High cost of natural gas

I just uncovered that Just Energy has been charging my elderly Mother over double the $/Therm as compared to Nicor. She has had a contract with Just Energy since 2003. Her latest 5 yr contract expires in 2012 and they have been charging her $1.14/Therm for a minimum of 4 years. Nicor is @ $.51/therm. You can do the math and realize that she has been overpaying for MANY years. I am her daughter and recently began helping her with her bills. I discovered this and after a series of phone calls put two and two together. This is a horrible, deceitful and unthinkable thing to do to an elderly person on a fixed income. This is horrendous even if she were not in her late 80’s. Is there anything I can do and can cancel her contract without incurring any “cancellation fees”? Is there anything we can do to recover any of the charges and fees she has incurred in the last 8 years?

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One thought on “High cost of natural gas

  1. Sandi,

    First, yes you can cancel without any fee and yes you may ask for the money your mother over paid Just Energy vs. NICOR if your local government energy regulator (Illinois Commerce Commission) investigate and find the company was at fault.

    Here’s what I would do:

    1. Call Just Energy, their phone number is on your NICOR bill. Make sure you speak with someone and not to leave message because I doubt they call you back.

    2. When you’re on the phone ask for the rep. name and ID.

    3. Ask them to send you a copy of the alleged sign contract of your mother and a copy of the alleged audio confirmation back in 2003.

    In Ontario, any door-to-door sale over $50 require the company to call us back after 10 days of signing at the door and the home owner must reaffirm the deal over the phone. That’s the law in Ontario, I’m not sure about Illinois.

    Also, ask for a copy of the renew contract. Since your mother was allegedly join in 2003, the first contract should end in 2008 (after 5 years). Ask them who gave them consent to sign your mother for another 5 years.

    In Ontario, they needs the sign contract of the home owner (the name(s) on the bill are authorized to sign and reaffirm on the phone). If other people living in the house sign or reaffirm on the phone, there is no deal. The contract is void and you should ask for reimbursement.

    4. Once you have the copy of the contract and copy of the reaffirm on the phone. Usually they have them send to you within 1-2 weeks. If they don’t send you a copy of the contract and/or the reaffirm of the phone, then there probably no contract and no deal. You get your money.

    When you get the copy of the contract make sure to check for your mother’s signature or a forge signature. If your contract have a forge signature, thats a easy case. Also check the reaffirm call, your mother or whoever is authorize and no one else must reaffirm over the phone or no deal.

    5. Since your mother is a senior citizen, tell just that.

    6. After you complain that your mother is a senior, she doesn’t recall giving consent to switch, doesn’t recall or receiving any renewal package. If all else fail, you may file a formal complaint against with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and the Attorney General of Illinois.

    Lastly, ask about reimbursement from 2003. They will tell you to wait for their investigation. However, I doubt they will give back you any money – It’s hard enough to cancel so I don’t think they will just give any money back to you.

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