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  • My Bill Has Gone Up, and I Don’t Know Why!

“Dear Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch,

I am writing to you because I am concerned that I may have been signed up for something I didn’t want to sign up for. A young man came to my door two months ago and told me he was from my local Union gas. He said he needed to inspect my gas meter to make sure it was in working order. He also needed my gas bill. I was told that there were no problems and he made a note to say he wouldn’t be around for another year. My gas bill this month is over fifty dollars from what it was last month. I haven’t used any extra gas. Did this young man sign me up for an energy programme I don’t want? How can I fix this??”

Anne H. North Bay, ON.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello Anne, and thank you for writing to us about your concern. It’s unfortunate to hear that you’re having trouble with your natural gas bill – and we dare say that it’s very likely the individual claiming to be from Union North was, in fact, not from Union North.

Many energy marketing companies, or energy marketing scams as the case may be, find it’s easier to address low sales or uncompetitive prices by signing people up without their will or knowledge. Whether this is a company-wide practice to boosts sales or an individual trying to inflate his own numbers to show good performance – we can’t say for sure. Nonetheless, this is something you’ll have to resolve directly with the company that’s charging you extra.

While it seems like the fault lies with Union for billing you or not catching this sooner, the unfortunate reality is that gas distributors don’t really pay attention to the billing concerns of their customers following deregulation. One way or another, it’s not their concern – they simply assume this was a choice you made on your own.

So if you need to know where to file your complaint, the energy marketer should be found on the back of your Union gas bill. For ease, we’ve scanned and circled the relevant field to help out. If you find the company listed under there, you should be able to find the company which is billing you for this extra amount.  We would be happy to help you as you go through this resolution process.

Because you were signed up against your will, you likely didn’t receive a contract. Without a contract, you have up to a year since signing to cancel the billing without incurring an exit fee or penalty charges. If you jump on this sooner rather than later, you can have this contract cancelled before the costs add up. To check if you have any recourse for a refund on charges already made, you may have to contact the Ontario Energy Board. Again, if you need any help with this process we would be glad to provide it.

Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch urges our users to exercise caution by following a strict rule: don’t give out your energy bill to any individual unless they identify themselves as an energy marketer . The ability that scammers have to do damage to your financial security can be pretty substantial. So please be careful, and good luck with getting this resolved.

 

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