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CUB saves consumer from $3,000 error

20150305_DanielleNiceWork_fbHenry T. never could have imagined that when he assisted his elderly mother with paying her bill, it would come back to bite him.

Unfortunately, that’s what happened.  This summer, the Chicago resident received a bill of $3,000 from ComEd—for an apartment he never lived in!

The bill was for a residence his mother, who passed away six years prior, had previously occupied.  (She had actually left that apartment for a nursing home when the property caught fire.) Henry says that while he assisted his mother in paying her bills, his name has never been on her account and he never even lived in the unit in question. Furthermore, his own payment history with the utility was spotless.

CUB staffer Danielle took on Henry’s case and helped him dispute the bill.  After the utility looked into matter, they removed all $3,000 of the charges.

Way to go, Danielle!

So how did CUB’s rock star go about this case?

First, she got the facts: Did Henry ever live at the address?  How was he related to the account holder?  Did he ever contact the utility?  Could this be identity theft?  Armed with that information, she headed straight to ComEd to dispute the charge and request an investigation into the case.

Going forward, Danielle has important advice for anyone in a similar situation.

“If you are assisting someone with billing or any other account information, there is no need to provide any of your personal information,” she said.  “You can make it known that you are only assisting the consumer in this matter and not assuming any financial responsibility.”

The reason?  Often, if you provide your personal information, your name can become erroneously associated with the account— meaning you are on the financial hook for any matters related to that account.  That’s what happened to Henry.

Luckily, he had Danielle’s help.

“We make an effort to do the best job that we can,” Danielle said, “At times we don’t get the best outcome, so when you get one of this magnitude you smile.”

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