36ºF

How gas provider switch through door-to-door salesperson left Grosse Pointe woman with huge bills

Woman says energy bills skyrocketed after move

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – A Grosse Pointe woman switched her gas provider after speaking with a door-to-door salesperson, and it ended up leaving her with huge bills.

It seemed like a simple switch for Amy Carmichael. She thought the switch would save her money, but she didn’t realize the actual terms of the deal. Now she’s sharing what happened in the hopes that it won’t happen to someone else.

Some gas companies have teams of door-to-door salespeople, and while it’s the customer’s choice whether they sign with one of them or DTE Energy, it’s important they understand the real deal.

It all started with a simple knock at Carmichael’s door and and offer that sounded too good to be true. The offer was made just a few years ago, but Carmichael noticed recently that her bill skyrocketed.

“I got our bill again and (thought), ‘Why is this high?’” Carmichael said.

She said she called DTE and told them it was the second month with a high bill, and a worker reviewed her account and saw an alternative gas provider listed on the bill.

Carmichael didn’t realize she had switched her gas to another provider, and only noticed when it was pointed out on her DTE bill. Her promotional rate had expired with the other provider and the bill jumped significantly.

Carmichael said she didn’t even really remember the knock on the door of her previous address. She said she didn’t remember agreeing to the switch and was surprised it followed her to her new address, considering she cut service at her old home.

“At the time, I think we signed up for something like that, but we moved,” Carmichael said. “I don’t know how it transferred over, and the lady at DTE said sometimes it moves with you and (doesn’t) notify you, and that’s how it happened.

“If it’s something you switch over into, look at the fine print and see if they have a cancellation period.”

Workers at DTE said they know other providers are out there. They said they understand there’s competition, but they want people to be careful.

The best advice for consumers is to do your homework before agreeing to any switch, whether that involves gas, cellphones or other service providers.

Carmichael said she wants others to be aware of what happened to her so they have the information she didn’t before making a decision.

You can compare gas rates online and do your homeowner about what different companies are offering.


About the Authors: