Renter in the dark after ComEd snafu socks him with $1,000 bill
BY STEPHANIE ZIMMERMANN firstname.lastname@example.org August 6, 2012 2:00PM
THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Updated: September 7, 2012 6:07AM
Dear Fixer: I moved into an apartment in the 8900 block of South Cottage Grove in September 2008. I only lived there for three months because I lost my job and had to move.
I lived with family for a while. Then, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in August 2011. After months of rehabilitation and therapy, I’m finally able to live on my own. I moved into my current residence on March 15.
Things started to look up for me, until I called ComEd to place the electricity bill in my name.
According to their representative, their records show I owe them $1,003.85 for the apartment on Cottage Grove. They said the electricity was still in my name from September 2008 until July 2010!
At first, I was told I couldn’t get an account for my current residence in my name, but eventually I did. I assumed the issue was resolved. But then I received my second bill from ComEd showing I still owe that $1,003.85 balance.
I called them numerous times between March and July, with no luck. Most recently, I was told that my electricity will be cut off unless I get on a budget plan, which requires a $300 deposit.
I have a letter from my landlord verifying the three months that I was a tenant there. I have MS medicine that must be refrigerated. The reps told me there is nothing that can be done and the electricity will be cut off. I only receive a once-a-month check, since I’m unable to work due to the effects of MS.
Roosevelt Wallace, Chicago
Dear Roosevelt: We know people who’d be annoyed about paying the next tenant’s bill for two weeks. But 20 months?
The good news is this got fixed in a big way. After we got this into the capable hands of ComEd spokeswoman Krissy Posey, they reviewed the documentation from your landlord and eventually took those other people’s usage off your bill.
Meanwhile, you earlier had approached CEDA—the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County—for hardship assistance. A grant came through from them for $907.85.
When all the numbers were crunched, you wound up with a $967.12 credit on your ComEd account. So you are back in good standing and won’t have to pay a bill for a very long time.
A word of warning for readers: If you are moving, be sure to notify ComEd online or by calling (800) EDISON1. And take good notes, including the time and date you canceled, in case an unexpected bill pops up later.
And your host is … The Fixer!
Let’s hope they don’t regret it, but the people in charge of the “Don’t Fall for It” radio show have invited The Fixer to guest-host while regular host Tom Brady is on vacation.
This week’s guest is Robin Fields, an award-winning senior editor at ProPublica.org. Robin will talk about some of ProPublica’s pro-consumer health reporting. We’ll also have the “True or Fraud” quiz, so call in to win a fabulous prize!
The fun begins at noon Wednesday on WBIG-AM (1280) and streaming live at WBIG1280.com.
Fake Chicago business busted
An alleged mortgage assistance scam involving a company that pretended to be based in Chicago has been halted by a U.S. District Court at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. If you think you were victimized, listen up:
According to the FTC, the scammers allegedly offered fake mortgage assistance for financially stressed Spanish-speaking homeowners — for huge upfront fees. The companies included: Freedom Companies Marketing Inc., Freedom Companies Lending Inc. and Freedom Companies Inc., all based in Centerville, Minn., and using a Chicago address; Grupo Marketing Dominicana, based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Freedom Information Services Inc., based in Miami; and Haiti Management Inc., based in Vero Beach, Fla.
If you lost money, the FTC would like to hear from you. Call them toll-free at (877) FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).