Action13

Firm mixup sends woman extra bills

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Property tax bills can be lowered by protesting your home's value. One Fort Bend County woman hired a company to handle her protest and she says the firm did more than she asked, then sent her a bill for hundreds of dollars.

When Lenka Dimanina wanted to protest her property taxes, she turned to O'Connor and Associates.

"I've seen their commercial a million times," Dimanina said.

That was in 2008 and the tax protest firm was able to get a reduction.

"They sent me a bill for $119, I sent the payment to them and that was the end of that," Dimanina said.

Dimanina says she believed it was a one-time protest. But it turns out O'Connor protested the property taxes for her the next year, too, and sent a bill for the service.

"Without my permission. This bill will not be paid, I'm sorry," she said.

Dimanina says the next year another bill came, and this time, it included the unpaid invoice from the year before. And in 2012, another protest, and another bill.

In all, Dimanina says O'Connor wanted more than $700 for protests she claims she did not authorize.

"Every year I was calling to cancel and they never did," she said.

"Unfortunately it was a breakdown in communication, which we take accountability for," said Janice Phillips, a managing director at O'Connor and Associates.

Phillips says the company was successful in lowering Dimanina's property tax bill nearly every year since 2008.

However, the company is now waiving the fees it charged to Dimanina.

"As a gesture of good will, we have waived all of the outstanding invoices. We inactivated the client back in December, so hopefully it all is coming to a happy ending," Phillips said.

Dimanina says that's fine with her.
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