Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Anybody Have A Bigger Word for Fail?

Because I need to borrow it. See, TXU's stellar customer service is now holding $200 hostage. It all started when we realized that the contract was up on TXU, and began shopping for a new electricity provider. We ultimately ended up going with another company, one that could offer us a better rate, a longer contract and the possibility of average billing - which is awesome when you're trying to stay on budget and it's always 120 degrees in the Texas during the summer, and summer lasts from the end of April to somewhere in November. So we canceled our service with TXU. And then we got a bill for the last month - $68, plus a $200 early termination fee. Assphinctersayswhat? Yeah. Early termination fee on a contract that had already expired. So a call was made, and a customer service rep named Jose assured us it was a mistake, and an amended bill would be sent in about a week. Fast forward, oh, about two weeks, to today. Still no amended bill, but what we do have is a debit from the bank account, for $268 (yes, we're signed up for automatic bill pay). Yeah, that early termination fee on an expired contract was still on the bill. And now it had been deducted from the bank account. So more phone calls were made. Thirty minutes of holding for three minutes - cumulative - of conversation. One permahold while a "supervisor" said he'd see if he couldn't rush that refund check, because although TXU can debit your bank account, it apparently can't put the money back. Horrible music for forever, then dead silence. So TXU, you're on notice. I'm gonna need that check by Friday. You can overnight it. A complaint was already made with the PUC, and next comes me e-mailing every company officer on your Web site and generally making your life miserable. If there are any overdraft fees because of this surprise withdrawal, I'm gonna need another check for that. The thing that gets me is that this is probably done to a lot more people. They send this bill with the early termination fee, and then bank on people being lazy or chalking it up to poor record keeping, and just paying it anyway. And that is completely a wrongheaded way to do business. So your competition offers better rates, and people leave you for them. That doesn't mean TXU gets to pad the last bill. So if you are thinking about changing electric companies because your contract is expiring, and you're using TXU now, keep an eye on that bill, and don't take Jose's word for it. Call every day, and make sure you disable automatic bill pay. If you've had a similar experience with TXU, let me know. Comments are open. Apparently, there are plenty of people who also have issues with TXU. Like here, here, here and here.