I-Team: CFA turns up heat on botched budget billing - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

I-Team: CFA turns up heat on botched budget billing

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

It's a lesson in budget billing, a popular option for paying a utility bill. I-Team's Dana Fowle looked into the story of a woman whose utility bill became so confusing that event the utility company had trouble figuring it out.

The scenario: an elderly woman, a fixed income, budget billing and suddenly a $600 utility bill.  How did that happen? Well, Call for Action stepped in and sorted out a very messy billing situation.

The price of gas has gone up and for people on a fixed income, like Willy Cox, the rise and fall of prices can be a cause of worry. The 78-year-old woman opted for her utility company's budget billing option.    

How does it work? Let's say last year you paid $1,200 for gas. Budget billing takes last year's total and spreads it evenly over the upcoming year, so your bills are more predictable. In this case, during the next 12 months you would expect to pay $100 a month.

Your bill stays consistent unless gas prices spike.  Or, you use more gas than you did the previous year.  In that case, you would pay the difference in December.  It can be a few bucks.  Or, you can be like the Cox's and get a $683 bill.

Janice Cox said, "I was told that she got to pay that $683 before they can put her back on the budget plan. My words to them were that she's not going to pay it."

Here's why.  For months on end her bill clearly said "DO NOT SEND ANY PAYMENT." Credits appeared all over her bill again and again. But, in reality, the elderly woman's bill was mounting because for months she hadn't paid.  Then, with no previous warning that she was behind now on her utility bill, she got a cut off notice.  

Janice Cox said, "And I felt they should have sent some sort of correspondent saying continue even though your statements say not to pay, you still should be paying your bill."

Communication broke down so the Cox family called FOX 5 Atlanta's Call for Action -- the Fox 5 consumer negotiating team -- and got this $683 bill sorted out.  There was a mistake.  The utility company's billing was out of whack.  So they cleared Willy Cox's tab.  All of it.  

Janice Cox said, "All fees was being waived."

There are two take-aways here: The utility company tells the I-Team it's reviewing its budget billing procedures.  They are - admittedly - confusing.  And, if anything about your bills seems odd - both the company and the consumer in this case agree ask questions.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Patient: Hospice company failed me too

    Patient: Hospice company failed me too

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:37:56 GMT
    The state is now looking into a defunct hospice provider originally investigated by the Fox 5 I-Team.
    The state is now looking into a defunct hospice provider originally investigated by the Fox 5 I-Team.
  • Hidden fees in checking accounts: Who's transparent, who's not

    Hidden fees in checking accounts: Who's transparent, who's not

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:10 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:10:06 GMT
    We already know about some of the fees our banks charge -- the monthly fee, the overdraft charge, out-of-network and minimum balance fees. That's standard stuff. But did you know that the average checking account has 30 fees attached?
    We already know about some of the fees our banks charge -- the monthly fee, the overdraft charge, out-of-network and minimum balance fees. That's standard stuff. But did you know that the average checking account has 30 fees attached?
  • Judge mulling sanctions related to ethics trial

    Judge mulling sanctions related to ethics trial

    Monday, August 25 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-08-25 22:29:27 GMT
    A judge is deciding whether to sanction the Georgia attorney general's office, the state ethics commission and the commission's director for not releasing certain documents in a whistleblower trial.
    A judge is deciding whether to sanction the Georgia attorney general's office, the state ethics commission and the commission's director for not releasing certain documents in a whistleblower trial.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • Dr. E, Erik Fisher on parenting and time management

    Dr. E, Erik Fisher on parenting and time management

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-09-01 14:14:51 GMT
    Licensed psychologist and author Dr. Erik Fisher talks about parenting and offers a plan to help busy families with time management.
    Licensed psychologist and author Dr. Erik Fisher talks about parenting and offers a plan to help busy families with time management.
  • Labor Day cookout with Righteous ‘Que

    Labor Day cookout with Righteous ‘Que

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:19 AM EDT2014-09-01 13:19:33 GMT
    Righteous ‘Que stopped by FOX 5 Monday morning for a Labor Day cookout! From brisket tips to "Redneck Salad," here's everything you need to know for a perfect holiday barbeque.
    Righteous ‘Que stopped by FOX 5 Monday morning for a Labor Day cookout! From brisket tips to "Redneck Salad," here's everything you need to know for a perfect holiday barbeque.
Powered by WorldNow

25 FOX Drive
Dedham, MA 02026

Phone (781) 467-2525

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices