"It's Policy" Were Fighting Words For Screwed Utility Customer

This success story on utility watchdog TURN’s site illustrates the power of developing an effective argument strategy before calling customer service.

In this case, when a customer called in to get a name change on her account, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) changed her rate plan to a more expensive one without telling her. A rep later told her that it’s “policy” to revert the account to the pricier, basic, rate any time an account change is made.

But by sticking to these three points…

1) PG&E should have disclosed their policy clearly to her before making the change on her account. By not disclosing their policy to her, they took away the choice she and all customers are entitled to.

2) Clearly state the specific resolution you are seeking. In this case, the resolution needed was for PG&E to put her back on E-6 rates and adjust her previous bills to reflect the rate schedule she had chosen.

3) Let the company know that you will file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission if your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction.

…she was able to get her account retroactively changed back to the cheaper rate. In resolving a dispute where the company has wronged you, a good run on customer service contains a logical argument, presented in sequence, that effectively articulates your position and the repercussions for not doing the right thing.

Stand up to your utility company- and WIN! [TURN.org]
(Photo: smcgee)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.