Man Has Car Towed – Attempts to Pay in Pennies

When a Florida teen recently had his car towed he decided to pay the towing company fees ($88) in pennies. Yup, 8,800 of ‘em. The cashier at the towing company was not amused and refused to take the the massive number of coins, but the teen argued she had to because it is legal tender. The cashier eventually takes the pennies, but not until after the local police department shows up.

Interestingly enough, the United States Department of Treasury’s has a section about this sort of situation on their website. See below.

…the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”

This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

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