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LegalKnowledge, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 28013
Experience:  10+ years handling Legal, Real Estate, Criminal Law, Family Law, Traffic matters.
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Moved into a house feb 2012 sold and moved out May 2013. Never

Customer Question

Moved into a house feb 2012 sold and moved out May 2013. Never received a bill from united water in new jersey. now someone came out and said i owe $3000 for water used in that time period. The amount of water they claim is absurdly high? Just got this bill on 6/25/13 and they already put into collection. what can I do here?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good afternoon. Did they say why they never sent you a bill? When you moved in, in 2012, did you have to set up an account with them? Did you advise them that this was the first time you received something? Additionally, when living there, did you ever pay a water bill?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

They said that it was my responsibility to call them when I moved in and because I did not know to call them I did not and they claim they didnt have anyone to bill because I did not call.I did not set up any account when i moved in. I never paid a water bill while I was there I advised them this was the first bill I received.

Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
Howard, thank you for the additional information. From a legal stand point, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to make sure that the bill is set up in their name. Moreover, unless you lived in an association where the water was included with the maintenance, there would be a presumption that you knew that the water bill needed to be paid and it is not free. It does seem odd that they claim they did not have anyone to bill and yet now, discovered you the the owner. In situation where the bill seems high, a request can be made for someone to come out and check to make sure there are no leaks or something is causing the increase in the bill, outside of what would be normal use. You do have a right to ask them to break down the bill month by month and see how much water was used and you can even ask them to go back out to the subject property, to investigate. If you just got billed, there should be no reason that they sent it to collections, unless of course this is "past due". The argument can be made that they just billed you for the first time, so it is not yet do. In a situation like this, they can file suit if the bill is not paid. It is going to be hard to defend the lawsuit based upon the fact that they never billed you in the past, so they should not be able to bill you now. The water was used and it should have been known that someone had to pay for it. You certainly can work out a payment plan with the collection agency, advising them of your current situation and seeing if they can allow you to pay this off monthly AND waive any possible interest as a result of the facts surrounding this. A $3000 for 15 months of use comes out to $200 per month, so depending on how many people you had in the home and/or the amount of use, it may not be that high. They admit that they did not know who to bill, so that is something which you can use to try and get them to waive any fees or interest, which may be added in, making the amount so high

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Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 4 years ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!