G-MW has apologised to thousands of irrigators after discovering a nine year old charge that has been levied incorrectly.GEOFF ADAMS June 11, 2013 4:06am
Thousands of irrigators will get a refund from a charge that Goulburn-Murray Water has incorrectly applied for almost nine years.
The ‘legal fee’ was charged to about 3400 accounts of customers which had been referred to G-MW’s debt management agency.
G-MW has apologised for the error.
However, at least one irrigator affected by the charge is pressing on with legal action against G-MW and wants to gather more irrigators to launch a class action.
G-MW said the incorrect charge was discovered during legal action and Invergordon farmer Ian Phillips believes his legal challenge over an overdue account was responsible for the back-down.
He said he refused to pay the charge when it was levied on a late account last year and during the legal action G-MW had cut off his irrigation, costing him about $200
Mr Phillips hasn’t paid the outstanding charge and is continuing his legal action.
Mr Phillips claims the water corporation didn’t follow the processes of its own debt management policies.
‘‘My water was cut off while this complaint was raised and they are not supposed to do this under the Essential Services Commission rules.’’
In a letter written in December, a G-MW manager said the process applied to Mr Phillips had been reviewed and approved.
Mr Phillips, angry at how he had been treated by G-MW, said the dispute could have been resolved much earlier.
‘‘They need to change their culture and get a bit more customer friendly.’’
He has advertised for other irrigators in a similar situation to contact him or his solicitor.
‘‘This is not finished.’’
G-MW said the legal fees ranged from $5 to $36 and reimbursement would cost an estimated $34
Irrigators will not be paid interest on the money owed to them.
Head of customer support Philip Hoare said G-MW was sorry for any confusion or concern caused by the charge.
‘‘G-MW is working hard to enhance the customer experience and values the business of all its customers,’’ Mr Hoare said.
‘‘We apologise unreservedly for the error.
‘‘We would ask that any customer who is unclear about the charge or the credit that has been applied, to their customer account are encouraged to contact G-MW.’’
A G-MW spokesperson said once the incorrect charge was discovered the corporation moved quickly investigate the issue and sought advice on the validity of the charge. Once that advice confirmed that the charge had been applied in error G-MW sought to rectify the mistake immediately.
Asked if any irrigators lost access to water because they refused to pay the legal service fee only, the spokesperson said this would not have happened.
Legal Services Board chief executive officer Michael McGarvie said he was aware of the incorrect charge but his board had no direct involvement in the issue.
He said he was aware of G-MW’s action in dealing with the repayment and was satisfied with the process.
A man suffered serious burns to his face and chest after a butane can explosion caused a fire at a Shepparton house yesterday.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Murray Shire councillor Geoff Mackenzie says allegations of gender bias regarding the appointment of a new general manager for the shire were based on misinformation.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Lions star recruit had a tough introduction to the GVFL.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Heathcote's Union Hotel is continuing its record of fundraising for the Royal Children's Hospital.
Moira Shire Council's new chief executive says he will 'establish a standard of behaviour' as part of an overhaul of the organisation.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Benalla mother Denise Cooke will hold an Anzac Day tennis event to raise funds for the Cambodian orphanages from where she adopted her children.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.