This bill is not a huge amount every month, which is probably why not many people question or complain about it. But I have this problem with being ignored (and scammed)…
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
October 22, 2015
Community Utility Billing Services
PO Box 1530
Hemet, CA 92546-1530
Since I do not know the specific contractual relationship between my apartment complex, Core Vistas, and its contractor, Community Utility Billing Services (CUBS), the questions in this letter are directed at both entities (and also to those who have been copied, listed below).
This letter will continue the discussion in my letter dated June 23, 2015 regarding an alleged past due balance owed to CUBS for certain utilities. Please inform me which state or federal statute allows CUBS to charge late fees every month for a balance which consists only of disputed late fees.
Is there such a thing as a late-fee scam? This is the language found in small print on the back of the CUBS bill:
“Past Due Bills and Late Charges
If your payment is not received in full, by the Due Date each month, a late fee is assessed. To avoid late charges, please submit your payment a minimum of five business days before the Due Date listed on the bill.”
Which is the correct Due Date — the one listed on the front of the bill, or as its described in the small print on the back of the bill? This is not only confusing, but appears to be an easy (but illegal) way for CUBS to charge late fees, which all of my neighbors complain about.
Additionally, by the time my monthly CUBS bill arrives in the mail, it’s too late to mail the payment so that it’s received by the 26th of each month, which appears to be the real Due Date. And I believe that CUBS is holding check payments and depositing them after this mysterious Due Date in order to charge late fees. My recent payment to CenturyLink was mailed and run through my bank within three days — how come it takes CUBS so long to deposit my payment?
Please inform me how the late charge is arrived at — is it a percentage of the balance of just a random figure? The monthly late fee charged by CUBS looks usurious to me, and since I’m paying for public utilities through CUBS, I believe those entities have regulations regarding late-fee charges that CUBS must also follow.
Also inform me of the percentage of tenants at my apartment complex who have been charged late fees by CUBS every month for a 6-month time period. What percentage of CUBS’s income is from its high administrative fees and how much does CUBS make from late fees? I’m not a lawyer so I can’t determine if this late-fee scam is legal or not. However, it’s up to CUBS to prove that it’s not running some kind of scam by providing an account of what I’m paying for.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires creditors to respond to a request for information by the debtor within 30 days. My first written request for information was mailed June 23, 2015, which CUBS has totally ignored. Although the manager at Core Vistas has acknowledged receipt of my letter (and that she discussed the letter with CUBS), and further said that the information would be forthcoming, nothing has been received as of this date.
My water bill is obviously not tied to my individual usage, as I significantly reduced my water usage over a period of several months with a corresponding increase in each month’s bill.
An outside faucet was installed this year close to my front door. I was under the impression that it was required by building codes and regulations for emergency purposes, but so far, it’s only been used by the cleaning company.
It’s impossible to miss the amazingly loud sound of the steam cleaner, which for some reason is often used in the evenings by JC Cleaning Services. And this work takes some time — about an hour or more — and a lot of water. Please inform me as to who pays for the water used from my building by JC Cleaning. I will also need Core Vistas to provide copies of JC Cleaning invoices for services requiring water from my building for a 6-month period.
I’m also curious about who pays for the water used in the sprinkler system for the grounds.
Since carpet cleaning requires hot water and the use of gas, please inform me as to who pays for the gas used from my building by JC Cleaning. Additionally, please provide the same back-up information for the gas bills as I have requested for the water bills.
Trash and Sewer
If I don’t receive any response to this letter, my next letter will include requests for information on the trash and sewer bills. (Are we having fun yet?)
Because CUBS is in violation of the FDCPA, I am sending a copy of this letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since Core Vistas acts as a bill collector for CUBS, it is also in violation of this Act. A copy of this letter is also going to the water and gas companies, along with this request to supply the billing information for my apartment building which CUBS and Core Vistas have refused to release to me. As stated in my June 23rd letter:
“Additionally, I’ll need you to provide copies of the bills for this building, so I can see exactly what I’m being charged for and how the charges are allocated.”
cc: Kara Buchman, via email
Water Utility Authority
P.O. Box 568
Albuquerque, NM 87103-0568
New Mexico Gas Company
P.O. Box 97500
Albuquerque, NM 87199-7500
Also posted at: https://painkills2.wordpress.com/