An elderly Detroit woman is promised a refund after she accidentally overpaid her property taxes

When the check doesn't come, she calls Channel 7

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Sallie Mims is an 83-year-old great-grandmother who knows something about working hard.

Her late husband had worked two jobs while she raised their children.

"Seventeen," she proudly said while commenting on the total number of children she'd had with her late husband John.

"John, Judy, Maurice, Lois, Gwen, Rosemary, Gloria, Victor, Dwayne, Marvin, Linda, Garnett, Clarence, Derrell, David, Ledia, Sandy, and Paul!" rattled off her daughter Rosemary…in seven seconds!

Their family portraits show the love.

"I'm number 5," Rosemary noted about her birth order.

"I'm number 15," added her sister Ledia Mims.

Ledia and Rosemary worked with some of their other siblings to help their mom when she received a letter in the mail last May from the city of Detroit's Finance Department Treasury Division.

"Please refund taxpayer for potential overpayment in the amount of 614-dollars-and-92-cents," read Sallie holding up the letter.

"I was excited about it because I couldn't believe that I had really overpaid," said Sallie with a smile.

The trouble was no money arrived at her home the next month...or the month after that…or for five months after that.

In December, her daughters started helping her make calls.     

"They would say one thing, and then we wouldn't hear anything back from them. And then we would have to call again, you know, and again and again," described Ledia Mims.

So the ladies made some trips to the downtown Detroit office in-person.

Sallie got one explanation she was not expecting.

"[A person behind the counter] said the checks would have been out. But if [they] had sent the checks out, they might have bounced," Mims recalled.

"They told you that they hadn't sent you a check because they were afraid it would bounce?!"  I asked her in a one-on-one interview at her home.  Sallie said yes.

"I just told them by the grace of God, I will get my money," she added.

"They kept telling us, 'Two weeks. You're going to get your money. You're going to get your money. You're going to get your money.' And then finally we had to call Channel 7," explained Rosemary Mims Collins.

Our volunteers worked the case for more than a month.

They communicated with city contacts numerous times.

Finally in mid March, Mrs. Mims received her check in the mail.

She put the money into her savings to go toward this year's property taxes.

"I really appreciate it. I really thank you so much," said Mims.

If you have a consumer problem you're having trouble resolving, call, email, or fax the Call For Action team.  We have volunteers at WXYZ there to take your call Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

The number to call is (248)827-3362.

You may also email us here.

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