Published: Jan 13, 2011 12:38 AM EST
Updated: Jan 12, 2011 7:38 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A real estate company lost in a paperwork nightmare, contacted Call for Action for help.  Now we're getting results.

The company David Cooke works for manages and sells foreclosed homes for banks, and makes sure the electricity is turned on.  But now, that flip of a switch is costing his company big money.  So he asked us to take action.

"It's a multiple shell game where I don't even get to take a look at the shells until the one gets opened up," David Cooke explained.  He told us that he spends about half his time playing a numbers game with his electric bills.

"It's a major maddening, accounting nightmare," he said.

David's employer, #1 Real Estate Services in Fort Myers manages and sells bank-owned homes.  That means, turning electricity on and paying the utility bills until a new owner takes over.  After paying all the bills, David submits them to the bank for reimbursement.

"If you don't get the bills in, in the form that they need, which I specified, in the form of a final bill, they don't reimburse you," said David.

For a while, everything went fine.  David has more than 100 accounts open with FPL.  But for David to get reimbursed from the bank, he needs a final bill for each individual home.  He says FPL started applying some of his deposits to other bills, leaving him with no clear final bill or paper trail.

"Since the end of August, I kept receiving these 'General Adjustment Refunds,' and I would call up to their business office, which I had dealt with, and I would say-- what-- I need final bills."

Without them, David couldn't prove to each bank exactly how much money they owed him.  David told us he was more than frustrated.  That's when he decided to get in touch with Call for Action.

We called FPL and asked about David's paperwork mix-up.  FPL told us they plan to meet with David in person to figure it out.

Meanwhile David says he's stuck in a paperwork nightmare.

"I can't do other things.  I cannot be doing other things when you have to spend time straightening this out."

We're happy to report that FPL sent its team out to meet with David on Monday and David tells us they spent five hours with him trying to sort things out.  He's hopeful that eventually everything will be resolved.  

Meanwhile, FPL sent us the following statement about David's particular case:

While FPL's customer privacy policies prohibit us from addressing the specifics of this customer's account, this particular customer has a very unique situation with about 200 different accounts in his name. In an effort to help this customer, we have assigned a dedicated customer service representative to help simplify his bookkeeping and have been working with him almost daily over the past month. We also sat down with the customer one-on-one to go through his accounts individually and provided him with tips to better manage his accounts online.

 

The vast majority of customers do not have similar issues, but we do offer a variety of different billing arrangements to help customers manage multiple accounts. If customers choose, we can create one master account to help with bookkeeping. This allows the deposit requirements for each separate account to come out of a master account while still keeping the regular charges and final bills separate for each individual account. While the accounting and bookkeeping can still be complicated due to the volume of accounts, this can help simplify processes for the customer.

 

We encourage customers with any billing-related questions to contact our Customer Care Center by calling the number at the bottom of their bill and also take advantage of our online billing services which provide free access to billing statements and payment services via www.FPL.com