UPDATE: June 16. The AyA admitted to an error and will be correcting all May bills. See full story here.
UPDATE June 13: Never did get the email, but did get an adjustment to my water bill, a whole 5,000 colones reduction. I know owe for the May billing 29,046 colones. My average for the 12 months prior is 6,000 colones. Another call will be on Monday. Stay tuned.
(Rico’s DIGEST) Keep an eye on your utility bills, especially water. My water bill for the month of May is ¢34,000 colones, almost six times my monthly billing for the past 12 months.
I can’t tell you why. Have had no leaks in the house. We are the same two people and now 3 dogs. Yet.
The hysterical. Normally one visits the nearest office of the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) to complain and have the bill adjusted or have the institution investigate.
The process is important for two reasons. One, it automatically stops collection on the bill in question, that is you don’t have to pay until there is a decision by the AyA and won’t see your water service cut. And two, the complaint has to be made during the billing period, forget about after the pay date has passed.
While the AyA website allows users to check on their current and historical billing, report problems with water service (averias in Spanish), check on current and planned water cuts, etc, filing a complaint is no easy matter.
One, you really have to look to find the link to the complaints page and second, it is about sending an email.
With the water utility, it is less stressful to visit an office than navigate their website or make a call. Part, you never know if the email gets trough, since response is slow, if at all.
Since my bill comes due on June 2, I decided Thursday would be the perfect day to visit the AyA Santa Ana office, on Friday I have a vehicular restriction.
The office is closed. The wachiman (parking lot attendant) informs me it has been for more than a month. All due to the coronavirus pandemic. How nice. Could have been useful to have that information on the website. I doubled checked, it isn’t.
There is a number posted at the closed door, the same 800 number for all other AyA things.
I call the number, admit it wasn’t a long wait, less than 5 minutes. I had my cup of coffee ready, my phone on speaker and replying to emails, following up on current events etc. After the first minute, the short message constantly repeated over and over became background noise.
Finally, I got to a speak to a live agent. She took my information, confirmed it was my billing, my email and phone number and after an unusually long pause – completely dead air, I wondered if I had been hung up on – she came back on, told me my complaint was recorded and that I would get an email within 5 days (next Friday).
In the event I don’t get the email, she asked me to call back in.