Americans are experiencing a significant increase in heating bills. In October, the US Energy Information Administration reported that “US households that primarily use natural gas for space heating” will see their prices rise 28% this year compared to last year.
However, despite this noted increase, some have reported suspiciously high heating bills. Now a user on TikTok has triggered discussions with her method of contesting heating bills.
In a video with over 105,000 views, TikTok user Mónica Hernández (@monicagreatgal) recounts an experience she had while working in a commercial park in New York. Though she only moved in a few months ago, she said she received a $600 bill for the heating alone.
She is suspicious and says she decided to question her landlord. The landlord insisted the dollar amount was correct. From then on, Hernández used what she calls her “favorite lie,” a lie she says only works if your building is owned by a management company.
“My favorite lie is that my father works for the city. He doesn’t,” she explains. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay. My father works for the city; he’ll be by tomorrow.’ They fixed it right away.’
@monicagreatgal #dadprivilege ♬ Original sound – Mónica Hernández, great girl.
In other parts of the video, Hernández says there were more things she could have done before the bill to avoid being overcharged.
First, she says she could have gotten more information about the meter, including what level it was at when she moved in and how long it was since it was installed.
Next, she says she could have insisted that her landlord communicate in writing. This would have given her more evidence of the landlord’s statements and promises should other issues arise.
In the comments, many users confirmed the effectiveness of the tip.
“My partner works for the city and so does his father. You taught me to use an excuse for things like this,” one commenter offered. “Definitely recommend [works] every time !”
“The threat of involving the city will do it every time they come and find 100 more problems and it will cost them A LOT more,” claimed another.
Some gave further tips, especially on landlord communication.
“Nyc is a consent state for a party if you need to answer the phone/video *audio capture* with time and date,” advised one user.
“Consent state of recording by one party” refers to states where only one party in an interaction, such as a phone call, before the call can be recorded, which means that the landlord does not have to agree to the recording before the recording proceeds.
“My favorite thing to say to them bluntly is, ‘I work for them [Department of Buildings]’It doesn’t work like that,'” shared a second. “It works every time because I actually work for the city of Lmao.”
We contacted Hernández via email.
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*Initial publication: December 3, 2022 at 8:14 am CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/nyc-landlords-heating-bill-hack/ Woman Shares Hack When Landlords Charge You for Heating