Account confusion leads to water shut-off notice for 61-year-old KC woman

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Water. It’s something you take for granted until you don’t have it as Eloise Bostic is about to find out.

The 61-year-old great-grandmother just got out of the hospital when she received the bad news in the mail. It came in the form of a shut-off notice from the Kansas City Water Department.

The notice said she would immediately be shut off unless she paid her bill: $239.97.

Bostic doesn’t dispute that she owes the money. But she insisted the water department already has most of it.

That’s where Bostic’s story becomes complicated.

After a string of costly medical problems, Bostic filed bankruptcy more than a year ago. Because of that bankruptcy, she had to open a new account with the department, which required a $220 deposit.

Eloise Bostic

But Bostic said she never got a chance to use that new account because her bankruptcy was dismissed. So she’d like that $220 deposit to be applied to her current water bill, which she said is under her old account.

When she asked the water department to transfer the deposit, she was told no. The reason given? The water department hangs onto deposits for two years.

“Why are they going to keep my $220 for not a year, not 90 days, but two years ?” Bostic asked.

FOX4 Problem Solvers couldn’t understand why either. The department’s own rate book shows that deposits can be refunded once an account is terminated.

So we called the Kansas City Water Department. The news wasn’t good for the 61-year-old.

Although Bostic believed she was still being billed on her original (pre-bankruptcy) water department account. She was wrong. She’s being billed on the new account opened after she filed bankruptcy.

That’s why she can’t have her deposit back. It’s a security deposit on an account she is still using.

So this is a problem we can’t solve. The water department has every right to keep a security deposit on an active account. That means the only hope for Bostic is to find a way to pay her outstanding water bill.

“If I have to pay them, I have to pay them. I need my water,” she said.

Bostic has already reached out to several charities for help and is hoping she hears back. She said she’s never had her utilities shut off before and she doesn’t want to start now.

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