Back in January I attempted to pay off my delinquent electricity bill.
My power company is:
1310 Fairmont Avenue
P.O. Box 1392
Fairmont, WV 26555-1392
You know, just in case anyone who reads this might want to contact them.
Now, I had the money to pay off my bill completely, but the payment center for Allegheny Power quit taking Visa that month and the only credit card I have is, you guessed it, VISA.
Actually, it's not even a Visa card, it's a debit card with a visa logo, but it works just the same. Anyways, the automated payment center quit taking Visa, which for all intents and purposes means that Allegheny Power (an Allegheny Energy company) no longer takes Visa.
Well I had to make a payment right away and I had two options. I could pay by check over the phone or I could go to the bank, withdraw cash, go to a payment center, pay them and wait three days in the fucking dark while I wait for the payment to go through.
So I enter my checking account number by phone to the computer that's taking a job away from real human beings (a shitty job I grant you, but it's still costing someone employment) and I'm given a confirmation number at the end of the call. To my way of thinking a confirmation number means you've successfully paid your bill and if you have a problem with said bill you can say "Confirmation number BITCH! Suck on that!"
By the way, they really hate that.
Well my next bill comes and it's a ten day notice for termination.
But I paid off the bill didn't I?
I call Allegheny Power, my only option for electricity, and they tell me that the payment didn't go through, they're charging me a returned check fee, a late fee and if I don't pay off the bill they're shutting my power off in ten days.
But I PAID the fucking BILL. I have a fucking CONFIRMATION NUMBER.
Well apparently confirmation numbers mean exactly SHIT.
They explained to me that the payment company, not them, took my payment and gave me the number and AFTER they gave me the number my bank didn't let the transaction go through.
Stupid me, I thought that's what the FUCKING CONFIRMATION NUMBER MEANT! It CONFIRMS that my bank is giving up my FUCKING MONEY!
So the bill I thought I'd paid off now has like another forty or fifty dollars attached to it, I don't know how much exactly. I'd have to go through and itemize it and if I tried to do it right now blood would start gushing out my fucking ears.
Then I call the payment center back, maneuver through the labrynthian fucking mess which is their automated phone service and after about two hours of being on fucking hold I'm granted the honor of being able to talk to an ACTUAL HUMAN BEING. I explain to the (presumably) human being what happened, what kind of checks I had and what numbers I had to give them. I explained that something had gone wrong last time and I wanted to be sure that it would work this time.
They assured me they had everything they needed.
Even gave me another confirmation number.
Then that check got returned.
Another late fee, another bounced check fee, another fucking shut-off notice. Only THIS shut-off notice had a $55 deposit fee that they plan to hold in case I miss another payment.
Now, I concede that the misstep the first time may have somehow been my fault, though I do argue that it would have been far less of a problem if I'd been able to talk to an actual person rather than an automated computer voice-in-a-box.
The second time I WAS talking to a person who FUCKING TOLD ME they had everything they needed.
So I call Allegheny Power and explain to them that their authorized payment people told me they had everything they needed and it still got fucked up. I don't consider that my fault and I wanted them to remove the deposit fee because I didn't feel I was liable for it. After arguing for an hour or two the Allegheny Power operator said that if I just paid the overdue amount and brought it up to just the current amount then they would, WOULD remove the deposit fee from my bill.
So this time I physically go to Western Union and lay out the cash to pay the over amount and I get a receipt.
Well I open my new bill and guess what? It's ANOTHER FUCKING SHUTOFF NOTICE! Why? Because I didn't pay off the over amount.
But I have a receipt. Isn't that better than a confirmation number?
Well it would be if Allegheny Power wasn't run by lying assholes. They took half of my payment and applied it to the deposit, that they said they would remove from my account once I paid the overdue portion of my bill, and because they did that my payment was then insufficient to cover the overdue portion of my bill.
And guess what? ANOTHER FUCKING LATE FEE.
So I call this morning. I explain to Allegheny Power that I'm not paying the deposit. I further explain that if there was any other way of getting electricity into my house, ANY FUCKING WAY, I would immediately discontinue my Allegheny Power service and simply leave their stupid goddamn bill unpaid. However, since I don't have any means of generating my own electricity, I said I would go TODAY and pay the full bill, minus the deposit fee, if they would drop the deposit fee like Allegheny Power told me they would.
Problem is Allegheny Power knows they're the only game in town and basically told me to go fuck myself. They want the full bill, all the fees AND the deposit fee or they're shutting the power off.
Well today I paid the past due. I have till the 21st to pay the rest of it. At first I just decided that I wasn't going to pay it all off. Since they have my extra $55 then why should I? But since then I've come to the realization that if I don't pay it they'll keep that $55 and charge me another $55 every time I don't pay it.
Am I the only one that thinks this isn't right?
I have no way to fight this. No real way anyway. I mean, I plan to write to people as high up in the company as I can, as well as any regulatory boards I can find the info for, but they' won't do anything. So anybody got any ideas? If I have to pay Allegheny Power this $55 then I want to make it the most expensive $55 they ever stole.
Help me make it happen people.
Labels: Righteous Indignation