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CUB helps Chicago landlord out of $1,048 electric mistake

By Samantha Vercellino


Hoping to get the property’s electric service switched back to his name, the Chicago landlord immediately called ComEd to sort out the details. According to Mark, a company representative claimed it would be an easy fix.

However, two days later, Mark was hit with a $1,048 power bill.

After recovering from the initial shock, the Chicago landlord placed another call to ComEd and learned that the previous tenant had failed to pay the electric bill–for the last four years. Now the utility claimed it was up to him to pay the remaining debt.

“Whoever I spoke to said that I should take the outstanding balance as a bargain because I actually owed the utility more,” Mark said.

Wanting to know why the service was never disconnected for non-payment, Mark asked to speak to a higher ranked official—but got nowhere.

“They refused to let me speak to anyone else,” Mark said. “They even threatened to send me to a collections agency, if I didn’t pay.”

Mark knew he couldn’t win this fight alone, so he called CUB—an organization he has supported for 20-years. Sandra Marcelin-Reme, a veteran of the consumer advocacy team, didn’t waste any time investigating.

It was only a few days after her inquiry that ComEd called Mark to reveal the good news—he didn’t have to pay the big bill!

Overjoyed, Mark penned a thank you letter to the staff and enclosed a donation for all CUB’s hard work.

“If it weren’t for [CUB] educating the public, people would get stuck with these outrageous payments from the utilities,” Mark said. “So thank you for all that you do.”

If you have questions regarding your utility, phone or cable service, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline, like Mark did, at 1-800-669-5556, for guidance on your rights.