Legal Question... Business trying to recoup losses? (1 Viewer)

therod

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So I bought a house in May of 2006. One of the bills we pay is a sewer bill. Every month when it came in, it was regularly 50 cents to a dollar. Since I thought that was strange, I went to their office to make sure it was accurate. It was a small place and the lady at the desk looked at my bill and said it was fine. Fast-forward to today when I open my bill, much to my surprise it is 500+ dollars! I was sure this was a mistake and called to get everything straightened out when the lady told me they found an error in their billing that dated back to May of 2006 when we made the deposit to get the sewer turned on and that the bill reflected the total amount they had accidentally left of since that time.

She assured me it was within their legal right to do so... and I'm sure it is, I just want to
double-check before I go off mailing some $500 to them because they don't know how
to run a business.

Anybody know? :shrug:

(obligatory bull-poo reference :pain30: )
 

primadox

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I think it would be fair of them to offer a payment plan for the $500, with no interest or penalties, since it was their error and YOU were the one who tried to investigate it first and they insisted that it was all okay.
 

CT Saints Fan

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I have a sort of similar situation. When I sold my house, my old mortgage company sent me a refund of my escrow balance. However, they also included in my refund the amount of my next scheduled payment, which I of course didn't pay them. I told them I was not sending that next scheduled payment, and they said fine. Then they refunded it anyway. I called and told them it was wrong, and they said they'd look into it. Then 6 months later they called wanting it back.
 
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therod

therod

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I think it would be fair of them to offer a payment plan for the $500, with no interest or penalties, since it was their error and YOU were the one who tried to investigate it first and they insisted that it was all okay.

Yes, they said something about that only after I mentioned it. Really though, I don't have a
problem with paying the bill (even all at once). It's more the fact that they want to recoup
losses over a two year span after they screwed up the bills. I run a business of my own
and can't imagine calling a client from a year or two ago and saying, "Oh hey, I messed up,
send me a check." Not to mention they didn't offer any paperwork saying what the rates
were at those specific times and a list of how they came to the number that they did.

I have a sort of similar situation. When I sold my house, my old mortgage company sent me a refund of my escrow balance. However, they also included in my refund the amount of my next scheduled payment, which I of course didn't pay them. I told them I was not sending that next scheduled payment, and they said fine. Then they refunded it anyway. I called and told them it was wrong, and they said they'd look into it. Then 6 months later they called wanting it back.

Was the situation resolved?
 

saintfan-n-alex

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i would make sure there is some agreement what you will be charged going forward - as far as how they can do this? do you have any other options for this service? if not thats how they get away with it
 

primadox

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I would definitely ask for a breakdown on how they came to that amount prior to paying. It's only fair, and you do want to make sure you were being charged for the rates at the time, and not a current, possibly higher rate.
 

bclemms

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I had a similar problem with our natural gas company.

The neighbors use the same company as we do and they accidentally filled my 1000 gallon tank up at $2.50 per gallon while I wasn't home. It was still about half full and I got a bill for almost $1500 a month later.

I thought no big deal and just called to tell them that I didn't get my gas tank filled. They said they had accidentally filled my tank instead of the neighbors but I was still responsible for the bill since I was under contract with them to fill the tank.

It was in the middle of the winter and natural gas prices were at all time highs. Normally I fill up towards the end of August when it tends to be much cheaper. They told me they wouldn't adjust the bill.

I was upset and told them to sue me. Then I found out they own the tank and I couldn't have another company dig their tank up, couldn't have another tank until they removed theirs and they wouldn't remove the tank until I paid the bill. I threatened to file a claim in small claims court and told the manager that if they would be me at the price of natural gas the last week of August I would pay for it. I wasn't upset that they filled the tank up, I was upset at the price of the gas when they filled it up. August the price dropped down to around $1.75 and it ended up being a few hundred bucks cheaper.

It is nearly impossible to win a battle vs a utility company that has a monopoly. It took me over a month of constant hassles just to get what was somewhat fair. I was going to need the gas eventually but no way was I going to fill up in peak season.
 

Brad01

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I'm not a lawyer but that billing doesn't make sense to me. I had a similar situation a few years ago with an electric company. They billed me over $550 one month when we used just as much the prior month and were only charged $150. I expected a bill around $250.

I just called their office several times a day for a couple of weeks until they reduced it. My logic was that if they were allowed to do that, then what's to stop them from withholding charges on people's bills until their bills are too high to pay the full amount, forcing them to get charged the 10 to 20% interest rate. This of course would give the electric company more money in the long run. They reduced my bill from 550 to 150. The following months were normal.

Maybe I was just lucky and had a cooperative manager. But I don't think it would be fair to eat out at some place, get undercharged, and then go back a few days later and they try to charge you extra that night to make up for it. They have to write it off.
 

4saintspirit

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I agree with those that have mentioned a payment plan -- I certainly would expect them to recoup losses since they can prove it by the readinfs on the meter -- things like that have happened to me in the past and they usually worked it out with me but not at their loss of revenue
 

xpuma20x

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I have a sort of similar situation. When I sold my house, my old mortgage company sent me a refund of my escrow balance. However, they also included in my refund the amount of my next scheduled payment, which I of course didn't pay them. I told them I was not sending that next scheduled payment, and they said fine. Then they refunded it anyway. I called and told them it was wrong, and they said they'd look into it. Then 6 months later they called wanting it back.

I once received a grant one year for school, just out of nowhere really. I'd of course filled for as much financial aid as I could, but I'd never previously received a grant before, so I was just amazed and of course excited that I finally got some help that I didn't have to pay back. However, come the next semester, I received a letter saying that there had been an error on their part and that I was not suppose to have received the grant...and that they'd like their money back. I of course asked them if they thought I just buried the money in jars scattered throughout my backyard, but they didn't care and demanded the money back before I would even be able to register for classes again. Basically the grant was charged back to the school, and the school thus charged me. So I ended up having to use my next set of loans to pay back the money they gave me on accident because they messed up.
 

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