Written By: Monday, June 12th 2017

Like any other homeowner Denise Salles from Mountain View, California receives a stack of bills each month. And like most people, she didn’t give these payments too much attention. Her eye would usually go straight to the amount owed, and that’s what she would pay.

Overpaid by $5,400

In recent days, Salles has gotten a painful lesson in how that trusting approach can go wrong. She learned a longstanding error on her utility bills had caused her to overpay more than $5,400 over the course of 20 years.  She is now demanding a refund from the city, but while city officials acknowledge they overcharged her, they say they have no obligation to pay back most of it.

Denise would probably still not know she was being overcharged if the Mountain View Finance Department last month hadn’t notified her of the error in her sewer bill. A city accountant explained that Salles’ townhouse had been incorrectly charged for two sewer connections, instead of the one hookup she actually used. But the most startling thing about the error was how it compounded over time. The city had been over billing her since 1996, when she first bought her house.

Only being reimbursed $1,050

In the letter, the city’s account technician said the city was refunding Salles for only the last three years of overcharged sewer bills, or about $1,050. He noted this was more than the city was obliged to pay back.

Doesn’t seem right, but what is written in the small print rules.

Do you look closely at your bills?

Here’s the question, do you take a real close look at what you are being billed for with all your monthly bills?  Have you ever uncovered an error?