Man double-charged for garbage pickup gets refund

KSAT Defenders help speed up refund process


SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio man who found out he was double-charged for garbage pickup now has a credit on his bill thanks to the KSAT Defenders.

Jess Dewett lives near downtown and was inquiring on the phone about his CPS Energy bill recently when he said a CPS Energy representative noticed two garbage fees listed on the bill.

"They asked if I had two residences, two addresses, and when I said no, they said, 'Well, you've been overcharged,'” Dewett said. “'You've been charged twice.'"

He said the bill for the house have been in his name for seven years but that he has lived there longer than that.

When he added up the overcharge, he was shocked. "The total was around $1,400," Dewett said.

The city’s Solid Waste Department bills for garbage collection, which is added to his CPS Energy bill.

The KSAT Defenders contacted Tiffany Edmonds, the Solid Waste Department spokeswoman, to ask about how the double-charging happened.

CPS Energy was also contacted in hopes of expediting a credit to Dewett’s account that he was told could take two months.

"It was our mistake and we take ownership of that mistake and we want to make sure our customers are happy," Edmonds said.

She said his account may have been coded wrong.

Speculation also involved the detached garage and the two front doors on the home. Solid Waste approved a credit and CPS Energy quickly got on it.

The only hitch is that only three years of double-charging was refunded.

"Three years is what we are allowed to provide him back due to the Chapter 14 ordinance," Edmonds said, referring to a city rule that limits the city’s liability in cases like these.

The fact that the city made a mistake and kept money that it did not earn but only has to pay part of it back does not sit well with Dewett.

"If they take money that they weren't owed, then they should give all that money back," Dewett said.

He wants that rule changed so that victims of overcharging can get all of the money back no matter how long ago it happened.

Edmonds said this is another example of why customers should check their bills closely.

She said a single residence with no extra garbage carts should be charged $19.43 per month. She said customers should call 311 if there is a problem.

For a list of recent stories Brian Mylar has done, click here.


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