• Report: #774421

Complaint Review: City of Ocala Utilitys

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  • Submitted: Thu, September 08, 2011
  • Updated: Tue, September 27, 2011

  • Reported By: Stephanie — Ocala Florida United States of America
City of Ocala Utilitys
201 SE 3rd Street - 1st Floor Ocala, Florida United States of America

City of Ocala Utilitys When it comes to the utility companys you have no rights Ocala, Florida

*Consumer Comment: Dirtbags in Ocala.

*Author of original report: Please read the whole complaint before judgment is made

*Consumer Comment: Actually

*Author of original report: I see your point to bad you didnt see mine.

*Consumer Comment: If you were a business owner, yourself, you know this can happen.

*Author of original report: Even more fee's???

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I am a single mom trying to raise two kids of my own and 1 other who is living with me until she graduates high school since she has no other place to go. I am not on welfare I pay my bills through hard earned money I make myself by working from home 24/7 I havent had a full nights sleep in a very long time.  

I have had plenty of problems with the utility companies over charging me, and paying it anyway since I have no choice or I will lose my services.

Sometimes I pay my bills a bit late but always pay them . These past few weeks have been insane for me with my checking accounts since I am now trying to save money by closing my business doors and putting everything into my own name I have had to close accounts and so on.. Well I paid my last months water bill and thought it had cleared my bank. As far as I can tell it did. But today I woke up and turned on my dishwasher as usual only to realize it was running dry. No water.

Since I dropped off another payment to the water company a few days ago and have not heard from them I figured there was an outage or someone was working on the lines. So I waited a couple hours for the water to come back on. Finally I called to report an outage only to hear the tech say "this is strange" he said I was scheduled for shut off on the 29th (21 days from today) , I informed him that my bills were paid and he said "I see that" but since my water has  been turned off  I was transferred to billing.

The first lady I spoke to said that my check I wrote a couple of weeks ago for last months bill has bounced and my recent payment I made via check has been mailed back to me. So I asked why wasent I informed so  this shut off wouldent have happened. She responded that I was informed that a letter was sent out today! Well hmmm I thought.. How could I have taken care of this if the letter was sent out on the same day I was shut off.. This lady told me that I ow a total of $261 this includes 2 months of water and fee's..

I admittadly in an unpleasent tone insisted to talking to a supervisor who after questioning her twice about why I wasnt informed told me that I received a phone call about a week ago? Interesting that I had to request this information more than once to get it..  This phone call ofcource was never received by me and since its my personal cell phone number they have on file there is no way any of my children would of answered the call. I have also looked at my call log and I do not see any calls from this utility company. So this was another story.

This supervisor informed me that my bill was now $285 or something like that.. By the way the total of the two months actual utility bills without the fee's im now being charged because of someone else's mistake is 212.00 .. If my check actually bounced the fee would be only $25 the rest of the fee's are because I was turned off.. 

I am also told that the utility dosent have the bounce check that my bank would have it. Well being a business owner myself that makes absolutly no since at all since when a check bounces the bounced check is return to the depositor of the check. So I guess I now have to pay moneys out that I do not know I truly ow .. I admit I was rediculously rude with the supervisor I realized after hanging up I best not call back since I will likely be charged even more phantom fee's if they get more upset with me.

With three other mouths to feed these fee's are insane.. If the utility companys had competition they wouldnt be able to  bully us in such a manner. Thank you for listening

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/08/2011 12:26 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/City-of-Ocala-Utilitys/Ocala-Florida-34474/City-of-Ocala-Utilitys-When-it-comes-to-the-utility-companys-you-have-no-rights-Ocala-Fl-774421. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
3Author 3Consumer 0Employee/Owner
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#1 Consumer Comment

Dirtbags in Ocala.

AUTHOR: anonymous - (United States of America)

You will not find a person in Ocala, that will read your post. They will all judge you and talk sh*t to you. That's all they do.    It must be something in the water.
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#2 Author of original report

Please read the whole complaint before judgment is made

AUTHOR: Stephanie - (United States of America)

its to bad you are not reading what I wrote,

my complaint is this: My services were shut off without any notice what-so-ever!

I had no way of knowing this was going to happen since the utility company did not inform me prior to shut off! Had my check truly bounced why was I not informed?

According to my records my bill was paid to date in full. I received notice 2 days after the day I was actually shut off via postal mail..

I agree fee's should be applied if a check bounced and if the water was shut off because I didnt pay my bill but EACH TIME I CALLED THEM THAT DAY THEY RAISED THE PRICE OF MY BILL!!!! I WAS GIVEN 3 DIFFERENT COSTS FOR MY BILL!!!!!

As a  business owner if a client bounces a check then I have to legally give that check back to the client once that check is paid for.. the utility company claims to have sent my check back to my bank and the only reason for them to do that is to receive payment.. as I have mentioned I closed that account and have no access to it.. it will take 90 days to receive the information I requested.. in that time the water company can send the check I PAID FOR IN CASH back to my bank bouncing it over and over again and could cost me a world of trouble and moneys...

AND AS I SAID IN THE LAST STATEMENT I STATED I AM A HARD WORKING SINGLE MOM TO MAKE A POINT NOT THAT IT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT I WAS PUT THROUGH...

So the facts are I was charged fee's I have no proof I actually ow for a check that supposedly bounced and I have no proof of it nor did I get the check back, with the water company changing the charges on me 3    or for the guy who cant count by numbers THREE times in one day.. I do not trust them to hold onto a check that I paid cash to receive back in my hand..

In anycase the problem will be resolved since I now have an attorney involved.. Hey MR KNOW IT ALL LEARN TO READ BEFORE WRITING!!!
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#3 Consumer Comment

Actually

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

You being a single mom and working 24/7 has NOTHING to do with your "issue".   In trying to read through your reports it seems to come down to one issue.  They are claiming that you bounced a check a couple of months ago, and as a result they turned off your water.

Part of this is that you are claiming that the amount is wrong because you say your bill without fees is $212 and a returned check fee would have been $25.  But you forget that there are other charges such as a Reconnect fee that probably add up to the amount they say you owe.  As for being a "cash client", yes once you have had your water disconnected you are probably no longer considered "credit worthy", as a result they no longer want to accept checks or debit cards from you...they want cash.  As a business owner what would you do if you had a person would pay late, and then have checks bounce?  Would you say "sure no problem, keep sending me checks"?  Just consider yourself lucky they haven't decided to add a "deposit" requirement because of your payment history. 

Anyways back to the "bounced check".  As a business owner you should know the importance of keeping records, and your account "excuse" is nothing but an excuse to try and shift the blame away from you.  If they say it bounced you should be able to go into your records and show that it was cleared by the bank.  At worst if you don't have a copy of your monthly statement you could go to the bank and get a statement that would show it being paid.  A bank will do this for you EVEN if you have closed the account in question.

So did the check you wrote to them clear any of the accounts?  If it did why didn't you get a copy from your bank and show it to them to prove it?  If the bank shows it paid, not only would you not have to pay them the money again, you could make a claim that all other fees and requiring you to be a "cash client" is also wrong because of their mistake.  But the fact that you have not done this probably shows that the check did in fact "bounce" and you are now having to deal with the consequences of this.

My guess is if you looked at the fees you are being charged you are being charged exactly what they are allowed to charge by the Utility Commission and you are being treated no differently than anyone else.  If you think you are being treated differently then contact the Utility Commission that regulates them and file a formal complaint.
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#4 Author of original report

I see your point to bad you didnt see mine.

AUTHOR: Stephanie - (United States of America)

My circumstances are that I am a single parent and yes I work 24/7 . My job is via the computer and answering phones I do not turn these services off even when Im sleeping. I do not get a full nights sleep because I am often awaken by clients in need of my services that is how the 24/7 works. The point I was making here is im a hard worker every penney counts.
 
As far as the utility company I admitted to my latness in the past but that does not give them a right to claim I bounced  check without proof, they did not hand the check back to me and claim they do not have it, infact the supervisor I spoke with claims the check was mailed back to my bank, this is not true, the only reason they would send it back to my bank in the first place is for payment and if they did this then they had no right to turn off my water in the first place. Everytime I called them with another question that day they raised the price of my bill adding more and more fees (Phantom Fee's). I am currently working with an attorney to have my check they claimed bounced returned to me. It is a shame these utility companys can do this and the only recourse is to hire an attorney costing even more. If only they had compitition these things would not happen. Taking advantage of paying customers (yes even though my bill has been late in the past I have paid late fees and all. Not used to having my utilitys shut off) in any case this company knows I have a strong history of paying my bills obviously they were just trying to make a few extra bucks.

Read completly before judging next time.
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#5 Consumer Comment

If you were a business owner, yourself, you know this can happen.

AUTHOR: Ken - (USA)

Your being a single mom raising kids and working 24/7 (not sure how you do this), has NOTHING to do with this "problem" you're having with being "over-charged."

Anytime you have a history of late payments, there is little leeway with your payments in the future.

I guess one of your points would also be, that with "three other mouths to feed" these fees are insane.

I'm not sure if it's practical to charge penalty fees based on one's circumstances...probably not.

As you mentioned being a business owner, I'm a little surprised at your response and carelessness with your utility accounts...you DID say "utility companys."

BTW what are "phantom" fees?  If these are truly, "getting even with you" fees, your states Public Utilities Commission would not be happy with them and would take action.  Turn 'em in if you feel they are just retaliating against you...if not, make it a learning experience....good luck with your life.

Enjoy those extra mouths to feed and try not to look at them as a burden.

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#6 Author of original report

Even more fee's???

AUTHOR: Stephanie - (United States of America)

Ok so after this unpleasent experiance I moved moneys around in my accounts via the internet and tried to pay this bill via debit card on Ocala Utilitys website. It had been mentioned earlier that I am now a "cash client" when I hear this I think ok.. Depit card.. I mean really do you have an extra $287 laying around, This is my bill now btw.   I quickly found out I couldnt pay my bill online so I called to give my debit card over the phone. The utility company wouldnt hear of this and now informed me that to pay the bill and have my water turned back on I had to come into the office and pay via cash.. I wasent well this day and had no way of cleaning up to leave the house and no way of obtaining cash so I asked if they would take a debit card over the phone ofcourse they wouldnt so I hung up and thought for a minute then called back to speak to a supervisor again, the secretary that answered the phone refused to transfer me and was making fun of me at this point, so I asked if they would let my bank wire them money. Also since my accounts are out of state.. I had no immediate access to my moneys and did not have a pin on hand to my debit card so coming in to there office was impossible.. by the way the time now was about 4:40 pm.. At this time Im told if I want my water on today I had to come up with this money and have it downtown into there office by 5:00pm or would have to pay another $50 to have it turned on after hours and even then I only had until 6 pm to get this done.


I finally got the money together the next morning and paid the bill via cash as they asked, im supposedly a cash client for the rest of this year well they need to figure out a way to take a debit card or something because I cant drive downtown each month to pay them moneys, they also need to give  back my checks I do not trust them having possession of these checks. This same company used to be in charge of  my electric service when I first moved to Florida. I had outragous bills at that time and felt I was being over charged then. On months when I did not run the A/C  my average bill would be $400 a month just for electric. Since I purchased a home and moved I have a new electric company, My average bill with A/C running is just under $300 and I keep my house cold :)  Ocala Utility now only covers my water and sewer, I wish I could replace them with this to but unfortunatly im stuck with them.   BTW my current home is bigger  than the property I was renting when I first moved here.
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