Utilities Director Dainae Prejean said citizens have been receiving letters that are not coming from the city or any other public agency regarding their water lines.
“It is a private company that is soliciting your business in order to obtain insurance to prepare water lines within your property,” Prejean said.
She said she has contacted the Louisiana Attorney General’s office “in regards to consumer fraud and also the Better Business Bureau.”
The BBB acknowledged that they are receiving many complaints about Homeserve USA, the company sending out the letters to residents.
Prejean quoted the BBB describing the correspondence which tells residents that they are responsible for their water lines, leaving them liable for repairs “which could potentially cost thousands of dollars.”
An 800 number and deadline are included to enroll in the coverage.
The mailing seems to come from a government agency. The BBB says while the mailing is correct in that home owners are responsible for water lines from the street to their meters, the warranty coverage is optional, not mandatory.
Residents are warned to never agree to a contract over the phone; to read any contract carefully, making sure of a clear understanding of it, especially regarding exclusions; check homeowner’s policy to determine if coverage is already provided, and contact the insurance company for details; and make sure the contract has a reasonable cancellation policy.
The company is asking for a credit card number, Prejean said.
“It’s nothing that we are condoning at all,” she said.