LUBBOCK, Texas — One Lubbock man was shocked beyond belief when he saw his City of Lubbock Utilities bill pending in his bank account, and it was over 250 times more than the usual amount.
“I thought I’d been hacked!” said Mike Toombs, recipient of this bill. “All of a sudden, I see there is a negative $7,800 in my bank account.”
Toombs had checked his account to see if his IRS return had come in, but what he saw turned his world upside down.
“The City of Lubbock Utilities had billed me $52,000,” said Toombs.
Toombs said as soon as he saw this, he went straight to the bank who issued a stop payment on the bill.
“It just floored me. I thought ‘How could they do this?’” said Toombs.
Next, he called the City, who asked if he was sure he hadn’t left any water running.
“Even if I did have a leak, I couldn’t have leaked out $52,000 worth of water!” said Toombs.
The City eventually told him it was most likely an accounting error, but Toombs said his meter read was also completely off.
“I still haven’t heard from them as to what the issue was whether it was the software or that of data entry somebody misread the meter,” said Toombs.
Finally, they issued a new bill totaling just $226, and since he cares for his mother and niece, had the original bill gone through, he said the situation could have spiraled quickly.
“I just wanted to get to the bottom of it cause. I’ve been under a lot of stress anyway,” said Toombs. “I should have had a call within fifteen minutes, not waiting, and at least an apology and that we’ll get to the bottom of it.”
Toombs said his bill is usually between 2 and 3 hundred dollars, so he can’t believe the City didn’t catch their mistake.
“They should have known it was an accounting issue, so I just felt like there is no harm in asking to pay my bill,” said Toombs. “Yeah, I know I use the water and whatever, but like I said, if the circumstance were that it had gone through my bank, we would have been in a dire situation.”
He’s looking for answers but hoping his story helps someone else from getting a charge like this one.
“I just want to know the people here in the City of Lubbock who use the utilities to check their billing and see if it’s correct,” said Toombs. “$52,000 is a lot for anyone’s bank account.”
Toombs is looking for that apology and hoping to never happen again.
We reached out to the City of Lubbock Utilities regarding the issue and, so far, have received no response.