Friday, February 15, 2008

Gas Man Scam: Update

Apparently Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan agrees with me about the deceptive tactics of U.S. Energy Savings Corp. She filed a lawsuit against them last week days ago alleging deceptive sales practices and false promises. You go, Lisa.

The day before Madigan filed the suit, Pam Zekman reported that 700 people had filed complaints with the Citizens Utility Board against the company. The Better Business Bureau reported that complaints against U.S. Energy Savings were up 125 percent from 2006 to 2007.

This company even targeted Chicago-area nuns with their questionable business practices.

I will say that the salesperson who came to my door was respectful, and she did not use high-pressure tactics to get me to sign a contract. When I said I wasn't ready to sign, she immediately voided the contract she had prepared for my signature, and gave me a copy, along with a phone number to call if I had more questions.

But the essence of her sales pitch was that I would be savings money on future gas price increases--which, essentially, was false, since the starting price locked in by the contract was already significantly higher than our current per-therm price, our average per-therm price over the past year, and every monthly per-therm price we'd ever had to date.

I know some of you out there feel like you got a good deal from U.S. Energy Savings Corp.--and perhaps you did. But I think the company's tactics prey on our feelings of insecurity about gas prices rising exorbitantly, and we feel the pressure to sign on the dotted line a little too quickly, without the due diligence that we'd normally pursue before committing ourselves to a long-term contract.

Once again, this blog offers you a word of caution: caveat emptor--let the buyer beware when the gas man (or woman) with a deal too good to be true knocks on your door. As it almost always is, too good to be true = not true.

UPDATE: I revisited my historical price per therm, one year later, in this post.

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