Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Misc FYI:  27 pages of letters and email regarding the City taking action against AUM and Concord are at the bottom of this blog site, they would take up to much room to put them on top.  The names and email addresses of those who complained about Stone Harbor are redacted.  Direct link:  http://aumsucks.blogspot.com/2012/10/posted-by-picasa.html

City cracks down on AUM and Concord for ripping off residents with water bills!

PCB closes loophole on water charges
Article at: http://tinyurl.com/9okjm69

 Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 19:34 PM.

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Panama City Beach Council has closed a loophole on an ordinance that allowed apartment complexes to overcharge residents for city utility services.

A city investigation into individual meter readings at Stone Harbor Apartments on Alf Coleman Road showed some residents were billed $9 to $10 per 1,000 gallons of water used, nearly three times the city rate.

The ordinance, which prevents the resale of city water and sewer services by any third party, was amended at the Oct. 11 council meeting, adding language to prohibit landlords from taking utility cost from vacant units or the common areas and distributing it among tenants.

“They weren’t breaking the law, but they weren’t following what we intended the ordinance to do,” Utilities Director Al Shortt said of the complex, which outsources billing to American Utility Management (AUM). Residents “were essentially paying for stuff that should have been absorbed by the community.”
Shortt said the complex, a Concord Management property, was allowing residents to pick up the bills for vacant units and also for the irrigation water in common areas.

The amended ordinance prohibits landlords from charging any more than the city would have charged the tenant, with the exception of an administrative charge not to exceed $3.

“Having the other tenants pay what is the landlord’s obligation, the landlord is making money,” said City Attorney Doug Sale, who provided clarification at the council meeting.

The amendment to the ordinance was prompted after Councilwoman Josie Strange received complaints from residents at Stone Harbor regarding utility bills.

Although the complex runs off one master meter, AUM sets up individual meters at each unit, allowing city officials to determine that many residents were being overcharged for their usage amount.

The city sent a notice of violation and cease-and-desist order to the complex in August, requesting documentation of the actual cost of operating the utility and also information from the third-party bill processor.

Shortt said Stone Harbor residents should see a reduction in their utility bills during the next billing cycle.

“They’re well aware of what they need to do,” Shortt said of AUM. “Now that the ordinance is in place, it should take care of those issues.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

City tells Stone Harbor to 'Cease and Desist'

That's right Stone Harbor residents, in Panama City Beach, Florida, benefitted from a City of PCBs Notice of Violation and a demand for Stone Harbor Apartments to "Cease and Desist" usurious water billings

A resident complained to a City Councilman about the high rates for water by American Utility Management.  The Councilman then brought the bogus charges to the Cities attention and after looking into it the City Attorney sent the below letter to Stone Harbor Partners Ltd, which is just Concord Management under another corporate shell.

Note the line that says they must stop: "charging usurious rates which are far out of line with the City's rates set forth in . . . the City's Code".


Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hey Ed, Read your mail!

Maybe we will see you on TV or in the Papers?

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What others think of AUM

Reviews for American Utility Management see the original site at: http://www.yelp.com/biz/american-utility-management-los-angeles

Nicola G. Bothell, WA 11/13/2011
I think I've had about enough of AUM's expensive charges and poor customer service. They have moving due dates and no grace period so if you miss the day it's due, you get a hefty late fee (due dates range anywhere from a week before the new month to a couple days after the new month). You can't pay online or over the phone without a hefty fee. They're the ugly of corporations. When I move, any apartment complex using AUM will be out of consideration

Amy F. Dayton, OH 2/1/2013
by far the most awful utility company i have ever used. they change your due date every month. they charge you a late fee if you are ***one day**** past due. no grace period. this wouldn't be so bad if there were a convenient way to pay. you cannot pay online or by phone without getting charged a "convenience fee" of 7.50. they do not care about their customers. they are greedy crooks. i send in my check every month a week before it is due and somehow it magically doesn't get there until 2 weeks past due . since there is no grace period, i keep getting late fees. they should be shut down.

Jackie N. Bonita, CA 1/27/2013
I would give less stars if I could. My bill is usually due around the 30th and as of today I have yet to receive it! It always comes in the mail at the last second before it's due but then if you are late they are going to charge you. Of course that wouldn't be a problem if they just let you pay online without charging a ridiculous fee!!

Hello, AUM wake up, we are in the age of technology where people don't send paper checks, it's way easier to just pay online with the rest of the bills and even my rent is paid online. If they expect to make people may by mail they need to get a clue and give at least a week of time to get the bill and get the check out before it is due!! HATE this company...very expensive, poor customer service, high misc. fees... very annoying.

Ricardo R. San Diego, CA 1/23/2013
COMPANY sucks. Outrageous online fees. If you mail your check, and somehow its late its your fault, even if its post marked, WTF!!!!! I mailed it in 4 days before due date.

John R. Colorado Springs, CO 11/26/2012
My experience has been the same as that of other posters. Exorbitant fees: I have documented the major uses of water: laundry, dishes, toilet flushes, showers. For the past month I also have timed the showers: 5 minutes. I am using approximately one third of the water for which I am being charged.

Apartment management refuses to help; no doubt they are getting a big kickback from AUM. (They just signed with them three months ago, probably because they outbid the previous billing service.)

The location, by the way, is Colorado Springs, CO.

As another poster, I wish I could give negative stars.
 
Russ H. Corona, CA 11/19/2012
I just started receiving bills from AUM after reviewing the bill I was charged $10.68 for Water, Trash and Sewer; Granted I signed my lease on the 28th of October, I didnt move into the unit until November 2nd, yet I was billed for services I didnt even use... To top it off, I went to pay the bill online and they want to charge $7.95 to pay your bill online...

I hope that since the complex that I am is now under new management companies, I hope that they will ditch this company. Based on the reviews I read this is going to be a long lease!!!

I would love to start class action law suite against these thieves. If more people are interested, leave the message here, and we will get organized.
 
Vans M Huntington Beach, CA 4/30/2012
AUM IS THE WORST!!! They absolutely change your billing due date all the time and then charge you a 25% late fee if you pay a single day behind. They are horrible. You cannot pay over the phone, you are charged an insane fee to pay online, they are greedy and absurd. Customer service should change their name, as they do not care about the customers and are offering no service whatsoever. If I had any choice in the matter, I would've absolutely switched utility services long ago. I detest paying this bill more than paying taxes. Pure evil.
 
John P. Studio City, CA 5/21/2012
When you look for a new apartment in Los Angeles, avoid those owned by big corporations like Essex or Archstone. The larger the complex, the more likely that they hire a third party to manage utility costs that are not included in your already exorbitant rent. At the Muse in North Hollywood, the hot water is billed through AUM as "energy," along with sewer, water, trash, and AUM's monthly "admin charge."

Because units do not have individual hot water tanks, you pay a portion of the sum total cost of hot water use by all residents in the entire building. As a single person living in a one-bedroom, I was charged $14.27 for hot water last month, billed as "energy." Individual sewer, water, and trash costs were slightly less. My total AUM utility bill averages $42 monthly.

Of the two AUM customer service representatives with whom I have spoken, both were defensive, interruptive, flippant, terse, and at times angered by any question without cause/instigation. As mentioned in prior posts above, AUM will charge you for any "lapse" in which your lease contract is dated and you start and end your gas service. If you start gas on April 25, but moved in April 24, expect a charge and "feel lucky that you were not charged more," as told by one AUM rep.
 

Michael H. Wst Hollywood, CA 9/22/2012
This company is a complete SCAM!!! AVOID any building that uses them unless you want to deal with headaches!! They charge you fees just for using their service that you did not sign up for in the 1st place. That means you are getting charged for them billing you!! On top of that all the bills are over inflated with FAKE water usage charges, and you get charged for late fees even when you send in your payments ontime!! They are a complete SCAM!!! It should be illegal!!

 
Vans M. Huntington Beach, CA 4/30/2012
AUM IS THE WORST!!! They absolutely change your billing due date all the time and then charge you a 25% late fee if you pay a single day behind. They are horrible. You cannot pay over the phone, you are charged an insane fee to pay online, they are greedy and absurd. Customer service should change their name, as they do not care about the customers and are offering no service whatsoever. If I had any choice in the matter, I would've absolutely switched utility services long ago. I detest paying this bill more than paying taxes. Pure evil.
 

Nicola F. Bothell, WA 11/13/2011
I think I've had about enough of AUM's expensive charges and poor customer service. They have moving due dates and no grace period so if you miss the day it's due, you get a hefty late fee (due dates range anywhere from a week before the new month to a couple days after the new month). You can't pay online or over the phone without a hefty fee. They're the ugly of corporations. When I move, any apartment complex using AUM will be out of consideration.
 

Robert F. VALLEY VILLAGE, CA 1/10/2012
AUM is a joke, if I could I would give them -5 Stars
U can wait on the line for more than 45 min without any answer.
How come everymonth your utility bill is completely different?
How 1 person in studio can get a $75 bill for one month for water and trash?
Defiantly this company is run by the best crocks Managment I have ever deal
with.
BE AWARE

Djordje P. Auburn Hills, MI 10/15/2012
I am trying to understand how can a water/sewer/trash bill can go from an average of $35 per month to over $50 per month. ( $50.09 for August and $58.24 for September). Now my water/sewer bill is as much as electricity and gas bill combined.

I understand their billing practices and how they work, with total usage, square footage and everything else. Their billing system makes it even harder to believe these bills, as when you average apartment complex of 600+ apartments, it makes it very hard for a bill to grow by 50%. This would mean that that every single apartment used 50% more water, which is very illogical.

Water is the most constant utility bill throughout the year, and few studies show that inside house water usage varies only within few percent from month to month. People's habits don't change.

I would love to start class action law suite against these thieves. If more people are interested, leave the message here, and we will get organized.

Filip N. San Diego, CA 10/2/2012
I live at an apartment complex that is owned by Essex. UNFORTUNATELY ESSEX USES AUM to manage their apartments utility costs.
AUM charges you a convenience fee of $7.50 every time you pay online, instead of sending them a check by mail. That is just absurd. We should be discounted by paying online instead. Seriously, the less paperwork for a company the less cost, which means more profits.

For every customer who pay online the company does not have to deal with the work of opening mails and to put the checks on their records. Therefore the convenience fee is just a scam. Further, I think they charge too much, and I don't get a record of how much usage I have had during a month, which means that they can easily charge you more than they should.

When I move, I will AVOID living at ANY APARTMENT COMPLEX THAT USES AUM.

Asmma Y. Pasadena, CA 6/13/2012
Worst company ever, there customer support is really bad you feel like they don't want to talk to you and if you ask for the manager they never answer, I don't know how early you should send your payment to avoid late fees, they over charge you and they always have a stupid reason, and they even made us pays late fees for who ever was living in our apartment before we moved in and there is no way to reason with these people. Its like to take a training course in how to be rode to people.

The worst I tell you the worst company everrrrrrrrrr...

================================================

ALSO FYI:
Here is a case out of Minnesota where the State sues Northtown Apartments for excessive charges for water/sewer bills for the residents of the complex. Clearly AUM is a total scam.

See:
http://www.homelinemn.org/wp-content/uploads/Complaint-MN.vs_.Northtown.pdf

Saturday, October 20, 2012

AUM Message board

What has been missing from the AUM issue is a message board so that both annoyed customers and former employees can find out what others think of this 3rd rate utility billing firm.
AUM CEO Michael Miller


A new message board is now up, be the first to post at:  http://aumsucks.freeforums.net/


====================================================

You would think a Republican would know how to run a business!

Miller, Michael G Mr. A.U.M./Executive $360 05/17/2007 P REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE - Republican

Miller, Michael G Mr. A.U.M./Executive $360 06/08/2007 P REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE - Republican

Miller, Michael G. AUM/Executive $500 01/28/2008 P ROSKAM FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE - Republican

Miller, Michael AUM/President $1,000 02/18/2005 P ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PARTY - Republican

Miller,Michael G Mr. A.U.M./Executive $360 02/10/2006 P REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE - Republican

Miller, Michael G Mr. A.U.M./Executive $1,000 08/17/2005 P REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE - Republican

Miller, Michael G Mr. A.U.M./Executive $361 10/20/2006 P REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE - Republican

Monday, October 15, 2012

Even emplolyees don't like AUM and sue them.

The legal reporting site PACER shows a case out of the Northern District of Illinois where a top executive for AUM sued them for violations of the Federal Medical Leave Act and asked 600K. This went for a year and 8 months before it was 'settled'.  


The 4 page complaint is available at the end of this blog:     http://aumsucks.blogspot.com/2012/10/blog-post.html

See PACER for the entire case:  Russ v. American Utility Management, Inc CASE #: 1:11-cv-00943 filed 2/10/11


See:  http://www.carltonfields.com/files/Uploads/Images/class-action-representative-matters-2012.pdf

If anyone has any information on court cases involving AUM please let me know where I can find them: Consumer2012@aol.com


 
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Just one more thing FYI:
 
If you have time take a look at this story from San Francisco about:

"The odd evictions at Parkmerced"
Suddenly, low-income tenants could lose homes over water, garbage fees. Guess who got hired as their utility billing firm? Yeah it is AUM, no wonder why the bills are so high, AUM just makes them up! http://www.sfbg.com/comment/reply/23023