Orchard Dale Water District Complaint - Improper Billing Practices

Review by D. on 2011-04-25
WHITTIER, CALIFORNIA -- My previous tenant forged my signature to obtain services at Orchard Dale Water District in Whittier CA.. I was unaware of that the tenant took this action nor was I aware that as an owner in the Orchard Dale Water area, they requested this affidavit prior to turning on the service. While speaking to a gentleman that stated he was the General Manager at Orchard Dale, he stated that the bill was mine and suggested that it was I who selected this tenant and it was my fault that for choosing that person (suggesting I should have known this person had low integrity). Since I choose to have this person living in my rental  home this was similar to running a Business, therefore I am responsible for any debt the renter may have left.. He also included that if I did not pay the bill, he would then place a lien on my home, “and at no cost to him since HE is a government official, working at a government company and only monitors themselves” and “not even the County or City can tell them what to do”. He went on to say, that all of this information and rules are posted on their web site, they have public meeting all the time with agendas posted prior and it is not his responsibility to inform each individual within their area about the rules that apply while doing business with his company. I thought that comment was odd, considering they made no effort to verify that it was indeed I who signed this much needed document.. But of course when the payment became past due.. They were able to find me without any hitch!  After repeating himself several times that he would “place a lien on my home” and then have this reported on my credit… I asked.. “I thought in order to report a delinquency on someone credit, don’t they have received a service”? The General Manager then began taking a tone and stated that it was I, that was convoluting the conversation.. Every time I asked a question or challenged the logic of Orchard Dale’s business practices, the GM became even more condescending. It got to the point, that when I stated that I would need to began attending these meetings to attempt to make some suggestions and or changes.. He openly laughed and said, “There nothing you can do about it”.  The General Manager went out of his way to make me believe that If I had a complaint about being billed for services I did not receive, there nothing or anyone that I could complain to, he was it! Prior to hanging up, the GM made it a point to tell me “repeatedly”.. He would not turn on any water for my home going forward until that debt was settle.. I understood the logic of that comment, but I did not understand why the GM went out of his way to make it sound as a threat.. So when I responded, “okay, well I don’t live there.. so your threat doesn’t really affect me”. The GM reminded me one more time, he would place at lien on my home at no cost to him. Orchard Dale Water District was able to send me a past due bill at a cost of $0.35 cents, why did they not apply the same effort toward verifying the owner approved this?
Comments:4 Replies - Latest reply on 2011-05-03
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-25:
Wow, the GM sounds like a total jerk. If your former tenant did, in fact, forge your signature, did you call the police, or file a report? I would also sue them in court. How much is this water bill anyway?

I can understand the part about how these utility companies work though. When I first moved down to myrtle beach, I called my water company (grand strand water and sewer company), I spoke with a very mono-toned woman who set up my account. There were outrageous fees, 75 dollar deposit, and a 95 dollar fee to "turn on" the water. My water was already on. She told me "well it shows its off so we still have to charge a fee." so I had to pay 95 dollars for them to do absolutely nothing. Its sickening, but what can you do? you need water, and they know that! They know they got you by the danglers and they can do as they please. The electric company was easy. I had to pay 15 dollars. Thats it. No deposit or anything. I would have expected having a worse time with the electric company than the water company.
Posted by D. on 2011-04-27:
Update: The very Next Day my new tenant stated they did not have any issue with turning on the water.. A few Hours later I received a call from Orchard Dale. Female Rep stated that she was unaware that her GM stated he would not turn on the water until the debt had been settled and that she was instructed to send out a 48hour notice to the tenant that the water would be shut off. It sound like to me, that this GM is making this up as he goes and is holding a grudge! Thoughts?
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-27:
I am a landlord also. And it is true that as the homeowner, you are responsible for utility debts if your renters don't pay, and they can and will put a lien on your home. I would ask the utility company to send a written copy of their policy regarding delinquent payments. One of my old tenants did not pay their cable bill, and when my new tenant tried to set up new service at that address, they were told that service could not be set up at that address until the previous tenant's bill was paid in full.
Posted by D. on 2011-05-03:
There should be some notice for those companies to the owner of the property.. This sucks, because if you dont find out about the bill for three months, you have already cut a check for their deposit..

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