AUBURN PLACE X AUM INC UTILITY RIPOFF


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:

AUBURN PLACE X AUM INC UTILITY RIPOFF

AUBURN PLACE X AUM INC UTILITY RIPOFF

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.

AUBURN PLACE X AUM INC UTILITY RIPOFF

AUBURN PLACE X AUM INC UTILITY RIPOFF

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!!!

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8 thoughts on “AUBURN PLACE X AUM INC UTILITY RIPOFF”

  1. The same thing happeded in our community. I want to know the progress. It seemed your water rate is way too expensive. Our water bills have also raised substentially. Everyone complained, but nothing changed. Are they paying back your rental company with the over-charged money?

    1. due to the large corporation that runs the apartments no television station or lawyer wanted to investigate this highway robbery. And all of the residents didn’t want to move things forward as a group and left me on my own. So there is nothing I can update except as usual the little guys get screwed.

  2. My family and I are living in Red Mill Landing apts. in Va Beach (since June ’11). Last two bills from AUM show a $68 and $71 sewer charge. The rate has more than doubled for our usage. I am in shock. Please advise on any resolution you may have had. Office is no help. AUM customer service is a joke. HELP! This is absurd. Did 10 on your side do anything. This is my next step as well as the State Attorneys office for fraud. I would appreciate a reply here or to my email. Thanks in advance.

    1. I have gotten nowhere and no one will give me the time of day. I have really given up attempting to get these people to answer my questions without getting beat around the bush.

  3. See: http://aumsucks.blogspot.com/ and http://stoneharborsucks.blogspot.com/
    Message board at: http://aumsucks.freeforums.net

    PCB closes loophole on water charges
    By Valerie Garman / The News Herald – Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Panama City Beach Council has closed a loophole on an ordinance that allowed apartment complexes to overcharge residents for city utility services.

    A city investigation into individual meter readings at Stone Harbor Apartments on Alf Coleman Road showed some residents were billed $9 to $10 per 1,000 gallons of water used, nearly three times the city rate.

    The ordinance, which prevents the resale of city water and sewer services by any third party, was amended at the Oct. 11 council meeting, adding language to prohibit landlords from taking utility cost from vacant units or the common areas and distributing it among tenants.

    “They weren’t breaking the law, but they weren’t following what we intended the ordinance to do,” Utilities Director Al Shortt said of the complex, which out sources billing to American Utility Management (AUM). Residents “were essentially paying for stuff that should have been absorbed by the community.”

    Shortt said the complex, a Concord Management property, was allowing residents to pick up the bills for vacant units and also for the irrigation water in common areas.

    The amended ordinance prohibits landlords from charging any more than the city would have charged the tenant, with the exception of an administrative charge not to exceed $3.
    “Having the other tenants pay what is the landlord’s obligation, the landlord is making money,” said City Attorney Doug Sale, who provided clarification at the council meeting.

    The amendment to the ordinance was prompted after Councilwoman Josie Strange received complaints from residents at Stone Harbor regarding utility bills.

    Although the complex runs off one master meter, AUM sets up individual meters at each unit, allowing city officials to determine that many residents were being overcharged for their usage amount.

    The city sent a notice of violation and cease-and-desist order to the complex in August, requesting documentation of the actual cost of operating the utility and also information from the third-party bill processor.

    Shortt said Stone Harbor residents should see a reduction in their utility bills during the next billing cycle. “They’re well aware of what they need to do,” Shortt said of AUM. “Now that the ordinance is in place, it should take care of those issues.”

  4. I want to know if this is Legal, I am paying MLGW of Memphis TN. one Bill and AUM another Bill, its funny that they both come about the same time. AUM Bill is not very high, however, its the way they have it itemizes, Sewer $6.64, Water,$6.14, and AUM ADM. charges $285. The Bill is due 11/4/13, but Amount due after 11/4/13 Is $25.63 much higher that my regular MLGW Bill which is $61.58 is due 11/31, if received after that is $64.54. I due to believe that AUM is a SCAMMING the Tenets of this complex which is HUGED. I wonder if this is legal with MLGW or even if they know because the owners of this Apartment complex is in New York. I am going to post a question to a Lawyer and see what they think, because MLGW could be in with AUM. But in any case I think its a RIPOFF, just like their Apartment Insurers requirements they just implemented.
    I love the input on this site and I will continue to visit and post my information and see what progress the Tenets in Virginia is making.
    GOOD LUCK.
    S.G.

    1. I have personally been shot down by local lawyers , TV Stations and other tenants that also were effected by this BS billing. This isn’t only happening here as you and several other states who have been involved with AUM are experiencing the exact safe problems.

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