How to Dispute a Utility Bill

Check writing for monthly bills

As you write out checks for your monthly bills, you notice an overcharge on your utility statement. You disagree with the amount, but the bill is due and must be paid. Although the payment is due immediately, you still have options. Utility companies often make these common mistakes. Being prepared to dispute inaccurate charges will help you rectify the situation and get the results you want.

Step 1

Review you previous statements to determine how your usage was different from previous months. Try to recall the number of days you were home during this billing cycle, which could affect the change in usage.

Step 2

Contact the utility company that sent the bill.. Be sure to have pencil and paper available to write down imperative information, such as the name of the agent, time, date and what you discussed during the phone call.

Step 3

Gaining access to a utility meter

Request your bill be reviewed or a service technician come out to your home. If the utility bill is gas, electric or water, request your meter be reread. Misreading meters can occur when the meter reader cannot gain access to your meter because of a locked gate or pets. If the problem is with your telephone or cable bill, check for any additional charges that could result from long distance calls or Internet services.

Step 4

Ask for an extension on your bill until the discrepancy is resolved, which will give the utility company time to investigate the matter. You should be able to get a resolution by the next billing cycle. If it is an error, you should expect a credit on your bill. If the charge is accurate, make arrangements to pay the amount over time.

Step 5

File a complaint if you cannot resolve the matter. According to “The Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division provides informal mediation and resolution of individual informal consumer inquiries and complaints consistent with controlling laws and FCC regulations, and in accordance with the Bureau's delegated authority. The Division receives, reviews and analyzes complaints and responses to informal consumer complaints; maintains manual and computerized files that provide for the tracking and maintenance of informal consumer inquiries and complaints; mediates and attempts to settle unresolved disputes in informal complaints as appropriate; and coordinates with other Bureaus and Offices to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate, up-to-date information.”