dealt the arrogance of some doctor's office I can understand the
frustration. Truly sad part the Vernal police having nothing better to do than
investigate the "penny caper". This kind of activity only brings
disrepute on the police.
Wow, the penny guy really showed them. Not only did he make himself look like a
child to the media and the doctor's office but now he has another fine to pay.
Dumping them out is where he went wrong, he should of just given them a big jar
but the little guy had to prove his little point.
It'd be nice if the doctor's name was printed. It wouldn't be the first time a
doctor's office made a mistake. Sounds like that clerk was on a power trip.
I'm with the penny guy; if the situation is accurately reported, it smacks of
free speech. What a teaching moment should the clinic and local officials need
to defend their actions in court. Go Penny Man! You might well get every penny
138 lbs of pennies is $250 worth of pennies. Was he paying $25 or $250? The
article is less than clear.In any case, if he had already paid he
should have a receipt or credit card statement to prove that he did so. No
reason for this to escalate to dumping a mess of pennies on somebody's desk.
I've had my fair share of issues with Doctors offices who swear up and down that
with my insurance that the copay would be the only thing I owe only to have them
call me later telling me I owed much more.I chalk this up to them using
antiquated accounting systems and staff that think they know what they are
Next time, don't dump out the pennies.
Pennies are considered Legal Tender, so what's the problem?!
You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for
bureaucrats procedure in everything and outcomes are nothing. Thomas SowellThis applies to both government and business.
From the facts presented here, I believe that this man's citation is completely