Family keeps getting utility bill for sold home



Posted on October 12, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 12 at 7:08 PM

Marge Morgan was a physicist whose love of science was only surpassed by her passion for life.
“She was smart. She was funny. She was, you might say, a little crotchety,” says Tim Swetonic, Marge’s son-in-law. “I'm not sure she liked me when I first met her, because she would call me by the wrong name sometimes.”
Don't be fooled, Tim and Marge got along wonderfully. However, two years ago, Marge passed away. And a year later, the family sold her home in Oak Harbor.
“It started off as one of the things you have to do in dealing with someone's estate and you have to do it. But when it keeps going and going and going, it's extremely frustrating,” says Tim.
Frustrating because the family kept getting bills from Puget Sound Energy after the home was sold and the final bills were paid.
“They kept wanting proof that the house sold,” Tim explains. “She faxed in the closing statement and the bills kept coming.”
The bill was only $122, but Tim and his wife had done everything they were asked by the utility. Then the account was tossed into collections.

Upset by the whole process, Tim gave me a call. I gave PSE a call and asked them what happened. They told me the bill may have been for the month between the house closing  and when new buyers moved in. Tim says he paid that bill too.

Either way, PSE stepped up closed the account.

“They had forgiven the debt and they promised to close out the collections efforts also it was a quick resolution,” says Tim.

Here are some tips so this doesn't happen to you.

  • If a loved one passes away, let the utility know who will be responsible for the bills.
  • Get documents like death certificates and closing documents if the home is sold together. They may be required together to close accounts for a number of businesses.
  • Finally ask the utility when you should expect a final bill.