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Expat fury as Britons hit by huge £46k water bill as mayor claims ‘you can afford it’ despite faulty meter readings

today18/12/2023

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Expat Brits who were hit with a staggering water bill of £46,000 in Spain have been told by the mayor that “you can afford it”, despite admitting to the meter readings being faulty.

One couple who saved for over a decade to purchase a property near Malaga were sent an eye-watering water bill of €6,000.


Howard Kilduff, 69, and his wife Jane, had “penny-pinched” in order to save up for their €300,000 beautiful three-bed villa.

However, now their plans to further renovate the property will be put on hold. The couple are also fearful that their bank accounts and homes being embargoed if they do not pay the bill.

A council of a town near Malaga in Spain has overcharged its expats on their water bill

Getty

The pair are not alone, as other expats in the town of La Viñuela have come forward to state that they had also been overcharged.

Gillian, who splits her time between Spain and Scotland, received a bill for €73,640, or around £64,000.

It said she used 2.6 million cubic litres of water – around 600 litres per house – over two quarters.

Gillian lives with her husband Tom in a three-bedroom home and says there is no way they could have used nearly that amount of water.

“I couldn’t believe it at first when I saw I owed €73,640.

“I just felt raw panic. I’ve been overwhelmed with stress since I saw the bill last month,” she told Mail Online.

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Gillian and husband Tom Gillian and her husband Tom were charged £64,000OLIVE PRESS

“I’m not refusing to pay for the water. We’re just refusing to pay €70,000. We don’t have the money and even if we did, it’s still entirely wrong.”

The village mayor has insisted that nothing is wrong with the council’s billing systems.

He also claimed that the residents of La Viñuela, which mostly consists of expats, could afford to pay the steep fine.

Annoyed expats have reportedly claimed that they feel that if the Spanish were being sent the bills, then they would not be forced to pay.

Lee Talbot, 63, an expat from Canterbury, has since turned off the mains supply to his six-bed property, after being sent a bill of €3,600 last month.

Talbot legally complained to the town hall, who admitted that there was a small error in the reading.

However, they only took off €600 from the bill.

“’Now pay up the rest,’ is basically what they told me,” he said.

“It was like checkmate. But they never released the actual report into this investigation they claimed to have done.

Annoyed expats have reportedly claimed that they feel that if the Spanish were being sent the bills, then they would not be forced to pay.

Annoyed expats have reportedly claimed that they feel that if the Spanish were being sent the bills, then they would not be forced to pay.

Getty

“We still don’t know how they made their calculations. It’s shocking.”

La Viñuela town hall admitted last year that there was a “technical glitch” on their computer systems.

It came after the council only sent out the water bills after sitting on them for months.

The council has also not published its accounts for 2022, an excuse that has been treated sceptically by many residents.

Mayor Jose Jimenez infamously said in a newspaper interview that “if the residents used the water, they must pay – and they can pay.”

The town hall continues to swear that each case is different, and it is just a coincidence with no common cause.

“Such huge bills are almost impossible to justify,” the former expat mayor of neighbouring Alcaucin, Mario Blancke, said.

“Something has clearly gone wrong there.”



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