Bank Charges SAWS Customers Twice
Computer Glitch Blamed For Error
Brian Mylar, KSAT 12 News Reporter
POSTED: Monday, November 9, 2009
UPDATED: 9:05 am CST November 9, 2009
SAN ANTONIO -- Imagine finding your bank account overdrawn because a company took out money to pay a bill twice.
That happened at the worst time for some people this year and the company in question was the San Antonio Water System.
In the middle of the hottest, driest summer on record, water use was sky high.
At the same time, 651 SAWS customers had money taken out of their bank accounts twice for the same water bill, said Anne Hayden of SAWS.
An e-mailed tip to the KSAT 12 Defenders called attention to "customer payment systems that have serious problems." The e-mail also said the problems caused "customers to have overdrafts ... on their account."
A Defenders search of SAWS internal e-mails and memos showed that Emma Bridges, director of Customer Care, wrote: "I don't have a comfort level with the frequency of the double postings lately. What's happening?"
Another employee wrote: "I would like to understand how we are only just now finding out."
Chris Davidson, a SAWS customer, got a two $221 charge to his account and a returned check fee of $60 according to a search of SAWS records.
"NSF fees can really add up quickly and if you look across 651 people, it can add up," said Hayden, who added that SAWS refunded all of the overdraft fees.
So, while SAWS was selling plenty of water over the summer, it was also refunding customers for their overdraft fees because of a faulty computer server, which has been corrected.
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