CHARITY group St Vincent de Paul has reacted quickly to help a Nambour couple the organisation may have unwittingly left with a massive water bill.
William and Ethel Andrews, both aged in their 80s, bought their home from the society in October 2010 and a month after moving in received a Unitywater bill for $1240.99.
Mr Andrews believes the hefty bill was caused by a loss of water from a leaking pipe, believed to have cracked before they owned the property.
St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland CEO Peter Maher said he was concerned to hear about the Andrews family's distress and was made aware only while reading last Monday's Daily.
"I had no knowledge of this matter and immediately wrote to the owners requesting further information," he said.
"The property transfer occurred on the basis of the settlement figures prepared by the Andrews family solicitors, which included a water adjustment.
"I am waiting to hear back from the family and upon receipt of copies of Unitywater tax invoices I will review them to see if the society is liable for any water usage prior to the Andrews family taking ownership of the property."
A Unitywater spokeswoman said they were not able to discuss private details of Mr and Mrs Andrews' account, however, confirmed they were working with them to clear up any misunderstanding.
"At the time of transferring ownership of a property it is standard practice for conveyancing lawyers to arrange for a final meter read," she said.
"This is in order to make adjustments to the settlement price so that the new owners are not paying for consumption by the previous owners."
The spokeswoman said in most cases they became aware of a concealed leak within the boundaries of a private property when notified by the owners.
"The only other way Unitywater is alerted to such a leak is by an anomalous meter reading, in other words an unusual spike in volume of water counted by their meter," she said.
"When we notice such occurrences, we notify the customer.
"Unitywater has a concealed leaks policy, which offers an adjustment of 50% of the excess water consumption in the period of the water leak, and for up to two account periods."