ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS -- We moved from living in a heat-paid apartment for 7 years into our house in April 2006. Not having had much experience with Nicor's rates, but having heard horror stories about how high they were, we budgeted in $200/month for heat. The end of 2006 was fine - with our highest bill being $180. In January of 07, we were billed $320! I paid the $200 (or maybe squeezed out $225) and let the remainder carry over into the next month. The next month WAS lower, but still over $200. Again, I paid $200 and the following month we were paid in full, on time.
In the summer of 07, a couple months after my daughter was born, I spaced off a small summer bill of $25. I was shocked to get my next bill in the amount of $200+. I called Nicor, was informed that since we had been "late" 3 times in a calendar year, we were being charged a $190 deposit.
Now, here's my beef about this "deposit" in general: 1) As homeowners, we were less likely to up and move, sticking it to the company. 2) They report late bills to the credit bureau, so consumers are ALREADY being penalized by paying late. 3) If the winter months end and the consumer still hasn't paid their bill, THEY GET SHUT OFF. 4) I did not realize until after the fact that Nicor "estimates" bills at least every other month. Lo and behold, in retrospect, the $320 bill was an "estimate" not based on MY previous usage, but the previous homeowners. MY highest bill (estimates included) has only been $220.
So not getting any sympathy from Nicor, and having no choice in the matter, I paid the deposit, and was told that if we paid on time for a year, I would get the deposit back + interest. So I paid on time for a year, and on October 31 called to see when I would get my deposit back. The representative was pleasant, and said my last late fee was put on the account 10/24/07, so it should be any time. I asked if it showed as a credit on my next bill, or if I would get a check back. She said I would get a check.
The month of November came and went, no check or credit. I called again on 12/1, and a not very experienced representative fumbled around for quite some time, telling me I had to call and request a check (?), asking whether I wanted a check or a credit, saying she could "take care of" my request for a check, then finally saying "a check has already been sent out" but "unable" to tell me WHEN. So I waited all week, and as of today, NO check from Nicor.
I'm just really hacked off that 1) they are allowed to penalize consumers in so many ways, 2) they are allowed to be so non-committal in returning deposits forced on consumers. I held up my end of the bargain, paying high "estimates" that were obviously incorrect, how can consumers make sure NICOR is holding up to theirs???? I want my $190 back! They can keep their interest, just give me back the money that was taken away from my family last year - with a newborn in the house.
AURORA, ILLINOIS -- I expressed very specifically that I was to be called on my cell phone when the tech was on the way to the vacant house for the service start up. After all who in their right mind would wait at a vacant house for possibly 4 hours? I don't mind the 4 hour window for service I just mind a tech who does not follow instructions for a simple start up of service. The start up was for a property inspection so a lot of time and effort went into getting a time soon enough to have all the utilities turned on so the property could be properly inspected.
So what happened you say? The tech showed up during the window of time, saw no one was home and left without making a call per the explicit instruction left to him! To make matters worse because it is after business hours on Friday we will have to wait till Monday to reschedule. Unfortunately I am dealing with a bank owned property so rescheduling an inspection will not be easy or timely! It may not be possible without risking losing the property... I have never been more disenfranchised, inconvenienced and just plain let down!!
The tech couldn't even be reached by a representative I talked with during the event window. In this day and age with all the computers and available information at our fingertips, well, I find that both ridiculous and very very hard to believe!
ELGIN, ILLINOIS -- I received a Nicor bill that re-calculated my payments for the last 9 months and billed me more. According to the unhelpful representative I spoke with a while ago, all those months I paid are just estimates. He told me Nicor cannot "babysit" each customer and make a meter reading every month. I felt so helpless and frustrated that I am being billed and forced to pay a bigger bill based on their "(over)estimates".
Is this even legal? Aren't they supposed to read the meter and bill us based on what our usage is and not bill through "estimates". I am so upset right now. Is there any other gas company that has ethical company practice than Nicor? Our neighbor also had the same problem. I guess this is being enforced on everybody. I don't know about everybody else, but I operate on a budget. I cannot be happy receiving a big bill just because Nicor decided that I need to pay more because they estimated that I might be using more freaking gas!!!
LOMBARD, ILLINOIS -- I lived in many cities within the US and never was faced with such ugly and rude service as Nicor's. They forced their unfair policies on customers as they monopolize the marketplace. We moved within the Lombard area and were sent erroneous billing. When we disputed the bill and refused to pay it they billed us for $180 deposit. We continued to pay current bills but they applied to the deposit amount. Late fees and other charges also were applied.
When we called them we were faced with such ugly and rude customer service staff. They refused to adjust the bill and we are forced to pay the deposit and several charges. They need total customer service adjustment. We need to create fair competition in the marketplace. Let's take action.