POOLER, Ga. (WSAV) — A Pooler woman says she’s learning the hard way, it can be tough to dispute a water bill you believe is wrong.
She recently paid that high bill in protest to keep her water on. Now she wants to try to get some of her money back.
“Give some type of understanding that I’m not just a consumer not wanting to pay a bill, but I’m a consumer who’s been on this property since 2004,” said Kim Michael Polote, who disputes her water bill.
Polote says she knew something was wrong when she got a high water bill of about $250 in January, $80 higher than normal.
“I emailed them, no response. I called several times and would be on hold and then the call just dropped,” Polote said.
She wasn’t able to reach her company, Water Utility Management (WUM), and said she often wasn’t home because she was spending time at her sick mother’s home so she wasn’t even using much water.
“The first week of March was my first communication where they did send someone and that person indicated there was a leak,” Polote said.
The water company says it’s responsible for a leak from the street to the meter, but if there’s a leak after that leading to the customer’s home, that’s the customer’s responsibility.
“There are no leaks inside the house I asked the water company if there was a possibility the equipment could be malfunctioning,” Polote said.
The company says there’s no indication the meter is wrong. Then came the second high bill which she also refused to pay.
“But today was really the clincher when I called and they told me my service was going to be suspended,” Polote said.
She paid the bill but only because she didn’t want her water turned off.
WUM is a private company and on its website does offer reimbursement for high bills if proof is provided that a leak is fixed.
It also provides a step-by-step process on how to check for a leak including turning the water off, and then doing two meter reads an hour apart.
It’s not known how Polote’s serviceman checked for leaks, but again, she believes there is no leak.
The company told us it has worked with Polote and will continue to support her efforts to resolve her consumption concerns.
That’s not exactly how she would put things. For her, this is not resolved.
“I paid it and I said I want my money back in reference to this situation,” Polote.
Her two bills totaled about $450. The company hasn’t indicated she would ever get a refund. It also reminds customers leaks can be on the outside of the home leading to the meter.