CenterPoint Energy customer struggling to get by after bill mistake

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Monique Ritter called herself being proactive when she paid her CenterPoint Energy bill a few days early last month. But she made a huge mistake.

"...instead of $13.39, I entered $1,339," Ritter said.

She tells Eyewitness News she realized her mistake soon after, and called CenterPoint immediately to get a refund. That was mid-December. She says she's called several times since then and spoken with supervisors, but hasn't gotten the same answer twice. She's fed up and stressed.

"If it would have been $139, I would say let it carry over next month and next month. It'll work itself out. But not that kind of money. I need to pay taxes," she said. "I'm on social security. I need to pay bills. I didn't win the lottery last night."

A CenterPoint spokesperson says Ritter will get a refund. Because it came through a third party vendor, that spokesperson says they have to send the money back to that same vendor, and then from there it'll go back to Ritter. She says that process typically takes up to 30 days.

"That's wrong. I was told 5-15," Ritter argued.

CenterPoint says these things happen, and they urge customers to be extra cautious when entering amounts online.

Monique Ritter says she learned her lesson. But her message for Centerpoint is pretty clear: "They want to get my impression, would you like to do a survey? Well you know if I'm going to do a survey, you're not going to be very pleased happy with my survey."

CenterPoint says customers should call them if they encounter similar issues.
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