From me to Alagasco:
I have had an account with you for nine years. I'm sure it has been delinquent more than once, but I've always managed to get paid up.
Recently I owed $254. Last week, on April 20th, I paid $100. That was all I could afford and I figured we could pay the rest when I got paid today.
But yesterday you came while we were at work and cut the gas off, and left a little note on the door saying we owe $606. I figured that couldn't be right. When I got to work this morning I logged on to my account on the Alagasco website. It said that I owed $154, so I paid it and then called you. The automated voice on the phone said "Your account is past due. You need to make a payment of $154 to keep your service from being disconnected."
So I spoke with a representative who told me that because they had to cut my service off I had to pay a deposit of (roughly) $400 to get my service reconnected. I kept saying, "My account online says I owe $154, which I've just paid. It doesn't say anything anywhere about a deposit. It says that my account is current now that I've paid the $154." She kept on that I would have to pay the deposit to get my service back. I got irritated and got off the phone.
About thirty minutes later I called back and spoke to someone else. I explained that we have three kids and our hot water comes from gas. I told her that I was unemployed until recently, and we are in foreclosure, and paying $400 would take half of my paycheck. She replied that I would have to pay the $400 in full to get my service back. The amount couldn't be billed, and it couldn't be split into more than one payment. So I paid it at about 10:30 today. She then informed me that they don't do same-day cut-ons, and I'd get my gas back tomorrow.
I just feel like something isn't right here. I made a payment last week, and still my service was disconnected. Then I had to pay a high deposit on an account I've had for years. Plus the deposit wasn't and still isn't shown on my account when I view it online. Plus your automated phone system said I owed $154 and had to pay THAT amount in full to keep my service. It all seems wrong to me.
From Alagasco to me:
We understand your concerns. We understand that many people are experiencing financial hardships. Unfortunately, we are unaware of personal circumstances unless we are notified. Our goal is to provide excellect customer service. We urge all of our customers to contact us when the billing statement is received if the amount billed will not be able to be paid on or before the delinquent date. We are to assist any of our customers with scheduling payment arrangements. Scheduling payment arrangements will possibly avoid interruption of service and avoid additional fees, associated with the reconnection of services.
For real-time account information you will be able to view your gas account using the “My Account” feature on our website. Just access www.alagasco.c om, click on “My Account.” In the box labeled “Login to My Account,” click on "Register Now" and follow the steps to register for this service. Once you setup your username and password, you will be able to view your usage and payment history, view your current account balance, make a payment arrangement, enroll in the Budget Plan and more.
From me to Alagasco: Your response to my query was condescending and uninformative for the following reasons:
You wrote: "Unfortunately, we are unaware of personal circumstances unless we are notified."
I notified you of our financial hardships including unemployment and foreclosure on April 30th, the day that I found out we were being asked to pay the $400 deposit.
You wrote: "We urge all of our customers to contact us when the billing statement is received if the amount billed will not be able to be paid on or before the delinquent date."
I never received a billing statement saying that I’d have to pay that deposit. The very next day after I received the note on my door, I called and told two different representatives there that I couldn’t pay the $400 deposit.
You wrote: "For real-time account information you will be able to view your gas account using the “My Account” feature on our website."
Clearly you do NOT have real-time account information; that’s part of my complaint. I had to pay a deposit that wasn’t and still isn't mentioned anywhere on my account online.
I am currently working with Alabama Power to get an electric heat pump and will contact you to cancel my services as soon as possible.
More on this as it continues to force me to pull large, bloody clumps of hair out of my head.
Also, now we're -$500 in the bank. Awesome.