Rocky River couple gets $3,077 water bill, reveals Cleveland Water Department woes

Family was not sent water bill for more than year

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio - Dave and Karen Langford of Rocky River are extremely prompt when it comes to pay their bills. So when their quarterly water bill went missing for more than a year, it produced plenty of frustration.

The Langford's called customer service at the Cleveland Division of Water, repeatedly asking about their water bill, but claim they got nowhere.

"First of all, we couldn't get through," said Dave Langford. "We either didn't get a person to talk to, or the phone would just keep ringing."

The Langford's have always kept a budget to ensure they could meet their water bill every three months.

"We didn't want to get this huge bill and have to pay it all at one time," said Langford.

Sadly Langford's nightmare came true -- his water bill for the final quarter of 2010 was $3,077. His normal quarterly bill is usually just $160.

The Cleveland Division of Water responded immediately to this NewsChannel5 story, and explained the $3077 was an inaccurate projected water bill, an amount it never intended to collect from the Langford's.

The water department explained the Langford's bills were being suppressed due to billing inaccuracies picked up by its computer billing system, and that the Langford's account has now been fully adjusted.

The water department admitted as many as 60,000 bills were being suppressed due to inaccuracies, but in recent months a team of 40 employees has reduced that number to just a few hundred.

"I don't know where the water department is getting its numbers from," said Karen Langford. "You've got to pay attention, compare the bill you get to the bills you usually get, if something doesn't look right then you've got to start calling."

5 On Your Side has received four dozen consumer complaints on the Cleveland Division of Water since November of 2010.

The Ohio Attorney General confirmed it has received 31 complaints on the Cleveland water department, and is working with consumers and city officials in the search for solutions.

"We take the complaints on a case-by-case basis, and get facts from both sides," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "We've received complaints on $5,000 and even $10,000 water bills, I mean just crazy stuff, and we try to help people."

This story is the first in a series of stories will be producing concerning problems and solutions at the Cleveland Division of Water over the next two weeks. Coming up on Thursday moring, we'll give you complete information on the best way to file a complaint with the Cleveland Division of  Water, and get the results you're looking for.

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