Customer, City of Columbia at odds over water billing issues

Customer, City of Columbia at odds over water billing issues

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - When it comes to paying bills, Richard Tinneny chooses the paperless billing option to keep life simple.

He relies on e-notifications each month to help him pay bills on time, which is why he was shocked when he received a notification last month that his City of Columbia water service would be shut off.

"I just figured something happened in the system, and then I went back and really looked at my system. I looked at my bank system. I looked at my computer system. I looked in my spam folders. You know, I found nothing," Tinneny said.

Tinneny says he immediately called customer service and got up to date on his bill. And when an e-notification never arrived for the next billing cycle, he made call number two.

"She said 'Oh, we've had problems sending them out to AOL customers, BellSouth customers, and Roadrunner customers. So that's why you didn't receive the bill,'" said Tinneny. "So I said, 'well did you send out a notice to those customers from those providers?' She said, 'No.' I said, 'Well did you revert to paper copies then?' She said, 'No.' So, I said, 'Don't you think that would be good business practice?'"

Tinneny's now warning his neighbors to be extra diligent to check their bills. But the city says what Tinneny was told isn't necessarily accurate.

"We believe the provided unverifiable information about these specific service providers based on a few anecdotes and because these are the major providers in the area. We don't have any definitive information suggesting a major email service provider is having difficulties processing our email packets," Utilities Communications Manager Victoria Kramer said. "If a customer believes this to be the case, they should report this to their service provider. The service provider may be able to offer assistance in setting up the customer's account so they can receive the information."

Kramer went on to say that no matter how customers normally receive their bills, they can request another copy from Customer Care at (803)-545-3300.

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