• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

How valid are 'User Agreements' if you didn't 'agree'?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


Junior Member
What is the name of your state?California

I called my Water District to inquire why my water bill went from $65.12 to $29.66. I was informed that they had 'billed me for the incorrect lot size' and that for the past 20 years they had overcharged me for water. I was also informed that they would only refund for 4 years of overpayments. At no time did I make any comments that this would be acceptable.

Two weeks ago, I received a check for $1748.30 for four years of 'overbilling' and a copy of the 'user agreement' with this section highlighted:

J. Reimbursement...
Upon written application of a Water User, the District will allow a credit against water charges to the extent the Water User has paid water charges erroneously levied by the District in excess the proper water charge, provided that the credit will not apply to charges levied more than four (4) years before the application the credit was filed.

I'm wondering if I will be able to collect additional monies based on the following:
I did not agree with or sign this 'user agreement'. The Water District is responsible for performing timely audits to insure that their billings are correct and finding an error after 20 years is inexcusable. I paid my Water bills on time, in full and on good faith that the billed amount was correct. I believe that I am still owed approximately $4000 and that I should be reimbursed for the full amount which was overpaid. And finally, managers of this Water District were found guilty of fraud and embezzlement http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/...-12322668c.html and
http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramen.../25/daily8.html .

What do you think are my chances of winning a $4000 judgment in Court (possibly in Small Claims Court)? Additional thoughts and comments are also appreciated.

PS: In California Water Districts are not covered by the Public Utilities Commission.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful replies,
Last edited:


Senior Member
You possibly have a chance but you need to focus on if their policy is legal rather than the fact that you didn't agree to it. Typically with utilities (atleast where I am) When you get service you agree to a vague statement about abiding by the policies as they are if they change. They are typically made or posted where anyone in the public could read them, but no one ever does. Because our electric utility was on the losing end of similar problem, I can tell you the courts upheld the agreement (ours is actually 3 years) but lost on the constitutional infringement of the policy itself. The policy had to be taken out. There is no guarantee but just to give you avice if you plan on taking it to court. Ofcouse it can go either way. But with a utility you are better of going and finding an attorney that will take the case because without one you are almost scr*w*d.

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential