David Dresden and Laura Ortega recently bought their first home together and got married. They told NBC 6 Responds they were settling into their new life, after having been through a stressful few months.
“It was tough,” Dresden said. “We kind of went into a panic for about six months.”
They said the panic started a few months after moving into their home, when bills from Miami-Dade Water and Sewer started coming in.
“And it just incrementally got worse and worse,” Ortega said. The first alarming bill was for almost a thousand dollars, they said.
“We asked them what was going on,” Dresden said. “How could two people that use one bathroom get $900 worth of water running through their home in a three-month span.”
The bill that followed was even higher, so the couple hired several plumbers to check out their home. They also tried to get the water company to lower their bills, but found out they didn’t qualify for any credits.
“We had no recourse with them,” Ortega said. “They said the most we can do is put you on installments and you can pay it in increments.”
The couple also requested a certified meter test.
“They made it a point to tell us, you can do a certified meter test but I have to tell you that 99 percent of the time it comes out that it’s a perfectly normal reading,” Ortega said she was told when she asked about the test.
While they waited for those results, the couple asked the NBC 6 Responds team for help.
“We were going at every single avenue we could,” Ortega said.
“It was like a part-time job trying to figure out how to resolve the issue,” Dresden added.
A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department confirmed the couple didn’t qualify for any adjustments and only offered to extend their payment schedule to lower their monthly payment.
“We were resigned,” Ortega said. “We were defeated because you can’t go to war with the one utility. I mean, you know, where are we going to get our water?”
But Dresden said when he tried to make a payment a few days later, he got some confusing information.
“When I called they said you can’t make a payment because you have a credit,” Dresden said.
The water company later told NBC 6 Responds the results of the certified meter test came back and showed “…their meter was slightly off of standard operation parameters,” so they issued a credit for more than $3,100.
At first, Ortega said she didn’t believe it.
“I had this ingrained sense of distrust,” Ortega said.
The couple said they were relieved and thankful they could move on and focus instead on building their lives together.