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Tragic consequences: Elderly woman passes away after water company’s £13,333 bank deduction



Caterina Giovinazzo, 88, dies following shocking water bill error that prompted ICU stay

In a devastating incident, 88-year-old Caterina Giovinazzo, from Imperia province, Italy, collapsed and spent 40 days in intensive care after a water bill amounting to nearly £13,500 was mistakenly deducted from her bank account. The shocking turn of events occurred when her daughter-in-law read her the details of the bill, revealing that £13,333 had been automatically taken from her account.

Caterina, who fell ill immediately after learning of the substantial deduction, was admitted to the ICU of Borea Hospital in Sanremo, where she battled for 40 days before succumbing to the ordeal on the evening of December 24.

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The water bill in question, related to the period of August-October, had half of its amount automatically deducted, with the remaining sum sent to Caterina as outstanding debt. This unforeseen incident resulted in significant distress for the elderly woman and her family.

Caterina’s brother, Rocco Giovinazzo, reported the issue to the water company, Iren, stating, “We managed to get the credit institution to put the sum already paid back into my sister’s account and not even cover the other £6,667 in balance by 4th March 2024.” Iren, an Italian multi-service company, handles electricity, heating, water services, and technological and environmental services.

Iren Group acknowledged the error and issued an apology, pledging to investigate the situation further. They stated, “We will immediately contact the family to verify the reasons that produced this amount. We are very sorry for what happened to the lady. In the event, it is proven that the error was due to Iren, even so, the customer will pay absolutely nothing. We will try to investigate how this situation happened.”

The tragic incident underscores the potential consequences of billing errors, urging companies to exercise utmost diligence to prevent such distressing incidents.


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