For Hannah Hollier and her family, the problems with Bessemer Utilities started almost from the moment they moved into their home in 2016. After a couple of months of unusually high bills, she figured out the system had switched the meters for her home water with her sprinkler system.
"We had paid, if you can imagine, sewer in the middle of the summer on sprinkler usage which was quite high," Hollier says. She says the utility promised to make an adjustment on her bill, a credit for the extra money she'd paid but told her it would take awhile.
"I called, called, called, still no sewer adjustment," Hollier says. "I called in January of the following year and said, 'has this sewer adjustment been made' and they said, 'oh we don't even see you on the list.'"
While she was waiting on the adjustment, Hannah had a past balance collecting late fees every month, but she said she was repeatedly told not to pay those late fees, they would be wiped away when the water system credited her account.
Then in July of last year, she says a customer service worker told her they had actually credited her account in October 2016, something that never showed up on any of her bills.
"I said that can't be right. I brought in all these papers and said I see no credit on all of these bills I got, and then every time I called someone in your office would tell me the credit hasn't been made, just pay your current balance. What I will not do is pay these late fees, because I've been calling you and you haven't told me I had a credit on my account. That's what I'm still waiting for. From July of this year, I've called 2 more times waiting for someone in accounting, they continue to tell me her name. I call and call and leave a message and never get a return call back.”
Now Hannah has hundreds of dollars in late fees and is still waiting for that callback.
So WBRC FOX6 On Your Side Investigator Jonathan Hardison called Bessemer Utilities’ General Manager and told him about Hannah's problem, and while we were waiting for a response, Hannah contacted us to say the utility's general manager reached out to her to promise they would resolve these late fees this week once his accounting staff returns to work from having the flu.
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