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CUB saves consumer from $1,400 in charges from a bad electric/gas deal

Ruben H. of Chicago found out why his gas and electric bills were getting so high through his landlord: He had been enrolled with an alternative supplier, Direct Energy, since 2015. And he paid nearly twice what the utilities charge.

He called ComEd and Peoples Gas, and then contacted Direct Energy. He stated he never authorized service from Direct Energy, but the supplier insisted the enrollment was valid and he was responsible for the charges.

Ruben asked Direct Energy to play the recording showing that he in fact authorized service. A few things were way off.

  • It wasn’t Ruben’s voice.
  • The voice answering said yes to every question asked.
  • Every question was in English…Ruben only speaks Spanish.

Ruben asked Direct Energy what number the company had for him; it wasn’t his number.

CUB’s Bilingual Consumer Rights Specialist Annie Warnock asked Direct Energy to investigate, arguing that Ruben should not have been responsible to pay for service he hadn’t requested or authorized.

In March, Direct Energy cancelled the service, but Ruben also wanted compensation for the difference he had been paying. Upon further review, Direct Energy removed the charges, totaling $1,417.69!