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Eau water silly billy

[27 April 2012] ‘Water bill’, announces United Utilities’ water bill as it gushes out of the envelope. Huge lettering, too. No mistake about what this piece of paper is. Yes, it’s a decently designed water bill for a change, which enables you to figure out just how much eau you owe for. What’s more, it says ‘Amount due £732.59’ in the same massive type. Yes indeed – when water’s involved, only a big font will do.

UnitedUtilBillBut there’s a problem. The homeowner doesn’t owe United Utilities any money at all. United Utilities knows this because it’s been told the house is unoccupied and has sent a big refund for last year’s charges. Nowhere in the two pages of bill, though, does it hint that the amount due is not, in fact, due.

So what does the worried homeowner do? Well, obviously, he gets on the phone straight away to rattle their cage a bit. ‘The bill says I owe you £732.59 but I don’t think I do.’

‘No you don’t, sir,’ says the person, viewing the bill on screen, pray don’t worry your pretty little consumer head about it.

‘But it says it’s a water bill, in big letters.’

‘Yes, it may say it’s a water bill but I can assure you it’s not a water bill.’

‘But it says it’s a bill for £732.59.’

‘Yes, sir, I know it looks like a bill but it’s actually not a bill.’

‘So why does it say it’s a bill if it’s not?’

Here we leave the happy pair in conversation for a few hours as, like chess players, they seek to avoid a draw by repetition of moves. 

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