Water Company Wants Me To Pay $30 To Activate Service I Already Have

A few years back, after the death of her parents, Consumerist reader Jen took over the running of the house in which she’d grown up. Since then, she’s been paying the bills without problem. But now the water company wants her to pay $30 simply to change the name on the account.

The problem began when Jen recently received a phone call from a Pennsylvania American Water rep looking to speak to her father. She explained to the caller that her father had passed away, but she had taken over paying the bill.

“The woman told me that due to some new laws, she can’t speak to me,” writes Jen. “When I told her the situation, she immediately tells me that she’s turning off my water service because he cannot be billed, and that I must pay a $30 fee to activate service in my name.”

Jen tried to plead her case to a second rep for the water company, but was once again told that it was beyond anyone’s ability to waive the fee and that all “new” customers have to pay this fee.

“I have been paying this bill for three years,” writes Jen. “The only reason I need to change the name on the account is because Some Collections Lady Said So, leaving me stuck paying a fee because my father had the audacity to die.”

Jen recently launched an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb aimed at getting her case in front of the company’s top suits. We have also written to the company’s media contacts to see if we can get an explanation as to why this fee can’t be waived — and why it would cost $30 merely to change the name on an account.

UPDATE: Jen tells us that after her story appeared on Consumerist she received a call from someone at the water company to let her know that the fee is being waived for her.

We still don’t have an explanation from the company as to why it charges $30 to change the name on an account.