Monday, September 7, 2009

Duke Power - Robbing Customers One Kilowatt At A Time

So if you read the title of this you probably know this is a rant blog.... I have had some horrible customer service, but what happened to me on September 1st with Duke Power tops the list, right up there with Mediacom.

I went on Duke's website, and under their mission/values statement this is what I found:

Here's the link (wouldn't want anyone accusing me of plagiarism):

And here is an abbreviated version of their missions and values:

"Integrity: We do the right thing. We honor our commitments. We admit when we're wrong.
Passion: We're passionate about what we do. We strive for excellence. We take personal accountability for our actions."

Their mission statement is actually laughable, given what I went through with a company that has repeated complaints from their customers. So here's what happened:

I woke up on September 1st with the power in my house completely off. Unfortunately, the power is not in my name, so I had to interrupt Trey at work. He quickly put in a phone call to Duke.

Here's how the whole thing started. We've been having a rough summer, and we've been late a couple times on our power bill. Duke sent us a letter saying they were gonna charge us a security deposit of approximately 250 - 300 dollars. They really didn't care if we had been customers for so many years, and had never had problems until now. They told us we had to pay the security deposit or have someone eligible sign a waiver for us. This had to be done by August 31st.

Trey's mom was eligible, so at about the middle of August, Trey and Jeanne went to RadioShack and signed the waiver. On the 25th, Trey places a call to Duke, and they tell us that everything looks good, and the security deposit will be removed from the bill. On the 1st, they turn our power off.

When Trey calls Duke, on the 1st, they tell him that RadioShack gave us the wrong form, and there was nothing they could do about it. It wasn't our fault, but they didn't care. They also tell us that they have left us a message saying that our power would be cut off. When Trey tells them that we received no phone call from them (and we looked at all of our cell phone records), they say, "well maybe we called your mom." Jeanne says they never called them, so we tell them this. They pretty much say, they don't care, it's been put in the computer that there was a call, but they can't tell us what number they called. They also say that they won't accept a waiver now, and in order to get our power on, we have to pay everything, including the deposit, and a reconnection fee. Well, like I said, we're poor, we don't have that kind of money. And when you make a mission statement saying that you can admit your mistakes, and take responsibility for your actions, why would we expect anything less?

Trey gets really angry and says that we don't have this kind of money, and this was their fault, not ours. The lady tells him, "I can't help you, but I'll get a supervisor to call you." Of course, a supervisor never called us. We waited hours, and no call came. I wonder if they recorded it in the computer that they called.

I get on the internet and find the number for the NC attorney general's office. I call them and explain it to them, and they send me to consumer protection/fraud. I talk to them, and they send me to the Utilities Commission. I talk to a lovely lady there, and give her all the information, and we get off the phone so she can call Trey. Trey and her talk, he tells her every little detail, and she tells him she will call him back.

She calls him back after having talked to Duke. She tells Trey that Duke sent over our records, etc... She also tells us that Duke is in the wrong and we are in the right. Trey asks her why a supervisor still hasn't called him... She explains that Duke knows we can't live without power, it's just a waiting game to them, and eventually we are going to give in and pay them the money, because that's just the way the world works to those people.

So she tells him she is going to handle it and calls Duke back. Fifteen minutes later, she calls back, and says it is handled. She has told Duke that they have to turn our power on, or she is going to start fining them. Lo and behold, within thirty minutes Duke is at my house turning the power on, while I give him dirty looks from my front porch.

In the end, we won. But how many times has Duke pulled this crap on people who didn't think to google or look for a government office to help? How much money has this company made off of the unsuspecting public? Right now, Duke is the only power company in Western North Carolina. They are a monopoly and they have no problem scamming people out of their hard earned money. I plan on writing every single person that I can in the government, and I urge other people to start writing their state representatives. That is why we voted them in office. I am tired of getting scammed by people, because they think they can. Enough is enough.

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