IRVING, TEXAS -- This company has been nothing but trouble for us and that have yet to even pretend to care. At two different occasions First Choice disconnected the power to our home due to THEIR error. The first time they "accidentally" sent out a disconnect notice even though the bill had been paid. The second time the power was disconnected because their website did not properly process the payment. My boyfriend and I split bills so I paid the first half and he paid the second half. All within 5 minutes of each other.
My payment went through my bank account almost immediately. Then, mysteriously two days later the money was back in my bank account for a day and then taken out again. When the power was disconnected we called a First Choice customer "care" representative who flat out said that we were lying and the second payment had not been made. Both my boyfriend and I work from home and needed the power restored immediately so we said we would pay the 200 and sort it out later. At this point the phone representative tells us it will be at least 24-48 hours before they would turn it back on.
We talked to the Texas New Mexico Power technician before he left after disconnecting and he very nicely told us he could be back within 10 minutes, all First Choice would have to do is send the reconnect notice and he's come right back. Once again the phone representative called us liars, told us we would have to wait because it was our fault that their website didn't accept our second payment and there was absolutely no emergency request or escalated request procedure to have the power turned back on in a more timely fashion. Turns out as this phone agent was calling us liars, he was actually the one lying!
I called Texas New Mexico Power, the provider that First Choice goes through and they assured me that all First Choice would have to do is send them a request and they could have us back up and running within the hour. The First Choice agent refused any assistance and basically told us to deal with it. We work from home because we live 40 miles from our office. Due to their error we both lost 3 hours of work each, had to pay for the gas to go in to the office and had to pay for emergency daycare for our 5-yr-old niece that had been staying with us.
I attempted to contact First Choice as well as the domestic call center that they outsource to and have yet to hear back from anyone! Today we called to get a one week extension on our bill due to medical expenses that have caused us to be under until our next paychecks. We were informed that because we did not pay the exact amount when we requested an extension about 6 months ago they refuse to help us this time. Difference that they are sighting was yet again a website error!! On a $620 bill we evidently were off by $3.87.
If we were paying over $600 why would we short $3.87? If they are going to completely screw us over that may be we need to get a lawyer to have them pay us for the hours of work missed, gas money, and daycare money that their incompetence has cost us. I would never recommend this deplorable company to anyone looking for an electric provider. Unfortunately they have made it perfectly clear that they don't care about our business or any future business from word of mouth.
TEXAS -- Hello, just have to let people know on the poor customer service that First Choice Power has. I've never been late on my bill but this summer my power bill went up a lot from paying approximately 250.00 to 750.00 in a month due to it being a hot summer so I got on a payment plan that cut the bill in 4 and added it to my upcoming bills. The first bill is paid on time it came out to 450.00 and the next bill that came was 550.00. On this payment I was late 3 days due to not getting paid later than I should have. So I was disconnected for a break of 4 payment contract. That was a 285.00 payment that was left.
So my power was cut off and that same day I mean minutes after the cutoff I paid the pending balance. It took them 3 days to reconnect me. I got the runaround from the first day when I let them know that I paid the bill. I was told it would be on within 24hrs. So I asked why so long, they said that's policy to give AEP time to reconnect. So I was mad, but what can I do. I let them know I have 2 toddlers and that my wife is pregnant and I've never missed a payment. They didn't seem to care. "That's policy," they stated. So I just waited until the next day.
So I called them back the next day to see when my power would be turned on because it was already 24hrs, they then stated to me that "Whoever that was that told you 24hrs was wrong. It's 24 to 48 business hours." I was outraged. I let them know again about my family and I also let them know about my fridge. They stated "It's policy and the food inside your fridge will be fine if you don't open it." I have kids, they need milk. So here I go again waiting until 48hrs. So I called them again after the 48hrs. Well this time they told me that AEP business day doesn't end until 5pm, that you should have your power on by then.
So at 530pm I called again after 50hrs waiting. Well by this time I had it up here. So I got mad with this male agent since he was rude after he told me that the AEP business day doesn't end until 7pm not 5pm. So I told him I feel that I am getting the runaround, what the next time I call, what the time will be at 9pm for AEP business time ends. "Can you please call AEP or can I talk to your supervisor?" He then stated that they'll tell you the same thing I'm telling you. So I just waited again until 7pm. Again since my power was still off I called. By this time my mind was lost seeing my kids sweating in their sleep for the last 2 nights.
So I spoke to another agent. She told me that AEP stops reconnecting until 10pm and that she would call and find out to make sure. Since I told her about what the other agent had told me. She gets back on the line and tells me that they would be there tomorrow morning that they stop at 7pm. And that she was sorry but that they went by at 4pm and your gate was locked. If that male agent would have called them I would have know that and they would have may be come back before 7pm. And they never knock on my door. I was there all day and I had the door open to air out the house due to it being hot.
So that's what more than 72 hrs to turn on my power. This is for the power company. Thanks for the poor service and thanks for my food going bad in my freezer. I can't cook it my stove that's powered by you. I'll be changing companies as soon as my power gets turn on.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I am a former First Choice Power customer and I will never do business with them again. Since they have installed their new billing system, I've had more problems and headaches with my account - at least two payments that were not properly applied, back billing for missed kilowatt hours, and a phone system that takes for forever to navigate through to talk to a real person and which will hang up on you.
Two payments that I made August were improperly applied to my account. Imagine my surprise after making a payment using their Western Union service, to come home the day before a big trip and find that my power had been turned off even though I called and gave them the confirmation number of the payment. I had to go to the store where I made the payment, get a copy of the information and fax it to First Choice Power. Unfortunately the power was not turned back on in time to prevent me from having to throw out food when I returned from my trip (my boyfriend was checking the apartment to see when the power got turned back on.).
I was told at the time that the new computer system for billing was having problems correctly applying Western Union payments. I just found out about the second problem with my second August payment this afternoon when I called about my refund check. The customer service rep told me that the check was going to be just over $70. I was flabbergasted because I had put down a $200 deposit. In doing research, the customer service rep told me that an ACH payment I made through their billing system at the end of August never was properly applied to my checking account and so the charges had been taken out of my deposit check.
The problem was discovered on March 3rd (SIX MONTHS AFTER I MADE THE PAYMENT!) and I wasn't notified of the problem until I made a phone call them to inquire about the status of my deposit refund (seven months after said payment was made). The Customer Service rep implied that somehow the money was somehow taken out of the wrong account at my bank (apparently this event has happened to multiple customers). I've requested the information for the transaction and am should get it in 8-10 business days. I've used the billing system several times and the August payment is the only one that never went through.
Then there's the whole back billing fiasco that happened in the November-December time frame. I had some overlap in the lease of my old apartment and the lease in my new apartment (where I am dealing with a totally separate power company). I was hardly at my old place for the month of November so I was really pleased when my bill that came at the end November was for $45. Then at the end of December I received another bill from them that was $315 before a number of credits were applied the bill because of back billing that they had to do. The final bill was just over $132.
However, the bill is not clear in term of what months the charges were generated in. It's now 8 weeks since I made my last payment. My refund check hasn't even been cut. The Customer Service rep asked me if I wanted the balance. I told him yes. He told me that they cut checks on Wednesday but he couldn't guarantee that mine would be cut on April 2nd because today is Saturday. At least I was able to get answers today because when I tried to call yesterday I kept getting disconnected from their phone system.
As someone who works in the IT/Software field, it seems to me that their billing system was improperly tested before it was put into production. There's no excuse for a six month lag time in finding out that there's a problem with my account (that just poor accounting practices), and I've never seen a company who blames the customer before taking a hit for something that is clearly an error with their system. As someone who works in the IT/software field, it sounds as if their system was not fully tested before it was unleashed onto the general public.
FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS -- When the representative of this company came to us about switching to them when the Texas deregulation took place this year, they promised me that I would stay on balanced billing right from the start. I asked him twice and he promised us this would happen.
I am on a fixed income and travel a lot, in and out of the country this is why this was so important for me. I would hate to be out of country and have my family lose the electricity because I didn't get the bill. So I have online banking and scheduled amounts so no matter where I am these sort of bills get paid, but if not on balanced billing my monthly bills would vary, which for me is impossible. This company now refuses to do this until after I am with them a year - impossible for me. I will be out of the country again in a few months.
The only thing that saved me was that Reliant Energy of Houston agreed to reestablish my account with balanced billing, gratefully, and saved me a whole lot of grief. I hate salesmen, why can't they just tell you the truth?
Needless to say, I was glad to now not be a customer of First Choice Power. They are far more like our Last or No choice company Texas buyers of electricity. Beware of this company.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- First Choice disconnected my power even though I was paid up on my bill. When they finally did the research, they conceded that it was their error, but the woman that helped me stated that it was too late and I would have to pay a 450 reconnect fee. On a little bitty 1 bedroom apartment, my bills have been averaging 250.00 a month and I am not going crazy with the air conditioner! I feel like no one in customer service really knows what is going on and they are taking advantage of people. Do not use them for your service. I should have stayed with Reliant.
I called First Choice customer service to have my name changed cause I got married. The change was important because I wanted to take advantage of the Lite Up Texas program for reduced electricity. I asked to have my name changed on the account, not just the bill. They told me I would need to fax in a copy of my driver's license and marriage license. Pretty standard stuff. I commented that none of this information was required to start up service, not even an ID. The "customer service" representative then said to me, "Well, I guess they trusted you then."
So, I guess that I was trusted before I was a customer. And now that I have been a customer for a year, and making solid payments, never late, I'm no longer trusted. Nice to know.
LEWISVILLE, TEXAS -- Customer service is poor. Not consistent in what they say. I had to call in 2 weeks straight to resolve a billing problem all they have to say is "It is forwarded to the back office." God knows where is their back office, problems never gets resolved. In fact it gets complicated with every rep's inconsistent explanations. Their rates are high. My two bedroom apt 's bill is $350-$400. Two adults always at work. Watch out before you get into this. First Choice is having a lot of issues now than it ever had. My bank account was processed for withdrawing someone else's money????
ALVIN, TEXAS -- We moved into our new trailer on 9/1/08 and were connected with FCP no problems. Our electricity was off due to Hurricane Ike from 9/13-20 and when we got our first bill on 10/10 it was for $540 for 3003 kwh. $540 for a month we were never home, have energy efficient light bulbs everywhere, rarely run appliances, AND power off for 8 days due to hurricane?!?! The landlord said that the highest it had EVER been was $240. When we called to ask about it, a very nice lady said that the bill was due in 30 days and if we made payments it was fine, as long as we were paying.
The next day, we got a pink disconnect notice and said that the bill was due on the 23rd of October, so we called back and a disgruntled man said that if it's not paid in FULL by 11/3 it will be disconnected, no questions asked. Well, we didn't have the full amount of money and no way to come up with it, so we switched our service to Spark Energy which is .04 cents cheaper anyway. Our power got switched over just fine and now that we are with Spark, I got a "final bill" in the mail from FCP yesterday saying that our account had been credited the $540 and that we really had only used 810 kwh that month and 723 for Oct...
So our 2 months COMBINED plus the $150 disconnect fee was still $100 less than they were harassing us to pay for just one month. It also states that "It appears that you overlooked paying last month's bill" and that "Due to Hurricane Ike, we are not charging late fees and you may be qualified for deferred billing." Where were these advantages when we were dealing with the aftermath of the Hurricane??? How is it OK and LEGAL for that matter for them to harass us for a bill that was so OBVIOUSLY WRONG???
I am filing a complaint with the BBB and will never recommend anyone to use FCP. I will also pay the sum of the 2 months' bills, but I will never pay the disconnect fee. Seems to me that they were trying to scam us out of $400 initially and now that we disconnected, they are taking $150... Either way, they get money that belongs to us that they are not entitled to.
WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS -- I have been a customer of First Choice Power for a little over a year. I too thought because of the power to choose that they were the best choice. I was completely wrong. Not only does your rates keep going up and up the customer service they offer is a nightmare. My bill jump from $88 to $368 from March to July. I tried to make some sort of payment plan with them but the only thing they will offer you is this plan called deferred payment. How that work is when you call in to set the payment arrangements it has to be after your past due date before they will do it, then they want you to pay at least like 10% down on the total amount the same day.
EX. if your bill is $284.81 for the month of July then you have to pay $71.16 down first payment then they set you up on monthly payments of the same amount for like 4 months until the bill is paid in full. Sounds good right? Well it's not, don't forget in between those 4 months your getting your next current bill. In order to keep the payment plan you have to pay your current bill for that month in full and on the due date. And if you don't even if you go one day over, the payment plan will be voided and all payments will be expected to be paid in full including past due and current.
So you could have to come up with $576 bucks right then if not "THEY WILL CUT YOUR LIGHTS OFF." My bill was due on the 25th and I did not get paid until the 29th. I called and asked if they could give me those 4 days to pay my bill and they refused. 4 days that's all I was asking for I even told them to cut my lights off that day if I did not have it paid by noon on Friday. Well I guess that's just the way customer service is now days. The electric went up 50% since last year but our income stays the same. I wish my income could go up with the price of electric.
I am going to switch electric companies as soon as I get this bill taken care of with the help of family and friends. Just remember First Choice "Simply NOT Better!!!"
TEXAS -- CAUTION - AVOID First Choice Power!!!! IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THEM - GET AWAY WHILE YOU STILL CAN. I have been with them now for almost a year and have had consistent issues with additional fees and late charges because of the way they structure their billing system.
They charge additional fees for paying by phone or at a payment center but when I pay by check, even when I send the check the SAME day I receive the bill, they don't process it in time and I am charged a late fee. When I call I am told that they "take 7-10 business days to process your bill." When I told them that I received the bill that day and it won't make it within the 7-10 day window. They said they cannot be responsible for the shortcomings of the US Postal Service, then offer to have me pay by phone for a small additional fee.
I have requested to have the billing period extended, and they REFUSE, saying that this is what they do to all their customer and offer the phone option for an additional fee. I'm in a year contract or I would have left after the second time this happened. When I called last month to complain I was told my contract expired in May. Today when I called to complain and try to cancel early without cancellations fees, I was told that I had to cancel on the first of this month. Since I didn't call on the first to cancel my service with them, I am now reenrolled for another full year.
If I want to get out now I have to pay $150 fee, even though I honored my original contract. They say they sent out a notice about this in December. I never received this letter and told her that I was told last month I couldn't leave until May. She repeated that they are not responsible for the shortcomings of the US Postal Service - yet I am?!?!? They can't explain why the person last month told me May. They say I heard it wrong. I have asked for a supervisor only to be told that she was and if I wanted her supervisor, I needed to call back Monday. But she wouldn't tell me who to ask for. I left my contact info and said I wanted them to call me on Monday.
I will report this to the Utility Commission if I don't have it resolved by this week. This is very poor customer service at best. I feel it may even qualify for cramming, but am still trying to resolve it with the company before I take further action. Bottom line - WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND THIS COMPANY!!!