CLEVELAND - Lynne Eiben of Brecksville is just one of dozens of residents who have contacted NewsChannel5 about the Cleveland Division of Water over the past two years.
Eiben said she called water department customer service representatives several times when her water and sewer bill stopped coming to her home.
"I had not seen a bill since October 2009," Eiben said. "I was concerned I would get way behind in my water and sewer payments, but I couldn't get any answers."
Eiben said she finally received a water bill several weeks ago, but was stunned to discover the bill was for $4,275.
"My quarterly water bill is usually around $230," said Eiben. "The huge water bill sent to my home was so ridiculous all I could do was laugh."
Eiben said she called water department customer service three additional times about her huge bill, she even sent a certified letter to water department headquarters, but got no results.
"No one at the water department could help me, so I contacted 5 On Your Side Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis," Eiben said.
NewsChannel5 took the case to Cleveland Division of Water Headquarters and Public Utilities Director Barry Withers, in the search for a solution.
"A meter reader made a mistake," said Withers. "We needed to be more aggressive in following up on this case."
Withers promised water department customers service representatives will receive additional retraining and coaching in the coming months, hoping to improve customer service response time and accuracy.
The Cleveland Division of Water will also move forward in creating a "one call resolution center" this coming spring.
"When a water department customer calls customer service, they should be able to get all the answers they need from one person," said Withers.
Water department officials said Eiben's $4,275 water and sewer bill has now been reduced to less than $300.
When calling customer service about an inaccurate utility bill, it's important consumers ask for a customer service supervisor, if they aren't getting the help they need.
Customers can ask to have their water or electric meter re-read, or have a technician come to their home to have the meter tested for accuracy.
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