Don't Waste Your Money: Check bills to avoid overpaying - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: Check bills to avoid overpaying

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(Toledo News Now) -

Most of us check our utility bills every month, but we rarely scrutinize them, which can come back to bite us. One Ohio woman ended up overpaying by thousands of dollars for nearly a decade.

Imagine discovering you have mistakenly been overcharged for a service for years, so you turn to the city or utility and ask for a refund. It sounds simple, right? It's actually not, but there's a lesson here for everyone. 

Paid And Paid And Paid Some More

Jayme Ritter puts her trash cans outside her southwestern Ohio home weekly and pays her trash pick-up bill every quarter. But it turns out she was too good about doing it. 

The homeowner recently learned she has overpaid her trash bill for almost a decade.

"According to Public Works," Ritter said, "We've overpaid by $2,185 over the course of eight years."

It turns out she was paying the rate for a three-family home, which it had been many years ago.

"The previous owners had changed it from a three-family home to single family home," Ritter said. "However, the building department and Public Works never changed it." 

 

Ritter expected the city to refund her money. Instead, it offered her just half of her $2,000 overpayment, she said. To make matters worse, the city would not issue her a check. The officials wanted to give her the money over six years, in the form of monthly credits, Ritter said. 

No Money To Help

Why not the full amount? One City Councilman said he sympathizes and would like to help, but the money's just not there. 

"The city has financial problems, and they are trying to work through that," explained Councilman Tom Whittington.

So Ritter took the city to small claims court, where she says she was rejected on a technicality, and now has to file again.

So we went to the top, making a visit to Ritter's town mayor and safety director to try to get some answers. That too, resulted in a dead end.

"It's still in court," said Safety Service Director Joe Geers. "She lost in court, and there's an appeal process. And per our legal people, we can't comment."

So a simple trash bill overpayment is now locked up in legal limbo. Ritter said she just wishes she had taken a closer look at the bill years ago. 

Lesson For Homeowners 

There's a lesson here for everyone: Check your bills. Whether it's a trash bill, water bill, phone or cable bill, look at it every time it arrives. 

If it seems unusually high, pick up the phone and ask about it so you don't waste your money.

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