Va. Grandmother Accidentally Overpays Gas Bill by $11,400; Now She's Getting Help

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    It’s a simple mistake: a Springfield, Va., grandmother tried to use her computer to pay her gas bill for the first time and overpaid -- by about $11,400.

    Rita Pearsall said she was tired and had come out of a recent eye surgery when she logged on to pay her $115 gas bill. But she accidentally added two zeroes, and paid $11,500.

    Despite two months of constant calls to Washington Gas and her bank, Wells Fargo, Pearsall said she had not gotten either the gas company or the bank to fix her mistake.

    "It's a big company, and I thought they would be honest and return it,” Pearsall said. “That's what I would do if somebody made the mistake and sent me too much."

    Consumer law says that when the wrong amount of money has been transferred out of a bank account, a customer must make a formal complaint with the bank's representatives. The representatives generally have 10 days to investigate, and three more days to get back to the customer. Even if they haven’t solved the problem, they must credit the account for the missing money.

    Pearsall said she received no check from her bank or the gas company for 49 days. But after Pearsall called NBC 4 for help, Washington Gas responded. By Friday afternoon, a gas company representative had delivered her a check.

    "We apologize for the confusion caused by this situation," a statement from the company read. "We are working quickly to resolve the issue."

    And after NBC4’s David Culver called Wells Fargo, a vice president of the bank also reached out to Pearsall to assure her they would “correct the situation.”

    Pearsall said that after this ordeal, she would be more careful with paying any future bills.

    “I’m going to check everything twice before I send it,” Pearsall said, laughing.