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CUB helps consumer uncover pricey monthly fee

 20140127_Starion_blogBy Samantha Vercellino

When Starion Energy approached Valerie with a deal too good to be true, the Chicago resident listened to her gut and resisted the temptation to accept. Instead she headed to CUB’s award-winning website and uncovered a pricey monthly fee that the supplier failed to disclose.

“The rate they offered was very good, but I’ve dealt with alternative suppliers before, so I knew to do my research,” Valerie said. “I always rely on [CUB’s website] because it’s a great database to look up rates and information.”

After realizing the offers did not match, she called Starion and spoke to a number of representatives who insisted there were no additional fees—and that CUB’s rates must be out-of-date. Even though she had her doubts, Valerie signed up.

Then she received the contract in the mail. The fine print revealed that there was a $7.95 monthly fee. That means Valerie would have paid an extra $95 a year, in addition to the electricity she used.

“I couldn’t believe I didn’t receive in print what they had originally offered over-the-phone,” said Valerie. “It was a bold move to do that.”

Valerie immediately called the supplier to get out of the deal, but the company claimed it wasn’t possible. She said Starion told her that she had missed her window of opportunity to rescind.

But Valerie didn’t give up. The former Human Resources Manager argued that the window shouldn’t have closed before she had the chance to review the actual contract. Starion relented in the face of her persistence.

Valerie was grateful that CUB’s list of electricity offers in Illinois, painstakingly updated on a weekly basis, had alerted her to the monthly fee.

“I absolutely believe CUB is needed because its database is awesome,” Valerie said. “[The website] is a great gathering of pertinent information all in one convenient place.”

See CUB’s list of electricity offers for ComEd and Ameren customers.