I am a current resident of Auburn Place Apartments in Virginia Beach, Virginia. We were let known toward the beginning of the year (2010) that our current water sub metering company ISTA would be replaced by AUM Inc(This company has more than 66 Better Business Bureau Complaints and NUMEROUS LAWSUITS CURRENTLY about their billing and metering practices from the West Coast, Chicago, and now the East Coast). At the time I really didn’t sense any type of issue with this switch. We were notified as well that the bills for the first few months would be slightly higher than our current bills mine was right around $65 at that moment, so I figured how much worse could it be?
February 5th I paid the remainder of my water bill and was assured my current bill cycle with ISTA was complete and I verified through ISTA that I had a ZERO balance on my account and thought all was okay. March 1st I paid my rent and was told that I had an outstanding water bill of $170. Which I was shocked and really angered quickly. I tried inquiring why this amount was so high and I was told that the past water company (ISTA) was behind on their billing by 2 months. Which really isn’t my fault as I have paid for my water bill monthly since moving in in 2006 without missing a monthly payment. I quickly found out with a pouring in of residents behind me in the apartment office that were also hit with super high bills and given the same excuse. My current thought was if ISTA had a billing problem that is totally between the apartment and that billing company. I paid my bills as did all the tenants of the complex. Now we are getting slammed with a *phantom* 2 month discrepancy amount owed that **JUST** surfaced as we were receiving our new bills from AUM Inc. This began the ball rolling as the anger not only in myself but the 168 unit community as well. This Scan is from the FIRST AUM Inc. Bill Statement:
Now as I really question this shady bill , I venture on the web for maybe some answers of some kind. I was contacted by fellow tenants the happened to come across my own questions on the web. We put our heads together and they delved quickly into the shadiness of this bill. I was informed that as per Virginia State and Virginia Beach water and sewage federally regulated rates which this bill represents WAY more than that amount. And as far as billing ANYONE out there can verify from their own bills that sewage charges are ALWAYS lower than water usage charges. In the bottom portions of each bill (summary of usage header in each picture), we were informed that the USAGE number needed to have a 0 added to the end. Making my usage for the 11/27/09-1/10/10 9,470 GALLONS of water for a 3 person family in a 2 bedroom apartment for a 45 day period. To break that down with day by day usage my family would have to use (9,470 divided by # of days in billing cycle 45) 210.4 gallons of water a day!?!?!?! With our basic usage of water maybe 1 hour or less a week there is NO WAY we utilize that much water each day. I work a 12 hours shift job, my little girl goes to full day kindergarten, and my wife works 9 hrs each day. We all sleep and do not have a yard to water,outlet to wash my car nor take lengthy showers, or do an over abundance of clothes washing (maybe 4 loads a week). My average usage with the prior company ISTA was on average over 4 years 5,786 Gallons of water each month. So a 4,000 GALLON JUMP for this new billing company is fraudulent and not even possible (even with the text book reply of there must be a leak).
With this discovery I had made plenty attempts to get answers from the Apartment Manager , Angela Little. Which gained NO HELP WHATSOEVER. I was such a nuisance as well as other tenants that we were now directed to call the corporate office (Debbie Gibson Regional Property manage for The Breeden Company). That was pretty much the same answer if and when they actually returned calls and gave just a basic dog and pony show about a bill problem with ISTA and how we are catching up. The AUM customer service retards aren’t worth the ink their bill uses. They can only quote you word for word what the bill in front of you says and of course ask the good ole phrase ,”Is there a leak?” Ask to speak with a supervisor and you get the same runaround and or a voice mail that doesn’t get responded to.
We can now fast forward to current information.My most recent bill was even more astounding. I was now billed for 49 days of usage and somehow managed to rack up 10,650 Gallons of water use! That breaks down to 217 gallons of water use each day. AMAZING! In the below scan you can compare the above Summary of Usage and the Current and see how the RATE changes in each category from SEWER .0923 to a Higher .0944 and Water from .0579 to .0566. Once again an illegal move according to the federally regulated water and sewage rates of Virginia and Virginia Beach.
This straw broke the back. Myself and several tenants put our heads together and headed out with copies of what we have found out. We knocked door by door to see who else is actually affected by this water bill scam. We were able to contact 50 residents in person. And they were equally if not MORE outraged from this water bill scam. They bills ranged from as low as $100 for a single person in a 1 bedroom apartment to as high as $268 for a 2 bedroom 4 person family. Now this is ALL current for the 49 billing period (1/11/10-02/28/10)
We got caught up with so much feedback that it was getting late. Our fliers were then left on doors not to disturb families at night. The notes that were left were quickly ripped from all doors that still had them come morning as to cover up the actual notice to ALL residents they are not alone in the anger from these rip off water bills.
Throughout the day,individuals that did get their notes called,emailed and text messaged the contacts on the page continually. In the afternoon the vice president of the Breeden Company called the individuals listed and wanted to confer a meeting to discuss this situation. whereas everyone replied it is not a 3 person issue, it is more or less a 168 unit problem.That meeting will be next week. And shortly after that call WAVY 10 ON YOUR SIDE, a local investigative news show called people who wrote into investigate this highly complained about issue. With NUMEROUS faxes and phone calls traded, they contacted the PRESIDENT of The Breeden Company who Admitted there was a problem but it could not be pinpointed at the moment where the problem was. I call BULLSHIT! This supposed Utility company switch was done in November as per all the feedback we have received. So since then this problem is JUST NOW DISCOVERED?? I think NOT. AND THIS IS NOT A UNIT SPECIFIC PROBLEM THIS IS A BREEDEN RENTAL COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. EVERY BREEDEN PROPERTY IS GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING! SCAM-TASTIC!!!
So as a heads up for everyone out there, KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN AND DON’T LET ANY RENTAL COMPANY SCAM YOU WITH A SUBMETERING COMPANY!!! UPDATES WILL BE FORTH COMING!!!