Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Exhibit # 592 - Lake Worth Utilities Customer Service

This is an e-mail that was forwarded to me by someone who just bought a house in Lake Worth. He may be about to sell his house in Lake Worth due to the treatment he received at the Utility Customer Service office and general cluelessness at City Hall. Here it is, without address or identity:

Title: welcome to lake worth ( I DON'T THINK SO !!!)

As for the goverment here I am really turned off by the attitude of the
employees I have had to deal with since buying my house at XXXX Some Street.

My first water bill came 3 weeks after I purchased the house and as you know
I had not even moved in as I had a lot of painting and cleaning to do yet my
water bill came in charging me for 5000 gallons. I called the utilities dept
and explained that the house has been unoccupied the whole time and I was
only one using water for cleaning and rinsing paint brushes there must be a
problem with the meter, as we had already tested for leaks.They sent a man
out from the meter dept. I met him there he had me turn on the hose for less
than a minute and said "The meter is fine maybe I should watch that my
neighbors weren't stealing it."I TOLD HIM THAT I DOUBT THE POLICE DISPATCHER
SCRUB-UP UNDER MY HOSE.Then I said that looking at the meter for less than a
minute is in no way a test and it needs to be removed and calibrated
because its obviously malfunctioning he then said he has worked at this
over 20 years and NEVER seen a meter overcharge only
undercharge.AMAZING!!!Anyway he said he would stop by daily for the next
week and see what it is registering and let me know I said again it needs to
be replaced.Well I never heard from or saw him again.Now I move in a month
ago yet out of this month here I was out of town for one week out of four.

New bill arrives they are charging me 12000 gallons(TWELVE THOUSAND). I call
meter dept and I am told the man that came out said its fine I explained how
he tested it was a joke.Now I am told by (THE ONLY REASONABLE GUY I HAVE
DEALT WITH YET) Jesse, to go to the annex and see if they will send out a
work order to his dept and he will replace the meter.

Now hold on it gets even worse.I go to the annex and try explaining to a
clerk named Ladai( I hope that's the spelling since she told me she didn't
have to give me her full name).I explain the whole story and she says". It
says 12000 gallons you have to pay it." I ask that my meter be
removed/calibrated and replaced and am told "They are not gonna do that". I
ask to speak to her supervisor, as I was doing what Jesse in meter dept had
told me to do. She goes back talks to someone and says they will send work
order for replacement I ask when, "Don't KNOW", I ask for a correction on
bill as I live alone was only there three weeks and don't even have
sprinklers that work In my 25 years in broward I average 2000-2200 gallons a
month. Ask that when the meter is replaced test the old one and credit me
for the fault she says. "they won't". I tell her I am not going to continue
to pay on a bad meter she walks back to her superviser comes back and says
says, "we will see what happens." I ask again will you then credit
me....answer 'DON'T KNOW'. I ask for the name of the lady she keeps talking
to she says Brenda I ask for Brenda's last name, she states, "I DON'T HAVE

At this point I have had enough. Even people in the lobby that overheard me
are saying how I am being ripped off.I tell Ladai I am new here, could she
tell me who the city manager is, she says "I DON'T KNOW." So now I am off to
city hall. Upon arrival I see the information desk so I tell the lady
sitting there I just purchased a home here and would like to speak with the
commissioner for my district, I live at XXXX Some Street, her exact
words "I HAVE NO IDEA AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIND OUT"...(welcome to where
the tropics begin ). They need to update their slogan to: WELCOME TO YOUR
WORST NIGHTMARE! I told my friends in Lauderdale who were looking up here to
buy a house and also my brother to stay clear of Lake Worth.

Again thanks for your welcome but I could never stay in a city with such a
lack of respect for the citizens and staff, who aren't even sure who they
work for. Many of my neighbors have complemented me on the way I have
improved my house, well that is over, I am putting it up for sale.

Our Mayor's response - the one that made the campaign promise to have his cell phone number by every customer service point in the city.

Obviously, we have customer service issues in our city that need to be fixed. I apologize to your friend for the poor treatment he received.

Regarding our front desk at City Hall, due to many factors, we have eliminated the City Manager's assistant and moved Valerie to the Clerk's office. Our new receptionist obviously has a lot to learn about the city, but should have taken the time to get a number and call back the resident with the correct information.

As for the water meter, it is almost physically impossible for a water meter to run fast. When they begin to fail or get old, they actually run slowly. Most Lake Worth residents are probably being undercharged.

Thank you for bringing these customer service issues to my attention. I will work with our new city manager (who starts today) to be sure they are addressed.