I can already here the outcry going that is rather harsh words for the hard done by corporation that is Direct Energy, but it has been a long road to attempt to get back from them, $153 which they are refusing to return. Which may not seem like a huge amount but for a family with a special needs child and another child, that is a good chunk of our grocery budget.
This story begins on July 4 when bill payments were put forward online. To save money on bank fees I avoid the auto pays, and it also allows for when utilities fluctuate to not have to get behind on a bill.
During this round of bill payment I could swear like every month I clicked Just Energy as with the last 3 years of payments, but I do not know if it was my error or the website payment but this money went to Direct Energy Regulated Services instead (to a closed account I might add).
This error was discovered when the new Just Energy bill came to my inbox mid month and it was double what it should be, and a bit of checking revealed the error. We are now at the beginning of August and Direct Energy is incommunicado and not willing to refund the money.
Here is what is known for truth:
- Direct Energy did not respond to any online contact attempts to correct the error.
- Friday night July 29 I spoke to 4 different operators, the first 3 kept redirecting me away from “This Direct Energy to this Direct Energy Regulated Services Number” which brought me back to the same loop.
- 4th operator stated that any payment sent to a closed account was impossible as it would bounce right back.
- Pointed out this had not happened, and there has been no account for 3 years with Direct Energy (whichever one). So I once again gave closed account number, my address, postal code, city, and name. They stated I was not the account holder so they could not disclose anything to me or it would be a breach of privacy.
- Stated to operator that account holder was my father, we share same last name. Operator still would not budge.
- My father called back the following day, Direct Energy stated if there was money received in error a cheque would be processed within 30 days and sent out, but would not verify when or if this would happen. This is now to the account holder on record.
- Why account holder of a closed account on record does not matter in this case: (a) Direct Energy had been accepting payments from the non-account holder for years up until 3 years ago, so this would already show a breach of privacy on their part as I was getting the bills to my e-mail. (b) Just Energy took over the account 3 years ago with my signature authorizing it. This shows Direct Energy accepted me as the account holder and as such should have simply EFT’ed the money back to my account.
- The Hail Mary if you will, was contacting my actual bank. The online secure contact with the details proved fruitless for their secure online answer was call their 24/7 customer line to open an investigation.
- Called the 24/7 line last night, and the operator was as helpful as they could be. An investigation was opened and money was credited back to my account with the caveat it would remain ONLY if DIRECT ENERGY refunded the money to the bank, otherwise they would mail me a letter out and remove the money.
- So there is $153 in my account sitting there that I could use for groceries, but could not take the hit of money being pulled out if Direct Energy is like Direct Energy.
So that is the story awaiting resolution, that needs to be shared so others can understand the convoluted system that exists with Alberta’s privatized/de-regulated power sector. The crime that has been perpetuated upon us, and that truly there is no mechanism in place to reclaim any monies from mega-corps.
Our family waits, to see if the money turns up, for to keep the power on I had to pay out double to Just Energy end of July which skewered quite badly our family budget, it harkens back to the Klein Days of Alberta of “Feed the Kids or pay the power”.