Cape Coral warns of costly water scheme


CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A flyer making its way around neighborhoods offers “free water testing,” but that testing comes with a price tag.

Recently, Kathye O’Brien and her family moved from the Chicago area to Cape Coral. O’Brien said within days she received a flyer from a company that offered her “free water testing” as part of a “statewide public awareness program.”

“It appeared to be from public works or some kind of safety thing that stated that the water might be bad,” she said. “Where we previously lived, we had Public Water Works and that was our city water, so it made sense we need to fill out because we just moved here and maybe there’s something wrong with the water when it was hooked up that needed to be tested.”

O’Brien said she received a few calls from the company and then one day someone showed up at their door. She said she was not available that day, so she told the man she would call him to make an appointment.

“He showed up again two days later and I was not home again. At that time, my teenager was home alone and he had called me and said someone’s knocking on the door, and he peaked out and saw the car and he described it to me and I knew exactly who it was. My son said that he [the salesperson] was here for a half hour, repeatedly knocking on the door, sitting in his car for a couple minutes, coming back knocking on the door, for a half hour that seems quite excessive. It scared my son a little bit.”

WINK News Call for Action talked to Cape Coral city spokesperson, Connie Barron about the flyer O’Brien received. Barron said flyers similar to the one O’Brien described circulate the city about once a year. However, Barron said she was worried about the most recent one.

“One of the reasons that it raised our eyebrows a bit was because of the wording in that, where it said that’s a statewide program. For us that kind of gave us some pause because that almost gave the impression that it was something being generated by the state or even by the local government,” Barron said. “The company is trying to have the customer call them or invite them to their home, so they can test their water. When they come to their home, they usually find something wrong with the water and they try to sell them very expensive filtration equipment. The city of Cape Coral’s water is highly treated and highly regulated. We have to meet very stringent federal and state guidelines when it comes to our water. This equipment is absolutely unnecessary.”

Call for Action discovered the state is currently investigating one of these water company’s, Florida Water Works, who has 19 complaints against them. In complaints obtained by Call for Action it stated the company was “preying on the elderly” and told one man his “water had poisons in it.” One person even said they paid $5,400 for a filtration system.

The City of Cape Coral said it will never ask to test your water. If you receive a flyer that appears to be from the city, call the city office at (239) 574-0401 and ask before you fill anything out or pay for anything.

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