women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CONSUMER ALERT

THIS POST IS FOR ANYONE CONSIDERING PAYMENT ON LINE TO ANY COMPANY - BUT IN PARTICULAR, INDIANAPOLIS WATER COMPANY

THIS COMPANY DOES NOT STAND BEHIND ITS PROMISE TO SERVE ITS CUSTOMERS.

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU HAVE A RECEIPT FROM THEIR PAYMENT PARTNER - WESTERN UNION, THEY SAY IF THE PAYMENT DOES NOT POST BECAUSE OF A SCREW UP ON THEIR END, YOU - THE CONSUMER - ARE RESPONSIBLE.

THEY WILL TURN YOUR WATER OFF AND REFUSE TO TURN IT BACK ON.

IN 53 YEARS, I HAVE NEVER SEEN A COMPANY REFUSE TO STAND BEHIND THEIR PROMISE TO THE PUBLIC IN THIS MANNER.

APPARENTLY ON LINE CONFIRMATION NUMBERS & RECEIPTS MEAN NOTHING.

CONSUMER BEWARE!!!!


I have submitted the following complaint to the Indiana Regulatory Commission:


On December 22, 2009 I went to the company's website to pay my bill on line. I was directed to "click here" which took me to the Western Union SpeedPay website.

There I was offered 2 options: to make a one time only payment, or to set up a recurring payment schedule. I chose the latter, and filled out all fields correctly, including my bank acct. and routing numbers. I received an email with a confirmation number from Western Union on behalf of the Indianapolis Water Co. stating that the payment was properly scheduled and would be deducted from my bank account on the due date each month.

Today, at 5:00, my water was turned off. I immediately contacted the company's customer service line. I assumed my confirmation number and receipt would be sufficient to have them turn the water back on.

Instead I was informed that Western Union had not done anything, that I had only "attempted" to set up the payment, and that the company was under no obligation to act in good faith because Western Union made a mistake.

They suggested I contact Western Union and declined to bear any responsibility whatsoever for their sub-contractor's error. They told me it was my responsibility to ensure the payment was deducted from my checking account.

I paid the bill immediately (even tho the only option I had was to go back through Western Union again) and was informed that I should have signed up through the mail with them, rather than through their own service provider (even though I was following THEIR direct link)They told me it was more reliable (an admission on their part of problems.)

Even tho the mistake was made by them or their provider, even though I have a receipt and a confirmation number, even though I am currently staring at the account details on SpeedPay's site, they refuse to admit their error and will not send someone out to turn out water back on until some time tomorrow at the earliest.

Apparently, paying on line is not safe, regardless of what companies lead you to believe. Apparently we have no rights if we choose to do so. And apparently confirmation numbers are a fraud.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

20 comments:

Mitchypoo said...

Time to call your local news people!

ambersmerinos said...

Sorry this has happened to you.

kat said...

ugh. how terrible! I agree with Mitchypoo - does your local TV station have an investigative team? I'd call them ASAP and get some big guns on your side.

Rabbitknitz said...

What a DRAG!! Fortunately, in these days of the the grass roots internet, this kind of poor customer service incident doesn't go entirely unnoticed. I am glad you made a post about this, because no one should have to endure a situation like this. I hope the word of this incident will spread and the water company gets some nasty mail. Hang in there!!

Sandra der KnitNazi said...

recently CJ paid a bill, (late). They paid in the office. They POSTED the payment. 2 days later STILL NO WATER> I called and they told me that it was the Customer's responsibility to CALL THEM to have water turned on.

HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO, they paid for what? WATER. OMG thanks for posting this!

no amount of bitching, complaining, crying, or PLEADING (Please, she has a Preemie at home, TURN IT BACK ON NOW!) Nope, they were NOT going to budge on that.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Sandra der KnitNazi said...

Additional Note: daughter CJ had the same issue with them which also happened coincidentally in Dec.

After being told their water bill was past due (payment did not post as they believed), the late payment was posted in their office, in person, and they still did not turn their water back on for 3 days "because she did not call them back to reinstate her service".

Donna Lee said...

I pay most of my bills online so this is really scary. I'm sorry you're going through this. I can't believe the company will not stand behind their service partner. Time to spread the news to everyone and anyone.

Kathleen said...

Time to write a letter to the editor of the newspaper, maybe the better business bureau, Twitter, and the mayor's office.

Susie B said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I agree with the others to call the newspaper, the local TV station, the governor and anyone else you can think of.

Andrea (@shutterbitch) said...

I JUST paid our power bill through the Western Union SpeedPay (though I did a one time payment, not the recurring scheduled payment) so thank you for posting this. I'll be vigilant about making sure it comes out of my account and the power company gets the $. It would really suck without heat...

I hope your situation is resolved quickly and to your satisfaction. Fraking utility companies...

Amy said...

So sorry to hear this. Probably the reason I remain a "dinosaur" and pay all my bills with checks in the mail. Doesn't guarantee they get it or post it on time, though. My cable company (they have an exclusive for the area, so there's no choice/competition) didn't post my check once, so I was informed that I should check online to see if it had posted and I could pay online - but it had to be at least 2 days early in case they didn't post it. It was still my problem to verify they received/posted it. You would think a confirmation number would be enough to see that you did attempt to pay it and when you attempted.... Seems like this poor service has been limited to utilities that have monopolies. Argh.

Anonymous said...

I can see waiting 1 business day to turn water back on after a billing problem. They have to schedule someone, and it's less urgent than a line break.

But only 1 business day, and the person who took payment should have called their scheduling department, then told you when it would be turned on. Second best would be give you the number to call and tell you to do it yourself. Don't blame the customer for not knowing all the steps in the dance!

Also, given a history of good payments, 60 days -- with no 2nd warning -- is too fast for a cutoff.

Yes, send this to your local paper.

Lastly, did you get the website and your account number from a "helpful" email, or from a real bill? It's very easy for nasties to send letters saying, "Hi, I'm your utility company. Click here to go to Western Union (honest!) and give them your personal information."

It's worth checking your account statements. The real Western Union might use your original instructions for someone else's utility bill, or a fake one might do something worse.

I hope this gets some action.

BB said...

Mitchypoo has the best advice.
That and call a lawyer.
Good luck!

GoldenTracks said...

Yep! Time to call the local news people!

I have my bill pay set up thru my online banking. THat way I can monitor what's going on and they don't have access to my accounts. Something you might look into. Good luck! Give 'em heck!

baby face said...

I'm sorry about your water company. There should be some
legal action that you can take.
I'm very ill and finding that my
doctor doesn't even keep his promise. Character is not to be
found anywhere anymore.

bentneedle said...

Definitely write to your paper! It's amazing what letters to the editor can do.

kusz said...

Well, I guess I'm ready to face my own day--you've got my blood boiling and my heart pumping like coffee never could! So, so upsetting that this happened to you. I agree with all the others who say don't let this go; do something--letters, complaints, etc.

Natalie K.

baby face said...

I already left a comment, but some
of your bloggers left me with
something else to think about.
In the city where I live, they have a news channel that you can
call and they investigate whatever
complaint you have and try to take
care of it. Maybe you have a
t.v. channel like that also.

Sheepmom said...

Hi Susan
I have always been told that if the only way to pay a bill is to useWestern Union, then don't.
There was a news article down here in SE Ind ( the article was actually out of Cincinnati) and it told everyone not to use Western Union because the money you sent thru WU wasn't getting to the proper place and was thought to be staying in WU's pockets.
Even with all this said, Indy water should have been willing to find out what the problem was, but then again, we are talking about Indy.
benita

l said...
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