Can I sue the City water Company.

Latest post 03-23-2013 8:06 PM by adjuster jack. 9 replies.
  • 04-12-2011 8:26 PM

    • One_guy
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 04-13-2011
    • GA
    • Posts 1

    Can I sue the City water Company.

    Here's the short version.

     

    Small town city water company.

    twice in 3 weeks shut off my water for non-payment.  First time was my fault as I forgot to pay bill.  2nd time I have not received bill.  

    They have a notice on the bill that says that they don't sent out late notices or disconnect notices, but the city ordinance, listed below, says that they are required to send notice and also to hand deliver notice before disconnect.  They did not.

    I am not looking to sue for profit, I just want my late charges & reconnect fees back and also have them start following the law or change the law.  I would also like to see them refund the reconnect fees to all customers that they have disconnected without notifying them as required by city ordinance.

     

    Sec. 31-10.  Cutting off service; reconnection charge; enforcement of charges; execution. In the event that charges for city utility services remain unpaid for five (5) days after the fill or account is due, such account or bill shall be considered delinquent, and the following termination procedures shall apply: (1)   A written "notice of disconnection and termination" shall be forwarded by first class mail to the billing address of the customer. This notice will contain the total current amount due, and will state the number of days the customer has to make payment before termination of services. This notice will inform the customer that he/she may request an informal hearing with the city clerk or other person(s) as designated by the mayor or city administrator to discuss the account in question, and that services will not be terminated pending any hearing request if there exists a true dispute over the facts or amount of the customer's obligation. (2)   Should any written notice as described in subsection (1) above be returned by the U.S. Post Office undelivered, then an additional copy of said notice shall be hand-delivered to the customer or occupant at the billing address of the customer or at the address of the property using utility services. If the premises are unoccupied at the time the notice is served, then the notice shall be left at a conspicuous place on the premises of each party entitled to receive the notice as provided herein.

    Questions 

    1 - Do I have a case?

    2 - What type of lawyer do I need to contact regarding this ?

     

    Thanks in advanced.

     

    One_Guy

     

     

  • 04-12-2011 9:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the City water Company.

    One_guy:
    Do I have a case?

    Looks like the city has disobeyed its own law. I'd give it a shot. No guarantees though.

    One_guy:
    What type of lawyer do I need to contact regarding this ?

    Any kind of lawyer. This is basic.

    However, do you really want to pay a lawyer $300 per hour that you won't get back?

    Your best bet is do it in small claims court.

    One_guy:
    I would also like to see them refund the reconnect fees to all customers that they have disconnected without notifying them as required by city ordinance.

    What goes on with others is none of your business and your lawsuit will have to only address your cause of action, nobody else's. If others want to sue it's up them to do it.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 04-12-2011 10:08 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,156

    Re: Can I sue the City water Company.

    You may not be popular but it sure seems like utility folks willfully avoided following the rules of the game --and in the process probably rendered your home legally unfit for habitation--no water tends to do that.

    Now if a large number of folks got shut off it might be an interesting class action suit--but personally I'd not waste the time.

    Locally the city owned water utility overdid shut offs -and the next result was a court order than turned into a near unworkable sequence of notices to turn off--a fiedl day for every deadbeat not to payhis water bills---so be careful of waht you may start.

    Water firm might be smart to unofficially waive all its fees and turn you back on--push a few buttons at top level?



  • 03-23-2013 2:50 PM In reply to

    sounds familiar

    You wouldn't happene to be in Dallas Ga?

    We are having similiar problems.  They not only cut us non payment twice (we get less than 30 days to pay, no cut off notice if we don't get the bill in the mail or it falls behind the fridge or something there is no way to avoid disconnect), but we paid we paid the reconnect fee (in advance) they said they would turn it on on Fri (they're written rules is next day service which would be a Friday, and then they didn't turn it back on until monday.  I am at this moment ewith no water service because they didn't turn it on withi  the time they said they would after I Paid the fee.

    Pretty disappointing to have a local government mess with me instead of serving me.

  • 03-23-2013 3:07 PM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,440

    Re: Can I sue the City water Company.

    One_guy:
    I just want my late charges & reconnect fees back and also have them start following the law or change the law.

    I would start with the Public Works Director and the City Manager (or Mayor).  Lay it all out for them in as calm a manner as possible.  Let them know that you made a mistake the first time, but they messed up the second.  Accept responsibility for the first reconnect charge and late fee, but let them know that the second was uncalled for and that you would like those charges credited to your account or refunded.

    If they refuse, get on the agenda for the next Council meeting and make your feelings known to the entire City Council and any news media that happens to show up.  If they still refuse to act on your request, take it to your neighbors and the media.  The court of public opinion is pretty powerful if used correctly.

    As far as a possible lawsuit, do the math figuring $250/hr for the attorney plus a retainer versus your reconnect and late fees.  I suspect that it won't take you long to figure out which makes more sense if you don't prevail in court. 

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 03-23-2013 3:55 PM In reply to

    Re: sounds familiar

    You haven't figured out how to turn your water on and off at the meter?

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 03-23-2013 4:35 PM In reply to

    Re: sounds familiar

    Georgia uses a special wrench that the water company owns.  It isn't possible to turn it on at the meter.  They went to this years ago when customers started doing just that when disconnected.

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 03-23-2013 5:17 PM In reply to

    • DPH
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 10-08-2001
    • TX
    • Posts 7,440

    Re: sounds familiar

    ClydesMom:
    Georgia uses a special wrench that the water company owns

    Wonder how many plumbers have them, know where to get them, or how to make them?

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 03-23-2013 5:27 PM In reply to

    Re: sounds familiar

    DPH:

    ClydesMom:
    Georgia uses a special wrench that the water company owns

    Wonder how many plumbers have them, know where to get them, or how to make them?

    None that I know of.  I have two friends that are plumbers and neither of them would do this if asked to if they did own a tool that would work nor would they attempt to build one that would.  

    While I am sure there are unscrupulous people out there that would try, Georgia is pretty draconian about pursuing people criminally who interfere with ulitities.  It is NOT a recommended option. 

     

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 03-23-2013 8:06 PM In reply to

    Re: sounds familiar

    ClydesMom:
    Georgia is pretty draconian about pursuing people criminally who interfere with ulitities.  It is NOT a recommended option. 

    Seems to me if you've already paid for the water service you ought to be able to turn it on and off at the meter if you have to. I can understand "criminal interference" if you're stealing the water without paying for it.

    I use one of these (available from Home Depot):

    http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/9d/9d63920a-a5c1-43d9-ad56-d84e086e8bc7_300.jpg

    I have some water lines that go from the meter straight to my back yard. Calling the water department when I work on the lines is not an option.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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