I was renting a furnished room when I first left home and I always paid the rent on time. One day in the spring (about six months after I moved in) there was a note left for me by the landlady telling me that I owed an additional $400 for "unspecified damages".
When I saw the landlady I asked her what was up. She said the new chain link fence she had put in last summer was damaged and she was charging me and two other tenants because the damage was in front of our usual parking spots.
I thought about telling her that there are no reserved spots. I thought of telling her I didn't hit the fence. I thought of telling her about how anyone could have damaged the fence, even if they didn't live there.
Instead I explained, in my most reasonable tone, that I had noticed the bent fence and it was quite obvious that it had not been damaged by a car hitting it. I suggested she contact the company she used for snow plowing and ask them to reimburse her for the damage since it was equally obvious that the plow, which had been pushing mounds of snow into the fence all winter, had caused the damage. (The fence was uniformly caved in at the center where all the snow had been pushed against it and, since it was new, there wasn’t a scratch on it – the only way this damage could have happened was if a large, soft mass was slowly pushed against the fence – i.e. snow!)
That's when she informed me that the "snow removal company" was her nephew. I quickly realized that she knew her nephew had caused the damage and was just hoping to get the tenants to pay for it. I don't know if anyone else there was stupid enough to pay her…I just found a new place to live!