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Potentially Bogus Water Bill

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by addaminsane, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. addaminsane

    addaminsane Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am requesting advice about an outstanding issue between a local small business and the city's water department.

    Who Am I?

    I am a local aspiring artist that does artwork for a few local businesses. The question i have is related to a local business where i'm in the process of doing artwork for. Over the past year and a half i have made good friends with the owner, and he has had what I feel to be a possible unlawful oppression from the water company weighing him down.

    Whats the issue?

    Basically, around the time i started painting for him, the water company issued him a huge bill (over $4,000) for water usage that they say he has accumulated. They were and continue to oppress him about this bill.

    Being around the place off an on and learning how the business works, it became my opinion that this bill is simply impossible to naturally occur. At the time he began receiving this bill he had been in business for around 2 years and been making his monthly payments.

    Also, there are several instances now where the company has seemed to misplace his payments which is another potential sign of negligence and potential unethical business practice ... Anyways,

    If his bill averaged even $60 per month, it would take over 66 months for this type of bill to accumulate ... and that is without him paying anything at all. For your info, the business is a hookah bar and $60 per month is probably on the high end of what he could ever average. Water is only used to fill up the hookahs a bit and clean the hookahs and bathrooms. He's open from 4 pm to 12 am most nights.

    In researching the issue i found that around that time they had recently replaced a faulty water meter. if you looked at his water bill since then, it would appear to be a normal bill and that alone seems to be proof enough that there isn't a leak and the water bill shouldn't be his responsibility. If it is from a faulty meter, i can only hope that this may prove that the bill is actually the fault of the water company themselves, in which case, i seek advice on how to proceed against them on my friends behalf.

    Why do i feel compelled to get involved?

    The owner has become a good friend of mine and as an immigrant, his English is choppy and he doesn't feel confident going to court. He's not the type of person take action against a bigger business, and basically, i'm afraid that the water company may be refusing to acknowledge their own ability to error and on top of that are making him pay for their own potential error.

    In response to questions about the bill, inadequate, vague answers have been given such as "Water is Expensive".

    I feel that the company may be showing unwillingness to show that they may actually be at fault, and at the same time, if in fact they are at fault, they are bringing loads of stress onto the owner, who in my opinion has been trying to pay too much money to them for a bill that may actually be their responsibility. If they are in fact doing this to him, how many others may they be oppressing?

    I really want the matter to just disappear, but certain aspects of the situation make me feel that there wouldn't be enough justice done against the potential oppressor if the matter just goes away and they are actually at fault in this instance.

    They continue to oppress him about this bill and threaten to shut his water off which would cripple his business, which is without a doubt one of the absolute best hookah bars in the city because of the owners personal involvement in every detail of the operation.

    I really don't want him to pay any more unearned money to this company but at the same time he is worried that they will shut his water off if he doesn't cooperate. He is so stressed about it right now that he's trying to see if he can simply take the bill out of his own name and start a new bill under the companies LLC.

    I can see that it may be a good idea for him to do that if its even possible, but at the same time it leaves me with an uneasy feeling knowing that a local company may be wrongfully taking advantage of my friend's small business based on their stature within this city and assumption that they could get away with it.

    This possibility infuriates me and compels me to seek advice on what i may be able to do to help my friend get this matter resolved whether it be a simple private negotiation with the company or a need to seek justice in a court of law against the potential oppressor by claiming against them for stress damages and also the literal monetary values he has already given them towards this apparent bogus bill.

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