BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Santanna Energy Services meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Find a Location

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Santanna Energy Services include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 64 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

64 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 48 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 31
Billing/Collection Issues 15
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 18
Total Closed Complaints 64

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Santanna Energy Services
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

top
BBB file opened: June 25, 2008 Business started: 05/12/1988 Business started locally: 05/12/1988 Business incorporated: 05/12/1988 in TX
Type of Entity

Corporation

Business Management
Ms. Denise Robles Mr. Doug Cueller, Vice President of Operations Mr. Tim Kolb, Operations Manager Mr. Gregory Rabaey, VP
Contact Information
Principal: Ms. Denise Robles
Business Category

Natural Gas Companies Energy Conservation Products & Services

Alternate Business Names
Santanna Natural Gas Corporation

Additional Locations

X

What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

X

About BBB Business Review Content & Services:

Some Better Business Bureaus offer additional content & services in BBB Business Reviews.
The additional content & services are typically regional in nature or, in some cases, a new product or service that is being tested prior to a more general release.
Not all enhanced content & services are available at all Better Business Bureaus.

Professional AffiliationsX
X

Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.

X

BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the business within two business days. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the business's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.

X

What is BBB Advertising Review?

BBB promotes truth in advertising by contacting advertisers whose claims conflict with the BBB Code of Advertising. These claims come to our attention from our internal review of advertising, consumer complaints and competitor challenges. BBB asks advertisers to prove their claims, change ads to make offers more clear to consumers, and remove misleading or deceptive statements.

X

What government actions does BBB report on?

BBB reports on known significant government actions involving business' marketplace conduct.

X

Thank you for your feedback!

Help us improve by taking our survey.

X

BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.

X

Additional Phone Numbers

  • (512) 346-2578 (Fax)
Find a LocationX

  Change Location
Show Only Accredited Locations


Complaint Detail(s)

9/13/2014 Problems with Product/Service
7/14/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: We have discontinued gas services in our home in Chicago. I received a letter and a statement on May 21, 2014 that the account is closed and a final refund will be issued in the amount of $1719.21. The check will be sent shortly. Not only the check did not arrive shortly. The check did arrive after my phone call around June 19, 2014 asking about the check. The problem is that the check is for a different amount then it was stated in the letter from Santanna. The check was sent in the amount of $1,687.32. So I called and asked about the difference. It is still under investigation. I can get a straight a answer from the customer service. I was told not to cash that check.

Desired Settlement: I would like to receive a check for the difference immediately with a apology letter. I should not have to spend hours on the phone asking for a correction on a refund check.

Business Response: Customer:  **** ******

Customer Concern Received from BBB:  7/04/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
We have discontinued gas services in our home in Chicago. I received a letter and a statement on May 21, 2014 that the account is closed and a final refund will be issued in the amount of $1719.21. The check will be sent shortly. Not only the check did not arrive shortly. The check did arrive after my phone call around June 19, 2014 asking about the check. The problem is that the check is for a different amount then it was stated in the letter from Santanna. The check was sent in the amount of $1,687.32. So I called and asked about the difference. It is still under investigation. I can get a straight a answer from the customer service. I was told not to cash that check.

Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.

Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.

Customer Concern Investigation:

Original Enrollment Date: 9/05/2009.    Service Start Date: 11/03/2009.

SES spoke to **** ****** on 7/14/2014 and went over her complaint. She stated she was upset because she wasn’t getting a call back and she felt like she was getting the run around regarding her refund. It was explained to her that a second check was issued on 7/9/2014 in the amount of $31.89. The check was mailed on 7/11/2014 and she should be receiving it shortly. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 4/06/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. ****  understood and thanked me for following up on her complaint. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.  

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Thank you,

****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader


Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

**** ******

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

7/11/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: When I spoke with the lady at Santanna she stated that they had sent out welcoming letters and rate change letters for their company and I told her we had never received those papers at all. Neither my husband and I had any idea that we signed up for this company until just recently. I also wanted to know if they would knock some off of our bill because they charged us an outrageous amount in March of this year for our heating bill. That happened to be one of the coldest months of the winter. The biggest problem I have is that I was NEVER notified that their rates would increase by an extreme amount and by the time I realized that I was a part of this company and they charged us that amount we were $1200 in the hole with them and consumers because I couldn't keep up with their amounts. I have a 4 year old in my house and I can't afford to have my gas and electric shut off and I can't afford to pay their huge amounts because they think it's right to price gauge me.

Desired Settlement: 888.59 to pay off my whole Consumers bill so I can start fresh again.

Business Response: Customer:  ****** ***** ******** 

Customer Concern Received from BBB:  7/02/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
When I spoke with the lady at Santanna she stated that they had sent out welcoming letters and rate change letters for their company and I told her we had never received those papers at all. Neither my husband and I had any idea that we signed up for this company until just recently. I also wanted to know if they would knock some off of our bill because they charged us an outrageous amount in March of this year for our heating bill. That happened to be one of the coldest months of the winter. The biggest problem I have is that I was NEVER notified that their rates would increase by an extreme amount and by the time I realized that I was a part of this company and they charged us that amount we were $1200 in the hole with them and consumers because I couldn't keep up with their amounts. I have a 4 year old in my house and I can't afford to have my gas and electric shut off and I can't afford to pay their huge amounts because they think it's right to price gauge me.

Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.

Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.

Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 3/29/2011.    Service Start Date: 4/11/2011.

SES spoke to Mrs. ******** on 7/10/2014 and went over her complaint. She stated that her husband and her had no idea how the account was enrolled with SES and that she was very upset about her high gas bill. It was explained to her that the account was originally enrolled into the SES program on 3/29/2011 by Mr. Andrew ********, her husband. The initial contract was for a fixed rate of $6.19 cents per MCF for 12 months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on our market price. A Continuation Notice was mailed to them on 3/28/2012 informing them that their current fixed price would be ending soon and their account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. She stated she doesn’t remember ever receiving this letter and that she opens all the mail. The address was verified with her and she confirmed that the address was correct. SES offered to play the TPV for her but she stated she didn’t want to listen to it. It was also explained to ****** that due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas was high, which had impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by
numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 7/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Mrs. ******** understood. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused them.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

****** ******
QualityAssurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

****** ********

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

6/18/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: which will lead to another overly expensive bill

Desired Settlement: im not seeking a settlement a fair gas price adjustment would be sufficient

Business Response: Customer:  **** ******* 

Customer Concern Received from BBB:  5/29/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
 
Customer Services Issues which will lead to another overly expensive bill

Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.

Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 7/28/2011.   Service Start Date: 8/04/2011.

SES spoke to Ms. ******* on 6/5/2014 and went over her complaint. She stated that her most recent bill was over one hundred dollars with SES and the charges from her utility were only around forty dollars. It was explained to her that SES is charging her for her natural gas used for that service period and the charges from the utility company are for distribution and taxes. She wanted to know why it was taking so long for the account to be canceled. It was explained that the utility company will normally switch the account back in one to two billing cycles. During this period, SES is required to deliver gas volumes, as instructed by the utility
company to her gas account. Therefore, Ms. ******* may see SES charges on her subsequent gas bill(s) that are valid and should be paid. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on or around 6/4/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. She understood. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 

Thank you,

Denise Robles
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct:
###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

6/10/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: see Attached document

Desired Settlement: see Attached document

Business Response: Customer:  ********* *********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/28/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
About 1.5 yrs. ago ******** contacted me and said they would supply my natural cheaper than Consumer’s would. Not True. I did not notice they changed approx. .70cents/MCF more than Consumers until Feb when they increased to $3 more than Consumers. I stupidity thought my high heat bill was due to cold weather. Then they doubled that rate and charged me $16.32 while Consumers was $4.70. They call themselves competitive. I’ve been scammed. Taken for a ride gouged. Fraud.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
******** Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 12/6/2011.      Service Start Date: 1/1/2012.

SES spoke to Gerald ********* on 3/31/2014 and went over her complaint. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with ******** automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and their account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Ms. *********’s account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. A Cancellation Letter was mailed on 3/24/2014.  The customer’s account was final on 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@**************
www.**************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:  There is NO misunderstanding.  You simply tricked me into signing up with your scheming company with the lie that you would be CHEAPER than consumer's energy.  NOT TRUE.  Did you read my complaint?  I'm not asking if there was adequate pre and post contact with your company.  Are you aware that there are over 120 complaints about you on the consumeraffairs.com website?  Do you care?  Are you aware that you made the scam report on the Detroit NBC affiliate, "Ruth To The Rescue?"  The advice is to not deal with your company.  Are you proud?  You brag on your letterhead that you are "registered" with the Michigan Public Service Commission.  Sex offenders are also "registered."  You brag on your letterhead that you are accredited with the BBB.  Something is suspicious about that.  How much do you pay them?

I have been taken by your company.  I want financial restitution.

Regards,

********* *********

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because:  There is NO misunderstanding.  You simply tricked me into signing up with your scheming company with the lie that you would be CHEAPER than consumer's energy.  NOT TRUE.  Did you read my complaint?  I'm not asking if there was adequate pre and post contact with your company.  Are you aware that there are over 120 complaints about you on the consumeraffairs.com website?  Do you care?  Are you aware that you made the scam report on the Detroit NBC affiliate, "Ruth To The Rescue?"  The advice is to not deal with your company.  Are you proud?  You brag on your letterhead that you are "registered" with the Michigan Public Service Commission.  Sex offenders are also "registered."  You brag on your letterhead that you are accredited with the BBB.  Something is suspicious about that.  How much do you pay them?

I have been taken by your company.  I want financial restitution.

Regards,

********* *********
 
********’s Follow-up Response
Original Enrollment Date: 12/6/2011.      Service Start Date: 1/1/2012.
 
SES spoke to Gerald ********* on 5/19/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. ********* stated that she felt tricked into signing up. She hopes SES goes out of business. She said that it does not matter if SES is accredited by the BBB or MPSC. She said we are paying them to make SES look good. She said she has learned her lesson and wants her money back. It was explained to her again that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with ******** automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and their account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Ms. *********’s account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. A Cancellation Letter was mailed on 3/24/2014.  The customer’s account was final on 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Again, ******** apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Sincerely,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@**************
www.**************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:You just keep saying the same thing over and over again.  I do not "misunderstand."  Do not apologize because I "Misunderstand," I do not "Misunderstand."  You duped me with your offer of being competitive, I just didn't know with whom you were being competitive.  You spoke of being registered with MPSC.  It turns out that being registered has no meaning, it just sounded good.  You  brag of BBB accreditation.  Turns out that doesn't mean much either. 

I give up.  You win.  You took my money.  You overcharged me and say you cannot return my money because I used the gas.  So it apparently doesn't matter to you what you  charge, if I use it, I pay.  You are buying service from the BBB and they will support you with accreditation.  They will now say you have done everything you could to try to make me happy and I was just difficult and you are great.

It appears that doing business with you was a very bad idea.  You are thieves.  NBC news also points out that you are not to be trusted.  Are you proud?

Regards,

********* *********

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

6/10/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: UNFAIR PRICE CHARGING.I have been with this company since 2002. Back in the fall of 2013 when the prices started going up I questioned about getting a copy of the contract - I never received a copy. I had spoke with a representative and was told that I needed to send a letter 30-60 days before April 1. ( My contract date is May 14, 2002- I should have until May 14 to cancel my contract - or at least until April 14 to cancel. I had sent them a letter first part of March - plenty of time to cancel the contract - guess what they didn't receive the letter until April. ( I guess it was lost in the mail room). We have been having a number of issues reguarding the actual meter reading of the rental home. They are only doing estimated readings - not actual m- ***** claims they sent the information - Santana has never received it.Nov - price per therm .5596 - ***** charge was .41Dec - price per therm .6118 - ***** charge was .46Jan - price per therm .8486 - ***** charge was .46Feb - price per therm .$1.1526 - ***** charge was .68Mar - price per therm .8616 - ***** charge was .68They tell us its a "Variable rate contract or "Burner tip" - how can they change the rate or not send any information out to let you know. Consumers aren't able to check and see what the prices of gas are for any day unless you belong to a membership.

Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: Other (requires explanation) TO be fair on pricing - , admit you were price gauging - How many people can aford a $1200.00 gas bill for the month - yes the winter was cold - but , you should have been planning ahead better - we were suppose to have a surplus of gas at a cheaper rate - BS. the only people who made money is Santana...

Business Response: Customer:  ***** *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  5/16/2014
 
Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
UNFAIR PRICE CHARGING.I have been with this company since 2002. Back in the fall of 2013 when the prices started going up I questioned about getting a copy of the contract - I never received a copy. I had spoke with a representative and was told that I needed to send a letter 30-60 days before April 1. ( My contract date is May 14, 2002- I should have until May 14 to cancel my contract - or at least until April 14 to cancel. I had sent them a letter first part of March - plenty of time to cancel the contract - guess what they didn't receive the letter until April. ( I guess it was lost in the mail room). We have been having a number of issues reguarding the actual meter reading of the rental home. They are only doing estimated readings - not actual m- ***** claims they sent the information - Santana has never received it.Nov - price per therm .5596 - ***** charge was .41Dec - price per therm .6118 - ***** charge was .46Jan - price per therm .8486 - ***** charge was .46Feb - price per therm .$1.1526 - ***** charge was .68Mar - price per therm .8616 - ***** charge was .68They tell us its a "Variable rate contract or "Burner tip" - how can they change the rate or not send any information out to let you know. Consumers aren't able to check and see what the prices of gas are for any day unless you belong to a membership.

Desired Settlement:                      
DesiredSettlementID: Other (requires explanation) TO be fair on pricing - , admit you were price gauging - How many people can aford a $1200.00 gas bill for the month - yes the winter was cold - but , you should have been planning ahead better - we were suppose to have a surplus of gas at a cheaper rate - BS. the only people who made money is Santana...
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 2/4/1999.     Service Start Date: 5/1/1999.
 
SES spoke to ***** ***** on 5/19/2014 and went over her complaint. Mrs. ***** stated that SES is price gouging. She stated that she just does not understand why for the month of March SES price went up so high. It was explained that due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas was high, which had impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. She understood. Mrs. ****** originally enrolled with an index price of Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI), Bidweek Index, Chicago Citygate, + 2.95 cents per therm with storage (the index price fluctuates each month) and a per therm distribution factor with ***** distribution costs. An Annual Statements was mailed to them presenting the customer’s Program Summary, the Sales Agreement Terms and Conditions and an Account Summary Report. She stated that she tried to cancel her account with SES. It was explained that canceling with SES at this time was not within the terms and conditions of their contract, and this would result in termination fees due to breach of contract. To cancel within the terms of his contract, Mr. & Mrs. ****** needed to give SES a written notice no more than sixty (60) days or not less than thirty (30) days prior to the expiration date via certified mail. She disagreed with the dates and Mrs. ****** ended the call.
 
Several letters were sent to Mrs. ***** indicating that SES records show that her gas meter readings have been estimated by her Utility for several months. (Upon further review, it was noted that her meter has not been read since 2012.)  SES strongly recommended that she contact her Utility Company to schedule an ACTUAL meter reading. While SES is her natural gas supplier, the Utility Company owns and reads her meter. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:
I still feel they are price gouging. I have called the *****- and they claim they have read the meters and have sent the info over - Someone is lying -  ses CLAIMS THEY HAVEN'T SEEN THE REPORT - i HAVE CALLED ***** AND HAVE ASKED FOR THEM TO SEND ME THE METER READ INFORMATION AS WELL - 

Regards,

***** A *****

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I still feel they are price gouging. I have called the *****- and they claim they
have read the meters and have sent the info over - Someone is lying -  ses
CLAIMS THEY HAVEN'T SEEN THE REPORT – I HAVE CALLED ***** AND HAVE ASKED FOR
THEM TO SEND ME THE METER READ INFORMATION AS WELL - 

Regards,

***** A *****
 

Santanna’s Follow-up Response

Original Enrollment Date: 2/4/1999.    Service Start Date: 5/1/1999.
 

Santanna Energy Services (SES) again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to
***** A ***** account. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas
was high, which had impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices
have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the
Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and
limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas
supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.
 

Several letters were sent to Mrs. ***** indicating that SES records show that her gas
meter readings have been estimated by her Utility for several months. (Upon
further review, it was noted that her meter has not been read since
2012.) SES did strongly recommend that she contact her Utility Company to
schedule an ACTUAL meter reading. While SES is her natural gas supplier, the
Utility Company owns and reads her meter.


Sincerely,

****** ******

Quality Assurance Team Leader
Direct: 630-789-6022 ext 244
Toll Free: 800-764-4427
FAX: 866-531-3951
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because: Many people were charged their outrageous prices and were  overcharged in the same way we have. I have contacted ***** and have been told that they have sent the information to SES.  I am unsure who it is that is not telling the correct  response - 

Regards,

***** A *****

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

6/9/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In one month Santanna doubled their charges, without any notice at all to me. I was under the impression that I had a locked in rate, as that is how they sold their services to me in the first place. Apparently this is common business practice, as I have heard many account of this happening to Santanna's customers. And of course they choose to double their charges on one of the coldest months of the year - when more gas would be used anyways. I ended up with a ONE month gas bill of over $900!! When I called to discuss the issue with their customer service department I was told that there was nothing they could do. I asked to speak with a manager - and was told one would have to call me back. Two days later I got a message left by a "Manager" who simply said that she sees that my account had been cancelled, and so didn't see the need to discuss anything further. I called my gas company about a month later only to find out that Santanna had never cancelled my account! I called back to Santanna again, was once again told that there was nothing they could do. I asked to speak with a manager again, and again was told that one would have to call me back. Still no call back...

Desired Settlement: I want Santanna to adjust the bill to the rate that I was told I would be charged.

Business Response: Customer:  ******* ******* 

Customer Concern Received from BBB:  5/6/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
In one month Santanna doubled their charges, without any notice at all to me. I
was under the impression that I had a locked in rate, as that is how they sold
their services to me in the first place. Apparently this is common business
practice, as I have heard many account of this happening to Santanna's
customers. And of course they choose to double their charges on one of the
coldest months of the year - when more gas would be used anyways. I ended up
with a ONE month gas bill of over $900!! When I called to discuss the issue
with their customer service department I was told that there was nothing they
could do. I asked to speak with a manager - and was told one would have to call
me back. Two days later I got a message left by a "Manager" who
simply said that she sees that my account had been cancelled, and so didn't see
the need to discuss anything further. I called my gas company about a month
later only to find out that Santanna had never cancelled my account! I called
back to Santanna again, was once again told that there was nothing they could
do. I asked to speak with a manager again, and again was told that one would
have to call me back. Still no call back...



Desired Settlement:                      
I want Santanna to adjust the bill to the rate that I was told I would be
charged.

Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome
letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and
provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot
line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days
from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility,
should a customer change their mind thereafter.

Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 5/26/2010.      Service Start Date: 7/6/2010.

SES spoke to ******* ******* on 5/6/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. *******
is upset because she feels SES over charged her. She stated she was never
notified that once her fixed rate ended she would go on the market rate or
notified SES rates were going to increase. It was explained that her initial
contract was for a fixed rate of $0.65 cents per CCF, from her start date
through her March 2011 billing cycle. A Continuation Notice was mailed to
her on 1/26/2011 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending
soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she
contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price
contract. She stated she never received it. Ms. ******* stated that she called
about two months ago to have her account canceled but the account was never
processed for cancellation. On 3/17/2014, Ms. ******* did call and talk to our
Senior Customer Service Representative. Our records do not indicate that the
customer requested a cancellation. When a customer requests termination, our
staff initiates the cancellation process immediately in our system, and
documents the customer's request for a cancel. No such action was taken with
this call. There is record of her calling on 5/5/2014 to initiate cancellation
of her account. A Cancellation Letter was mailed to her on 5/6/2014. There are
no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around
6/4/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for
any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Thank you,

****** ******

Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct:
###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:
This company has a history of not doing as they say they will do. As their response states, I called in March - the entire reason for my call was because I wanted to cancel the account. The customer service rep that I spoke with was very unhelpful, and so I asked to speak with  a supervisor. I was told one would have to call me back. A few days later I finally got a voicemail from a supervisor, who literally said, "I show that your account has been cancelled" and then basically said there was nothing further we needed to discuss. I called back at the beginning of May when I realized that my account had NOT been cancelled, as I thought. Again, I found the initial customer service rep very unhelpful and asked to speak with a supervisor again. At this time I asked for confirmation that I had cancelled my account, and asked that I get some prorate for the two months that I was still "technically" a customer of Santanna, since they didn't cancel me when I originally called. The customer service rep said that the supervisor would have to do that. The next day when I got a call from the supervisor she was just as unhelpful as the other three "customer service" reps that I had spoken to.  She explained about the "welcome letter" which I had never received, as well as a "change of rate" notice, which I again, never received. When I signed up for Santanna I was under the impression that I had a locked in, fixed rate. I never received any letters that they say they sent. When I asked for confirmation of ANYTHING, she had none. She has nothing signed by me saying that I was okay with, or even aware of a rate change. My question is: How can they charge me more without any sort of notice? The last conversation I had with the supervisor from Santanna, I had asked to speak with her manager and again, was told that someone would have to call me back. That was a few days ago, and I am still waiting for a call.
In summary:
They promise a fixed rate, then change the rate without any notice.
Their first line customer service reps have no authority to make any changes, or to answer any questions.
They say supervisors will call you back the same day - then you have to wait a few days for anyone to call you back.
They tell you your account has been cancelled - then they don't actually cancel your account.

I am completely unsatisfied by Santanna and I STILL want the supervisor's manager to call me back to discuss a rate change/discount. 

Regards,

******* *******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
This company has a history of not doing as they say they will do. As their response states, I called in March - the entire reason for my call was because I wanted to cancel the account. The customer service rep that I spoke with was very unhelpful, and so I asked to speak with  a supervisor. I was told one would have to call me back. A few days later I finally got a voicemail from a supervisor, who literally said, "I show that your account has been cancelled" and then basically said there was nothing further we needed to discuss. I called back at the beginning of May when I realized that my account had NOT been cancelled, as I thought. Again, I found the initial customer service rep very unhelpful and asked to speak with a supervisor again. At this time I asked for confirmation that I had cancelled my account, and asked that I get some prorate for the two months that I was still "technically" a customer of Santanna, since they didn't cancel me when I originally called. The customer service rep said that the supervisor would have to do that. The next day when I got a call from the supervisor she was just as unhelpful as the other three "customer service" reps that I had spoken to.  She explained about the "welcome letter" which I had never received, as well as a "change of rate" notice, which I again, never received. When I signed up for Santanna I was under the impression that I had a locked in, fixed rate. I never received any letters that they say they sent. When I asked for confirmation of ANYTHING, she had none. She has nothing signed by me saying that I was okay with, or even aware of a rate change. My question is: How can they charge me more without any sort of notice? The last conversation I had with the supervisor from Santanna, I had asked to speak with her manager and again, was told that someone would have to call me back. That was a few days ago, and I am still waiting for a call.
In summary:
They promise a fixed rate, then change the rate without any notice.
Their first line customer service reps have no authority to make any changes, or to answer any questions.
They say supervisors will call you back the same day - then you have to wait a few days for anyone to call you back.
They tell you your account has been cancelled - then they don't actually cancel your account.

I am completely unsatisfied by Santanna and I STILL want the supervisor's manager to call me back to discuss a rate change/discount. 

Regards,

******* *******

Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Original Enrollment Date: 5/26/2010.      Service Start Date: 7/6/2010.
 
SES attempted to contact ******* ******* to review her complaint several times. However, we were only able to leave messages and no calls have been returned.
 
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to ******* ******* account. Ms. *******’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $0.65 cents per CCF, from her start date through her March 2011 billing cycle. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 1/26/2011 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. On 3/17/2014, Ms. ******* did call and talk to our Senior Customer Service Representative. Our records do not indicate that the customer requested a cancellation. When a customer requests termination, our staff initiates the cancellation process immediately in our system, and documents the customer's request for a cancel. No such action was taken with this call. There is record of her calling on 5/5/2014 to initiate cancellation of her account. A Cancellation Letter was mailed to her on 5/6/2014. There are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 6/4/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES.
 
Sincerely,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

6/6/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: 0

Desired Settlement: Unspecified

Business Response: Customer:  Hayat Dhanani
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  5/19/2014
 
Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
I was a customer or Santanna Energy Services from a long time. In February 26th,2014 I choose Ambit Energy for my new supplier for gas service. After March 12th 2014. I received a bill from Santanna Energy they send me the bill of $248.00 just for the gas supplier charges from Santanna.  I called them I said why you send me the bill of $248.00 because I discontinue the service from you, they said you have to pay the bill and no excuse, nobody connect to the supervisor. I called them but nobody listen.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 5/17/2002.     Service Start Date: 6/17/2002.
 
SES spoke to Hayat Dhanani on 5/27/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. Dhanani stated that he had cancelled in February, he does not know why he would receive rates that were from March. It was explained that SES records show we have received an account termination file from Nicor on 2/4/2014, to be effective 03/12/2014, noting “DROPPED FOR BROKER SWITCH”. Nicor Gas will normally switch the account back in one to two billing cycles. During this period, SES is required to deliver gas volumes, as instructed by Nicor Gas to your account. Therefore, Mr. Dhanani may see SES charges on his subsequent Nicor Gas bill(s) that are valid and should be paid. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/12/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. He understood. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,Denise Robles
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: robles@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com


BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

6/3/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I know that having a third party gas supplier is a "risk", but I NEVER knew what a costly risk it would be! I was due to renew my contract with the company for a fixed rate last September, but I found a different third party that had a lower rate so I went to sign up with Direct Energy within the time frame I had. I received a welcome packet from them & everything from Direct Energy so I thought I was in the clear. Come to find out my application was denied directly by Consumers Energy and both Consumers & Direct Energy failed to bring this to my attention, so I got stuck with Santanna's variable rate because the denial occurred after the renewal period (coincidence?! I think not!) This brings me to to March of this year, when Santanna charged me with a 16+ MCF and their excuse is that there was a "high demand for gas because of the cold winter". Why in the world was it March to begin with?! It was waaay colder before March! I was & am STILL FURIOUS! I contacted Santanna & demanded to speak with a supervisor and the CSR said the supervisor can't do anything and that they would tell me the same thing about "high demand...". So needless to say I haven't been able to get anywhere with Santanna! RIDICULOUS price gouging & a poor excuse to get more money from their loyal customers!!!! I contacted Consumers Energy and they said their rates for March of 2014 was 4.95, which is 3 TIMES lower than Santanna's was! Consumers Energy said they can't do anything either because they are "neutral". I waited to contact the BBB because I thought I could get this resolved directly with Santanna instead of the same lame excuse! Just because their not regulated like Consumers Energy, doesn't mean they should rob people. Companies like Santanna are suppose to help people get a great rate, but instead the consumer has to figure out ways to pay a high bill that shouldn't have occurred in the first place! I DO NOT feel I should have to pay a $340 bill because Santanna's "high demand" excuse & their desperate attempt to make more money!!!!

Desired Settlement: I want my March bill to be adjusted with MCF's that were reasonable & the same or close to the same as Consumers Energy's was. AND I also want a refund!!!

Business Response: Customer:  ***** *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  5/15/2014
 
Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
I know that having a third party gas supplier is a "risk", but I NEVER knew what a costly risk it would be! I was due to renew my contract with the company for a fixed rate last September, but I found a different third party that had a lower rate so I went to sign up with Direct Energy within the time frame I had. I received a welcome packet from them & everything from Direct Energy so I thought I was in the clear. Come to find out my application was denied directly by Consumers Energy and both Consumers & Direct Energy failed to bring this to my attention, so I got stuck with Santanna's variable rate because the denial occurred after the renewal period (coincidence?! I think not!) This brings me to March of this year, when Santanna charged me with a 16+ MCF and their excuse is that there was a "high demand for gas because of the cold winter". Why in the world was it March to begin with?! It was waaay colder before March! I was & am STILL FURIOUS! I contacted Santanna & demanded to speak with a supervisor and the CSR said the supervisor can't do anything and that they would tell me the same thing about "high demand...". So needless to say I haven't been able to get anywhere with Santanna! RIDICULOUS price gouging & a poor excuse to get more money from their loyal customers!!!! I contacted Consumers Energy and they said their rates for March of 2014 was 4.95, which is 3 TIMES lower than Santanna's was! Consumers Energy said they can't do anything either because they are "neutral". I waited to contact the BBB because I thought I could get this resolved directly with Santanna instead of the same lame excuse! Just because they’re not regulated like Consumers Energy, doesn't mean they should rob people. Companies like Santanna are supposed to help people get a great rate, but instead the consumer has to figure out ways to pay a high bill that shouldn't have occurred in the first place! I DO NOT feel I should have to pay a $340 bill because Santanna's "high demand" excuse & their desperate attempt to make more money!!!!
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I want my March bill to be adjusted with MCF's that were reasonable & the same or close to the same as Consumers Energy's was. AND I also want a refund!!!

Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 8/28/2012.     Service Start Date: 9/26/2012.
 
SES spoke to ***** ***** on 5/20/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. ***** stated that she feels disgusted that she has to pay this large amount. She wanted some type of adjustment. She said we are scam artists. It was explained that due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas was high, which had impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Ms. Lloyd’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $4.85 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis on our market price. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 8/28/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES, on our market price; unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. She stated that she would never do something like this again. The account has been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 4/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any inconvenience this might have caused her. Ms. ***** ended the call.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ************ *** ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: ******@**************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

5/23/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Last year we enrolled with Santanna Energy Services after a convincing salesman knocked on our door with the offer of "Lower energy bills, guaranteed!" The sales pitch the guy gave was very convincing and he sold us on switching from Direct Energy to Santanna as our energy supplier. Our last bill from Consumer's Energy was more than double what we expected it to be and upon further inspection of our bill we realized that the supply cost went from $7.60/unit to $16.32/unit in one month! We were informed that the rate they would be providing us would vary based on market price, but were never informed that we could be looking at a 100%+ increase in gas costs! My husband called the customer service line and spoke with a representative about this issue and explained that our latest bill was unacceptable ($738.62). He was informed that there was no way that Santanna Energy could have notified us of this astronomical increase as they do not know what the cost of the gas will be until the 1st of every month. He told her that based on the tone of her voice that she was clearly unwilling to do any price adjustment on our bill and she agreed that nothing could be done. Looking at their website it appears that as of today's date the market value is listed as $6.80/unit which is a far cry from the $16.32/unit that we were charged in April. We have cancelled their service and wish to never be contacted by any representatives of their company ever again. The reason that we switched to them was because they promised lower rates.. not

Desired Settlement: Not only would we like to see our previous bill adjusted to the prior rates but we would like to see proof that Santanna Services billed us according to the futures market price on the first of the month in march. This is requested on the basis that all of our efforts to research the gas prices in the month of April indicate that at no time on the NYMEX market did the gas ever trade higher than $4.855.

Business Response: Customer:  ******* ***** 

Customer Concern Received from BBB:  5/6/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
Last year we enrolled with Santanna Energy Services after a convincing salesman
knocked on our door with the offer of "Lower energy bills,
guaranteed!" The sales pitch the guy gave was very convincing and he sold
us on switching from Direct Energy to Santanna as our energy supplier. Our last
bill from Consumer's Energy was more than double what we expected it to be and
upon further inspection of our bill we realized that the supply cost went from
$7.60/unit to $16.32/unit in one month! We were informed that the rate they
would be providing us would vary based on market price, but were never informed
that we could be looking at a 100%+ increase in gas costs! My husband called
the customer service line and spoke with a representative about this issue and
explained that our latest bill was unacceptable ($738.62). He was informed that
there was no way that Santanna Energy could have notified us of this
astronomical increase as they do not know what the cost of the gas will be
until the 1st of every month. He told her that based on the tone of her voice
that she was clearly unwilling to do any price adjustment on our bill and she
agreed that nothing could be done. Looking at their website it appears that as
of today's date the market value is listed as $6.80/unit which is a far cry
from the $16.32/unit that we were charged in April. We have cancelled their
service and wish to never be contacted by any representatives of their company
ever again. The reason that we switched to them was because they promised lower
rates.. not

Desired Settlement:                      
Not only would we like to see our previous bill adjusted to the prior rates but
we would like to see proof that Santanna Services billed us according to the
futures market price on the first of the month in march. This is requested on
the basis that all of our efforts to research the gas prices in the month of
April indicate that at no time on the NYMEX market did the gas ever trade
higher than $4.855.

Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective
customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the
process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an
unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives
(DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the
customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are
trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have
to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go
through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and
logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their
uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them.
The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they
are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor
that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an
independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that
the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is
electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is
recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the
script and the SES guidelines.

Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome
letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and
provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot
line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days
from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility,
should a customer change their mind thereafter.

Customer Concern Investigation:

Original Enrollment Date: 6/26/2013.      Service Start Date: 6/30/2013.

The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 6/26/2013 and
started the program on 6/30/2013. Ms. *****’s initially enrolled on Santanna’s
Market Price program. The gas price varies month to month. The Market Price is based upon many factors,
including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program
costs. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over
the phone. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas was high,
which had impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been
volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest
and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and
limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas
supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. The
account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The
customer’s account will be final on or around 5/29/2014, a date determined by the
utility company, not SES. Since Ms. ***** does not want to be contacted by any
of SES representatives, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her. SES
apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused
her or her husband.


Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct:
************ ext ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

5/19/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I would like to request information to support Santanna Energy Service's nearly 200% price increase from December 2013 ($5.49 per Mcf) to March 2014 ($16.37 per Mcf)... ($16.34-$5.49)/$5.49 = 197%). When I called and inquired for information supporting the nearly 200% increase, the information I was provided was very general (the weather was cold, and there was a high demand). I do not feel that the information provided was an adequate explanation of the March 2014 charges that I am being requested to pay based on the contract that I have in place with Santanna Energy. The prices reflected on my bill are: December 2013 price charges was $5.49 per Mcf January 2014 price charges was $5.99 per Mcf February 2014 price charged was $7.60 per Mcf March 2014 price charged was $16.32 per Mcf Santanna's "Market Rate" based pricing as described in Santana Energy Services website ( *************************************************************************** ) provides that "The Market Price will be based upon the most competitive market price Santanna can obtain for natural gas for the month. The price will be based upon many factors, including the ***** market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs". In support of the invoice that Santanna has presented for payment, I would like to request the supporting documentation to justify the nearly 200% price increase which has led to the $16.32 per Mcf March 2014 rate that Santanna has invoiced. I would like to request additional information on all 3 contributing factors stated on regarding Market Price: 1). ***** market 2) Santanna delivery costs and 3). Santanna program costs. If Santanna Energy Services is unable to provide the adequate supporting information, I would request that the charges for March 2014 be reverted to a level more on average with historical norms. In the spirit of full disclosure, due to my loss of confidence in Santanna Energy Services, I have already contacted Santanna Energy Services and placed a cancellation order regarding my account. I understand from both Santanna Energy and ********** ********* ****** that this may take 1-2 billing cycles to fully complete.

Desired Settlement: I would like to receive full disclosure on the supporting data that justifies the 197% price increase. If Santanna Energy Services is unable to provide the adequate supporting information, I would request that the charges for March 2014 be reverted to a level more on average with historical norms.

Business Response: Customer:  ***** *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/19/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
I would like to request information to support Santanna Energy Service's nearly 200% price increase from December 2013 ($5.49 per Mcf) to March 2014 ($16.37 per Mcf)... ($16.34-$5.49)/$5.49 = 197%). When I called and inquired for information supporting the nearly 200% increase, the information I was provided was very general (the weather was cold, and there was a high demand). I do not feel that the information provided was an adequate explanation of the March 2014 charges that I am being requested to pay based on the contract that I have in place with Santanna Energy. The prices reflected on my bill are: December 2013 price charges was $5.49 per Mcf January 2014 price charges was $5.99 per Mcf February 2014 price charged was $7.60 per Mcf March 2014 price charged was $16.32 per Mcf Santanna's "Market Rate" based pricing as described in Santana Energy Services website ( *************************************************************************** ) provides that "The Market Price will be based upon the most competitive market price Santanna can obtain for natural gas for the month. The price will be based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs". In support of the invoice that Santanna has presented for payment, I would like to request the supporting documentation to justify the nearly 200% price increase which has led to the $16.32 per Mcf March 2014 rate that Santanna has invoiced. I would like to request additional information on all 3 contributing factors stated on regarding Market Price: 1). NYMEX market 2) Santanna delivery costs and 3). Santanna program costs. If Santanna Energy Services is unable to provide the adequate supporting information, I would request that the charges for March 2014 be reverted to a level more on average with historical norms. In the spirit of full disclosure, due to my loss of confidence in Santanna Energy Services, I have already contacted Santanna Energy Services and placed a cancellation order regarding my account. I understand from both Santanna Energy and ********** ********* ****** that this may take 1-2 billing cycles to fully complete.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I would like to receive full disclosure on the supporting data that justifies the 197% price increase. If Santanna Energy Services is unable to provide the adequate supporting information, I would request that the charges for March 2014 be reverted to a level more on average with historical norms.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 1/31/2012.      Service Start Date: 4/2/2012.
 
SES spoke to ***** ***** on 04/25/2014 and went over his complaint. *** ***** stated that he wants to understand how SES came up with such an increase. He is requesting a breakdown of what we are adding to the NYMEX price. On 1/12/2012, *** ***** called SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) regarding our rates. At that time, *** ***** no longer wanted to be on a fix rate program and requested to enroll on Santanna’s Market Price program. A verbal recording was done. The program terms and conditions were thoroughly explained. Santanna’s Market Price is based on numerous factors, including the available supply and associated demand at the time the commodity is purchased.  Energy prices were extremely volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during this highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Please note that the NYMEX market is one of the variables that impacts the Santanna Market Price, not the sole factor. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. He thanked me for following up with his complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ************ ext ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:

I believe that SES has a business responsibility to provide supporting information for a price increase that effectively tripled the price of their product in less than 120 days.   To date SES has only provided generalities.   The individual who contacted me was from the same customer support organization that I had spoken with previously and provided the same information (the weather was cold, the demand was high).   That individual stated that he would pass my request for information (as stated in my original complaint) to management.  To date, SES has not provided any data that supports the charges that I have been requested to pay.  

SES in their response posted, has referenced back to the Terms & Conditions.   I have never disputed that I have signed up for the SES market price services and that SES is within their contractual rights.

I do believe that SES has an business obligation to provide their consumer base with information to support the charges that they request we pay.   I would once again like to reference back to my original request.   I would like to either receive the supporting data that justifies the charges that SES has asked for my household to pay.   Or, I would ask SES to restate the one month of billing to a rate commensurate with historical pricing norms.

Should SES in reviewing the Contractual Terms & Conditions, and their own business practices and policies, reach the conclusion that they have no obligation nor interest to provide any supporting data for the nearly 200% price increase.   Then I would ask that they make their position clear so we both do not continue to waste each others time.

Regards,

***** *****

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I believe that SES has a business responsibility to provide supporting information for a price increase that effectively tripled the price of their product in less than 120 days.   To date SES has only provided generalities.   The individual who contacted me was from the same customer support organization that I had spoken with previously and provided the same information (the weather was cold, the demand was high).   That individual stated that he would pass my request for information (as stated in my original complaint) to management.  To date, SES has not provided any data that supports the charges that I have been requested to pay.  

SES in their response posted, has referenced back to the Terms & Conditions.   I have never disputed that I have signed up for the SES market price services and that SES is within their contractual rights.

I do believe that SES has an business obligation to provide their consumer base with information to support the charges that they request we pay.   I would once again like to reference back to my original request.   I would like to either receive the supporting data that justifies the charges that SES has asked for my household to pay.   Or, I would ask SES to restate the one month of billing to a rate commensurate with historical pricing norms.

Should SES in reviewing the Contractual Terms & Conditions, and their own business practices and policies, reach the conclusion that they have no obligation nor interest to provide any supporting data for the nearly 200% price increase. Then I would ask that they make their position clear so we both do not continue to waste each others time.

Regards,

***** *****
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to *** *****’s account.  Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Specific price offers and non-proprietary information can be obtained by calling our Customer Service Department.  Santanna apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused.
  **************** ****** ******* ********* **** ******

Direct: ************ ext ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

5/19/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I enrolled with Santanna Energy Services because the company promised lower gas rates than Consumers Energy in MI. My bills almost tripled in the winter of 2014. Santanna increased the rate without notification. I called Santanna asking for an explanation and was told that because my contract had expired, I was charged their variable rate. The consumer service representative claimed that they sent the letter but I never received the letter. I wanted to cancel the service immediately but the CSR told me it would take 1 to 2 billing cycles before the change would go into effect.

Desired Settlement: I would like to get a refund for all the months I had been overcharged.

Business Response: Customer:  **** **********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/29/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
I enrolled with Santanna Energy Services because the company promised lower gas rates than Consumers Energy in MI. My bills almost tripled in the winter of 2014. Santanna increased the rate without notification. I called Santanna asking for an explanation and was told that because my contract had expired, I was charged their variable rate. The consumer service representative claimed that they sent the letter but I never received the letter. I wanted to cancel the service immediately but the CSR told me it would take 1 to 2 billing cycles before the change would go into effect.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  12/10/2011.   Service Start Date: 1/1/2012.

SES attempted to contact **** ********** but we were only able to leave messages and no calls have been returned.
 
The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 12/10/2011 and started the program on 1/1/2012. **** **********’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on or around 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Because we were unable to speak with **** **********, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her asking her to contact me directly if she has any further questions. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you******* ******
******* ********* **** ******

Direct: ************ ext ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL:********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

5/19/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
5/19/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Deceitful marketing and extremely rude customer service department. This company promised us our gas bill would be drastically lower than ********* ****** and the bill was never lower, in fact most months higher and just received a supplier charge of $501.40, plus my regular gas charges from Consumer's Energy. Product_Or_Service: Natural Gas Alternative Supplier

Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: Refund I would like a refund.

Business Response: Customer:  ****** *** *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/29/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
Deceitful marketing and extremely rude customer service department. This company promised us our gas bill would be drastically lower than ********* ****** and the bill was never lower, in fact most months higher and just received a supplier charge of $501.40, plus my regular gas charges from ********** ******. Product_Or_Service: Natural Gas Alternative Supplier
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 11/11/2011.      Service Start Date: 12/3/2011.

SES attempted to contact ****** *** ***** to review her complaint several times. However, we were only able to leave messages and no calls have been returned.
 
The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 11/11/2011 and started the program on 12/3/2011. *** *****’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 10/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 4/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Because we were unable to speak with *** *****, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her asking her to contact me directly if she have any further questions. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you******* ******
******* ********* **** ******

Direct: ************ *** ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

5/15/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I have been purchasing my gas through Santanna Energey for the past 3 yrs. as their prices were slightly lower than what DTE offered, for the most part. I decided to discontinue purchasing my gas through them after a couple of months of higher pricing. Literature sent out states "I may cancel at any time with NO CANCELLATION FEE". Sounds like a great deal until your request a termination. Then they jack up their prices as a cancellation "prize"! When I called customer service to request a termination (3/11/14) of services they told me that I had canceled my service last year! I asked them then, why does my DTE bill show that Santanna is the supplier? After much time on hold they found that it had not been terminated last year. So they went ahead and put in the request and gave me a date of 3/31/14 that it would term. My next DTE bill for the month of March 2014 showed Santanna's charges were $1.208/ccf, twice that of Feb. which was .659/ccf and 3 times that of DTE charges. So I went on to the DTE website and found that their rate for Feb was .474/ccf and for Mar. was .48/ccf. This is the trend that I was beginning to see and what caused me to want to cancel but I didn't expect to get gouged when I requested a termination. My second call to customer service, after receiving the bill for March, was to inquire into the extremely high price. Customer service was VERY defensive and said that they had no control over what DTE did. My question to them was that if you are selling yourself as "in competition" with DTE then why would your rates be so much higher than theirs? The response was that these were their rates and that was that! I asked where I could see their pricing history on their website and they told me that this is not published. Funny...I can go to DTE's website and see their charges from a year ago! I feel that this is a huge scam on people who decide to terminate their "association" with Santanna!

Desired Settlement: I feel that I should only be responsible for the CCF rate per unit for March that they charged everyone else. They need to publish their rates, as does DTE, in order for the public to make a valid decision. The BBB needs to take back their accreditation of this company until they treat people fairly. I have read many complaints about them under "ComsumerAffairs.com. They need to be up front about a cancellation fee, which would have been a "turn off" for me when initially signing up!

Business Response: Customer:  ******* *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/15/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
I have been purchasing my gas through Santanna Energy for the past 3 yrs. as their prices were slightly lower than what DTE offered, for the most part. I decided to discontinue purchasing my gas through them after a couple of months of higher pricing. Literature sent out states "I may cancel at any time with NO CANCELLATION FEE". Sounds like a great deal until your request a termination. Then they jack up their prices as a cancellation "prize"! When I called customer service to request a termination (3/11/14) of services they told me that I had canceled my service last year! I asked them then, why does my DTE bill show that Santanna is the supplier? After much time on hold they found that it had not been terminated last year. So they went ahead and put in the request and gave me a date of 3/31/14 that it would term. My next DTE bill for the month of March 2014 showed Santanna's charges were $1.208/ccf, twice that of Feb. which was .659/ccf and 3 times that of DTE charges. So I went on to the DTE website and found that their rate for Feb was .474/ccf and for Mar. was .48/ccf. This is the trend that I was beginning to see and what caused me to want to cancel but I didn't expect to get gouged when I requested a termination. My second call to customer service, after receiving the bill for March, was to inquire into the extremely high price. Customer service was VERY defensive and said that they had no control over what DTE did. My question to them was that if you are selling yourself as "in competition" with DTE then why would your rates be so much higher than theirs? The response was that these were their rates and that was that! I asked where I could see their pricing history on their website and they told me that this is not published. Funny...I can go to DTE's website and see their charges from a year ago! I feel that this is a huge scam on people who decide to terminate their "association" with Santanna!
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I feel that I should only be responsible for the CCF rate per unit for March that they charged everyone else. They need to publish their rates, as does DTE, in order for the public to make a valid decision. The BBB needs to take back their accreditation of this company until they treat people fairly. I have read many complaints about them under "ComsumerAffairs.com. They need to be up front about a cancellation fee, which would have been a "turn off" for me when initially signing up!
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  6/21/2011.     Service Start Date: 7/29/2011.
 
SES spoke to ******* ***** on 4/21/2014 and went over her complaint.  Ms. ***** stated that she feels she was priced gouged because she cancelled her account with SES.  Then the month she cancelled, our price went up. She needs some type of proof that this wasn't a cancellation fee. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $0.57 cents per CCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on our market price. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 5/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract.
 
Ms. ***** had previously called on 7/1/2011. She had requested to have her account canceled and the Customer Service Representative (CSR) did start the cancellation process. A cancellation letter was mailed out to her on 7/6/2011. However, on 7/12/2011 Ms. *****, called SES Customer Service and spoke with a CSR stating that she never wanted her account canceled and requested to reinstate her account with SES. On 7/12/2011 our CSR did submit a request to reinstate her account.
 
It was explained that the account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/28/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her. Ms. ***** thanked me for following up with her complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:

They have not addressed the discrepancy in pricing between Feb., Mar. & April 2014.  I was billed $.659/CCF for gas in Feb. and $1.208/CCF for gas in Mar.  I could not get a straight answer as to what the "market rate" was for April because I no longer "subscribed" to their service, but the "fixed rate" published on their website tonight shows $.680 for May.  I am fully aware that I opted for the "market rate" and did not lock into a "fixed rate" when I was with Santanna.  That is not the point.  I want them to show me (and the BBB) that they billed others that were purchasing at the "market rate" in March, $1.208/CCF for gas.  I was supposed to be receiving a printout with the history of rates over the past year but have not yet received it.

I can not accept that after such a difficult winter in Michigan, rates for gas (at the market rate) doubled for the month of March only!  It's just too coincidental.  Take a look at DTE's rate history, which they publish on their website.  They didn't have that kind of fluctuation in pricing.

Regards,

******* *****

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
They have not addressed the discrepancy in pricing between Feb., Mar. & April 2014.  I was billed $.659/CCF for gas in Feb. and $1.208/CCF for gas in Mar.  I could not get a straight answer as to what the "market rate" was for April because I no longer "subscribed" to their service, but the "fixed rate" published on their website tonight shows $.680 for May.  I am fully aware that I opted for the "market rate" and did not lock into a "fixed rate" when I was with Santanna.  That is not the point.  I want them to show me (and the BBB) that they billed others that were purchasing at the "market rate" in March, $1.208/CCF for gas.  I was supposed to be receiving a printout with the history of rates over the past year but have not yet received it.

I cannot accept that after such a difficult winter in Michigan, rates for gas (at the market rate) doubled for the month of March only!  It's just too coincidental.  Take a look at DTE's rate history, which they publish on their website.  They didn't have that kind of fluctuation in pricing.

Regards,

******* *****
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to Ms. *****’s account.  The following is a one-year history of Santanna’s market price in DTE’s service territory.




Month

Price per CCF


June-13

$0.5490


July-13

$0.5490


August-13

$0.5490


September-13

$0.5490


October-13

$0.5490


November-13

$0.5490


December-13

$0.5490


January-14

$0.5990


February-14

$0.6590


March-14

$1.2080


April-14

$0.6230


May-14

$0.6790
 
Santanna’s Market Price is based on numerous factors, including the available supply and associated demand at the time the commodity is purchased. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Ms. *****’s account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/28/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted.
 
Sincerely,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:

I could have given you the same information from my billings.  I was looking for more substantial data in a document that you would publish to the public, showing the "savings" they would get by subscribing to your program.  Obviously this is not something that you want to publish, which only proves that Santanna is not a forthright company to deal with.  I will encourage anyone to steer clear!

Regards,

******* *****

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable offer to resolve the complaint. However the consumer did not accept the offer.

5/9/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Subscribed to a 12 mo contract with Santanna Energy for a fixed rate that was better than Consumers rate. I asked a very specific question of what the rate would be if I did not switch my service back to Consumers energy at the end of the 12 mo term agreement and was told that I was not to worry because the rate would be "COMPETITIVE" with others MCF rates at that time. BEWARE OF CLASSIC BAIT AND SWITCH!! After my term was over the rates did stay "competitive" for a couple months and then I received my latest gas bill and the rate per MCF went up 300%(not a typo). When I called Santanna to question the exorbitant rate hike, they said "it was a tough winter and gas prices went up, so we bought at higher rate and passed on to customers". Problem here is Santanna knew rate they were going to have to buy gas at would require them to more than triple rates charged to customers and did nothing to inform and let me/us choose to continue service at 300% higher rate. Although Company said what they did was "legal", it is highly unethical to do this to customer without warning!! Company said I have no recourse and when I told them I would be contacting BBB, they said "do what I need to do" Horrible company that I would highly discourage anyone to ever do business with. Cost me hundreds$$

Desired Settlement: Company should refund money equal to that of the "competitive" prices that were promised.

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
Subscribed to a 12 mo contract with Santanna Energy for a fixed rate that was better than Consumers rate. I asked a very specific question of what the rate would be if I did not switch my service back to Consumers energy at the end of the 12 mo term agreement and was told that I was not to worry because the rate would be "COMPETITIVE" with others MCF rates at that time. BEWARE OF CLASSIC BAIT AND SWITCH!! After my term was over the rates did stay "competitive" for a couple months and then I received my latest gas bill and the rate per MCF went up 300%(not a typo). When I called Santanna to question the exorbitant rate hike, they said "it was a tough winter and gas prices went up, so we bought at higher rate and passed on to customers". Problem here is Santanna knew rate they were going to have to buy gas at would require them to more than triple rates charged to customers and did nothing to inform and let me/us choose to continue service at 300% higher rate. Although Company said what they did was "legal", it is highly unethical to do this to customer without warning!! Company said I have no recourse and when I told them I would be contacting BBB, they said "do what I need to do" Horrible company that I would highly discourage anyone to ever do business with. Cost me hundreds$$

Desired Settlement:                      
Company should refund money equal to that of the "competitive" prices that were promised.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 9/24/2012.     Service Start Date: 10/29/2012.
 
SES spoke to ******* ************ on 04/15/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ************ stated that he's very upset about the fact that SES did not notify him a second time that our rates were going up. He understands it going up a little bit but going up triple and not notifying the customer is unethical It was explained that a Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 9/30/2013 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies, and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. Mr. ************ thanked me for following up with his complaint.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because:  The company still has made no offer for financial or otherwise restitution for the misrepresentation of the "competitive rate" I was promised after fixed rate period was expired.  Representatives from the company stated clearly that they knew the rates were going to increase excrementally and did nothing to notify customers of the severe impact it would have on their "competitive rate". What the company did in this regard may be legal, but by no means is ethical. I am very disappointed that my trust in the words of what I thought was a respectable company, was to my demise and will never accept what I believe to be a binding verbal contract regardless of what a company promises and how "respectable" a company they claim to be. The entire situation was brought on by Santana Energy not doing the right thing and contacting customers to inform them of the exorbitant rates that will be coming because of shortage of product and escalating prices. The whole way they did business in this situation was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Regards,

******* ************

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because:  The company still has made no offer for financial or otherwise restitution for the misrepresentation of the "competitive rate" I was promised after fixed rate period was expired.  Representatives from the company stated clearly that they knew the rates were going to increase excrementally and did nothing to notify customers of the severe impact it would have on their "competitive rate". What the company did in this regard may be legal, but by no means is ethical. I am very disappointed that my trust in the words of what I thought was a respectable company, was to my demise and will never accept what I believe to be a binding verbal contract regardless of what a company promises and how "respectable" a company they claim to be. The entire situation was brought on by Santana Energy not doing the right thing and contacting customers to inform them of the exorbitant rates that will be coming because of shortage of product and escalating prices. The whole way they did business in this situation was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Regards,

******* ************
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to Mr. ************’s account. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 9/30/2013 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Mr. ************’s account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. A Cancellation Letter was mailed on 4/7/2014.  The customer’s account was final on 4/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted.
 
Sincerely,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: ********

I am rejecting this response because: Santanna did an inadequate job of "notifying" me. The letter that they claim to have sent to me, never was received and no other type of comunication was ever attempted. The premise that sending a non-certified letter as the only means of "notice" is laughable at best. If the company really wished to make a concerted effort to do what was ethical as far as consumer treatment, they would also incorporate a type of virtual communication in addition to their "letter". Additionally, one of the representatives I spoke with in relation to these exorbitant charges, stated that they knew the costs were going to go up excrementally because of the demand/conditions and Santanna chose to just let their customers feel the brunt of said consequence and expense. No type of reparations other than a half-hearted apology will not make up for the injustice that the company did and or the financial hardship that my family had to endure because of Santanna Energy's negligence of communication. The only type of resolution I will accept from Santana at this time is financial reimbursement and implementation of increased communicative processes to protect future consumers from this type of injustice.  An "I am sorry" for hiding extreme costs from you and having you pay four times the "competitive rate" promised does not and will never cut it.
Regards,

******* ************

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

5/6/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santanna contacted me about saving money by using their gas service. They said it was competitively priced and since they were small, they would be cheaper. I swallowed the story . I did not realize they consistently charge me just under a dollar more than Consumers would have. I did not know how to find the Consumer's charges when I only knew the Santanna charges. I also wonder now just whom they are "competitive" with. I was duped. In January 2014 they raised the price to $7.60 while Consumers was charging $4.62. Then Santanna jumped to $16.32 while Consumers was charging $4.70. This is gouging. They claim they sent me a letter that I was going off the fixed rate unless I contacted them. I do not remember receiving such a letter. I notice the other complaints you've received also refer to letters they claim to have sent but no one received. I do not find it acceptable to blame all this on the US Postal Service. They clients cancel the service after being ripped off by Santanna and Santanna brags that they did not charge a cancellation fee. Does any utility charge a cancelation fee when service is discontinued? After yelling at the customer, they end the unsatisfactory conversation by saying "have a nice day." I see on your list of resolved complaints that you consider this satisfactory. Santanna is still bragging about being approved by the BBB on their stationery. When I called your office, you stated there were no complaints against Santanna. Does BBB accreditation mean anything anymore?

Desired Settlement: Full refund of all the gouging of 2013 and 2014.

Business Response: Customer:  ********* *********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 4/18/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
Santanna contacted me about saving money by using their gas service. They said it was competitively priced and since they were small, they would be cheaper. I swallowed the story . I did not realize they consistently charge me just under a dollar more than Consumers would have. I did not know how to find the Consumer's charges when I only knew the Santanna charges. I also wonder now just whom they are "competitive" with. I was duped. In January 2014 they raised the price to $7.60 while Consumers was charging $4.62. Then Santanna jumped to $16.32 while Consumers was charging $4.70. This is gouging. They claim they sent me a letter that I was going off the fixed rate unless I contacted them. I do not remember receiving such a letter. I notice the other complaints you've received also refer to letters they claim to have sent but no one received. I do not find it acceptable to blame all this on the US Postal Service. They clients cancel the service after being ripped off by Santanna and Santanna brags that they did not charge a cancellation fee. Does any utility charge a cancelation fee when service is discontinued? After yelling at the customer, they end the unsatisfactory conversation by saying "have a nice day." I see on your list of resolved complaints that you consider this satisfactory. Santanna is still bragging about being approved by the BBB on their stationery. When I called your office, you stated there were no complaints against Santanna. Does BBB accreditation mean anything anymore?
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 12/16/2011     Service Start Date: 1/1/2012
 
SES spoke to ****** ********* on 3/31/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. ********* stated that SES price gouged her and that SES has been ripping her off. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies, and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Customer did not agree. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Ms. *********’s phone number has been added to our Do Not Call List. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
***** ********** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because: Nothing in Santanna's response deals with my complaint.  I spoke of being yelled at by your employee and you tell me how well trained they are both for pre and post sales.  You have trained them to mis represent.  You said you were "competitive" and I want to know with whom you are competitive.  You have consistently charged more than Consumer's but I didn't catch on until you jumped to $16.32/mcf while Consumer's was charging $4.70/mcf.  You failed to address this issue.  You wrote a lot of verbiage but none of it was a response to my objection to being ripped off.  If you are planning to make me disgusted and walk away, I'm only disgusted with you.  I'm not walking away.

         Do I have any questions you ask.  Yes.  When do you plan to address the points I raised?  Do not tell me to have a nice day.  That doesn't relate to the problem.  I want my money back.  By the way, the dates you mention in your response are incorrect.

         This automated response system is a bit confusing.  Am I writing to Santanna or the BBB of Texas?  I would only hope the BBB of Texas would stop recommending Santanna as a fine company to do business with.  You ought to look at the consumeraffairs web site to see 116 complaints about Santanna.

Regards,

********* *********

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because: Nothing in Santanna's response deals with my complaint.  I spoke of being yelled at by your employee and you tell me how well trained they are both for pre and post sales.  You have trained them to mis represent.  You said you were "competitive" and I want to know with whom you are competitive.  You have consistently charged more than Consumer's but I didn't catch on until you jumped to $16.32/mcf while Consumer's was charging $4.70/mcf.  You failed to address this issue.  You wrote a lot of verbiage but none of it was a response to my objection to being ripped off.  If you are planning to make me disgusted and walk away, I'm only disgusted with you.  I'm not walking away.
Do I have any questions you ask.  Yes.  When do you plan to address the points I raised?  Do not tell me to have a nice day.  That doesn't relate to the problem.  I want my money back.  By the way, the dates you mention in your response are incorrect.
This automated response system is a bit confusing.  Am I writing to Santanna or the BBB of Texas?  I would only hope the BBB of Texas would stop recommending Santanna as a fine company to do business with.  You ought to look at the consumeraffairs web site to see 116 complaints about Santanna.

Regards,
********* *********

Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to Ms. *********’s account. SES spoke to ****** ********* on 3/31/2014 and went over her complaint. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and their account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Ms. *********’s account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. A Cancellation Letter was mailed on 3/24/2014.  The customer’s account was final on 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES.
 
Sincerely,Denise Robles
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: 630-789-6022 ext 244
Toll Free: 800-764-4427
FAX: 866-531-3951
EMAIL: robles@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:You have once again sent me an apology for "any misunderstanding."  Why can't you understand that I'm not happy to be cheated by your company?  You promised savings.  You promised competitive rates.  You lied.  I dont want your insipid apology, I want restitution in full for the duration of our dealings.

By the way, I do recognise that you will keep sending me these poilite lack of meaning responses until I give up and fail to respond.  Then the BBB will assume I'm satisfied and continue your accreditation with them.  For shame.  Both of you. 

Do you know you made it to the Detroit NBC news affiliate last night?  It was called Ruth To The Rescue.  The conclusion was "buyer beware."  Are you proud?

Regards,

********* *********

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

5/6/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: My wife was contacted by Santanna Energy Services in 2011 offering to be a more cost effective supplier of natural gas at a fixed rate for 12 months. My wife verbally agreed to the offer but after discussion with myself, called and cancelled the contract. The contract was not cancelled and went unnoticed on our Consumers Energy gas bill for the next 2 1/2 years. Since January, 2014, the rate per Mcf of gas rose from $5.99 per Mcf to $7.60 per Mcf in February and finally $16.32 per Mcf in March. We have not receive notices or requests to renew a contract. We have not receive any notices of price increases from Santanna Energy. I felt the cost of natural gas was high the past two years and blamed it on Consumers Energy. In reality I find I have been paying typically 25% higher than Consumers rate for many months. Now I've learned the $5.99 rate was approximately 28% higher than Consumers. We contacted Santanna on 3/27/14 to dispute the bill and was offered to have our rate return to $5.90 per Mcf if we agreed to a 12 month contract. We declined but still requested an adjustment to our bill. We were denied any relief. We notified them to immediately terminate our service as we didn't have a contract with them. Santanna advised it would be up to the local Utility company to make the change and that might not occur for 1 to 2 billing cycles. The next day (Consumers was closed by this time we finished our call with Santanna) we contacted Consumers Energy and requested restoration of service to them as we had terminated service with Santanna. Consumers responded they were unable to comply until Santanna notified them of the terminated service. 3 business days after our call to Santanna we received a letter from Santanna confirming our request to terminate service. Santanna's letter included a dire warnings of a pending price increase by Consumers Energy and Santanna would again offer to return us to a better rate of $5.90 per Mcf if we would sign up for another 12 months. 4 business days after cancelling service with Santanna, we confirmed with Consumers Energy that our service had been returned to them as they had received the termination notice from Santanna.

Desired Settlement: I would request that Santanna restore our gas rate to $5.99 per Mcf for the February and March billing cycle and refund the excessive charges. I recognize this has been a hard winter for energy supliers. Santanna Energy's rate of $5.99 per Mcf as compared to the local utility rate of $4.65 per Mcf does allow for poor / late purchases of gas shares by Santanna Energy. The offer to restore us to the $5.99 rate is further evidence of an attempt to coerce us into another overpriced contract. I would request a refund of $304.13. This amount is based upon the total of Santanna Energy charges for February and March including tax less the same amount of gas use (49.3 Mcf) at the $5.99 rate plus tax.

Business Response: Customer: ***** ********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 04/04/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
My wife was contacted by Santanna Energy Services in 2011 offering to be a more cost effective supplier of natural gas at a fixed rate for 12 months. My wife verbally agreed to the offer but after discussion with myself, called and cancelled the contract. The contract was not cancelled and went unnoticed on our Consumers Energy gas bill for the next 2 1/2 years. Since January, 2014, the rate per Mcf of gas rose from $5.99 per Mcf to $7.60 per Mcf in February and finally $16.32 per Mcf in March. We have not receive notices or requests to renew a contract. We have not receive any notices of price increases from Santanna Energy. I felt the cost of natural gas was high the past two years and blamed it on Consumers Energy. In reality I find I have been paying typically 25% higher than Consumers rate for many months. Now I've learned the $5.99 rate was approximately 28% higher than Consumers. We contacted Santanna on 3/27/14 to dispute the bill and was offered to have our rate return to $5.90 per Mcf if we agreed to a 12 month contract. We declined but still requested an adjustment to our bill. We were denied any relief. We notified them to immediately terminate our service as we didn't have a contract with them. Santanna advised it would be up to the local Utility company to make the change and that might not occur for 1 to 2 billing cycles. The next day (Consumers was closed by this time we finished our call with Santanna) we contacted Consumers Energy and requested restoration of service to them as we had terminated service with Santanna. Consumers responded they were unable to comply until Santanna notified them of the terminated service. 3 business days after our call to Santanna we received a letter from Santanna confirming our request to terminate service. Santanna's letter included a dire warnings of a pending price increase by Consumers Energy and Santanna would again offer to return us to a better rate of $5.90 per Mcf if we would sign up for another 12 months. 4 business days after cancelling service with Santanna, we confirmed with Consumers Energy that our service had been returned to them as they had received the termination notice from Santanna.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  11/21/2011.    Service Start Date: 12/13/2011.
 
SES spoke to ***** ******** on 04/11/2014. SES spoke to ***** ********  on 04/11/2014. Mr. ******** stated that it was shame on them for not seeing or paying attention to his bills. He just happened to be looking at his bills in March and saw SES on the supplier charges. He said he feels like this was price gouging. Our investigation showed that SES does not have any record of our Customer Service Department speaking to them on or near the enrollment date, nor any time in 2011 or 2012 to cancel the account. It was explained to him that when Phyllis ******** (spouse) enrolled into the program with SES, she enrolled on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis on our market price. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. A Continuation Notice was mailed to them on 10/29/2012 informing them that their current fixed price would be ending soon and their account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Customer understood. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. He thanked me for following up with his complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:  

My complaint was based upon the excessive pricing that was applied to the February and March billing cycles by SES.   When the rate jumps from $5.99 to $7.60  (26.8% increase for February billing cycle over January's rate) and then from $5.99 to $16.32 (272% increase for March billing cycle over January's rate) without any indication or notification, it is price gouging.   SES knows the unsuspecting homeowner will be responsible for what ever rate they should elect to charge and unable to change to another provider for possibly weeks or months.  When we contacted SES regarding this excessive pricing, they offered to return our rates back to the $5.90 rate if we would commit to another 12 month contract. Any perspective of us simply be charged "market rates" lost credibility.  (Companies don't stay in business giving away money!)

I disagree with the statement that a 3rd party verified the requested initial contract.   My wife contacted SES requesting to cancel the contract.  For some reason it was not registered.   If a 3rd party was used to verify the requested contract, that would have been the 2nd opportunity to cancel the contract which didn't occur.  I disagree with SES's statement that a 3rd party confirmed the initial contract.

SES did indicate they sent a letter in the fall of 2012 ( we saw a copy that was sent to the Michigan Public Service Commission ) and suggested we may have discarded it assuming it was junk mail as we didn't realize SES was our gas provider.  I don't believe we received the letter due to US Postal Service issues.   We lost many pieces of mail during 2012 while the US Postal Service tried to work out the reason they were sporadically forwarding parts of our mail to our son in Indiana.  Many times mail came weeks late after being bounced between Michigan and Indiana, many times it simply never came.  I do not believe the SES notification of "Continuation Service" ever was received in the fall of 2012 or again we would have cancelled the service.   SES does not have any proof they mailed the letter nor that we received the letter.

I appreciated the personal phone call offering their perspective instead of a form letter but that still does not resolve the issue of being gouged.  

I stand by my request that a refund is returned to us calculated upon the difference between the $5.99 and $7.60 for gas consumed on the February statement and $5.99 and $16.32 for gas consumed on the March statement as a compromise solution.  This is the same request within the complaint I filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission regarding this issue.

Regards,

***** ********

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
My complaint was based upon the excessive pricing that was applied to the February and March billing cycles by SES. When the rate jumps from $5.99 to $7.60  (26.8% increase for February billing cycle over January's rate) and then from $5.99 to $16.32 (272% increase for March billing cycle over January's rate) without any indication or notification, it is price gouging.   SES knows the unsuspecting homeowner will be responsible for whatever rate they should elect to charge and unable to change to another provider for possibly weeks or months.  When we contacted SES regarding this excessive pricing, they offered to return our rates back to the $5.90 rate if we would commit to another 12 month contract. Any perspective of us simply be charged "market rates" lost credibility.  (Companies don't stay in business giving away money!)

I disagree with the statement that a 3rd party verified the requested initial contract.   My wife contacted SES requesting to cancel the contract.  For some reason it was not registered.   If a 3rd party was used to verify the requested contract, that would have been the 2nd opportunity to cancel the contract which didn't occur.  I disagree with SES's statement that a 3rd party confirmed the initial contract.

SES did indicate they sent a letter in the fall of 2012 ( we saw a copy that was sent to the Michigan Public Service Commission ) and suggested we may have discarded it assuming it was junk mail as we didn't realize SES was our gas provider.  I don't believe we received the letter due to US Postal Service issues.   We lost many pieces of mail during 2012 while the US Postal Service tried to work out the reason they were sporadically forwarding parts of our mail to our son in Indiana.  Many times mail came weeks late after being bounced between Michigan and Indiana, many times it simply never came.  I do not believe the SES notification of "Continuation Service" ever was received in the fall of 2012 or again we would have cancelled the service.   SES does not have any proof they mailed the letter nor that we received the letter.

I appreciated the personal phone call offering their perspective instead of a form letter but that still does not resolve the issue of being gouged.  

I stand by my request that a refund is returned to us calculated upon the difference between the $5.99 and $7.60 for gas consumed on the February statement and $5.99 and $16.32 for gas consumed on the March statement as a compromise solution.  This is the same request within the complaint I filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission regarding this issue.

Regards,
***** ********
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response:
Santanna Energy Service (SES) apologizes for any misunderstandings related to Mr. ********’s account.  Mr. ******** had originally enrolled with Santanna with a fixed rate contract from January to December 2012. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on our market price. We did speak to Mr. ******** on 4/11/2014, and explained that a Continuation Notice was mailed on 10/29/2012, informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract.  The original enrollment agreement, similar to all enrollments received through our telemarketing partners, are recorded by an independent third party verification (TVP) company. The TPV recording specifically reviews the terms and conditions, including the customer’s confirmation of understanding that the initial 12-months will be on a fixed price, and the continuation thereafter will be on a month-to-month basis on Santanna’s market price. Santanna’s Market Price is based on numerous factors, including the available supply and associated demand at the time the commodity is purchased.  Energy prices were extremely volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during this highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Again, Santanna apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

Thanks for offering an apology but I still consider this a price gouging.  

If I had accepted their offer to continue with a "new" 12 month contract, they would have restored my cost per Mcf back to the $5.95 (+/-) rate.   If the gas had actually cost the amount they charged, they would be loosing money which I doubt would occur.

It appears I am wasting my time pursuing this complaint further and will accept is as a "lesson learned".  However, I will freely share my experience with my friends and co-workers to hopefully help them avoid a similar situation from my lesson learned.


I would suggest the BBB reduce the rating or remove this company from their list of companies they promote as being a good business for consumers.


Regards,

***** ********

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

5/6/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: There was a guy that was going to everyone house claiming that Santanna Energy can give you the best rate on gas and if i find myself wanting to stay at a certain rate call to stay at the fixed rate. I thought nothing of it so I never called to get on fixed rate you would think if they can give you the best rate even at a variable rate would be great so kinda like the housing industry they say ok your monthly payment is 100 then a year later you get charged 1000 so I was getting charged 5.99 a month per MCF and just last month the bill was showing I was being charged 16.32 MCF I am a mother of three kids we are freezing because we cant afford 16.32 per gas usage I have no way of getting help for my energy bill that's exhausted from usage and just receiving help my bill went from 250-300 month to almost 1,000 in one month I was told it was due to the coldest winter but all winter it stayed at 5.99 until Feb. they charge all of a sudden charge more found out that they have had done this in the Illinois are and blamed it in Katreena the storm and charged the same I'm fine scam me 5.00 more than usual but when you take my gas up to almost 3 times more than usual than its call gouging and getting away with keeping me and other family from feeding there kids I called I was told that this was the worst winter ever so we had to charge high because there paying at a higher rate my local company is charging 4.71 MCF ok cool but if you can charge your fixed rate customers 4 or 5 MCF why go over board with gouging me almost 10.32 MCF more that's like ok let me either charge you more to cover the good deal my fixed rate people are getting or lets get some easy money out of all the people who didnt get the memo that this is a scam and soon they will be hit with the highest bill in there life for trusting in us to provide gas at a good rate I think its unfair That they can get away with this and yes I cancelled with them they told me I could not get taken off the variable rate and that for another month i would be charged the same and even if I cancelled that I would still have them as a provider for up to 40 days at 16.32 MCF I would like to be charged at a reasonable rate and get the other charges taken off that was gouged upon me. Me and my 3 kids at least need that relief of knowing that we can afford our bill and we will have lights after this month. And most of all it hurt when there employers tell me to call 411 for help in my area on my bill and have no remorse its not that easy to get help here due to the alarming number of low income people they have to serve in my city.

Desired Settlement: Just to be adjusted on the bill for the charges I felt was price gouging.

Business Response: Customer:  ******** * *******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/16/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
There was a guy that was going to everyone house claiming that Santanna Energy can give you the best rate on gas and if i find myself wanting to stay at a certain rate call to stay at the fixed rate. I thought nothing of it so I never called to get on fixed rate you would think if they can give you the best rate even at a variable rate would be great so kinda like the housing industry they say ok your monthly payment is 100 then a year later you get charged 1000 so I was getting charged 5.99 a month per MCF and just last month the bill was showing I was being charged 16.32 MCF I am a mother of three kids we are freezing because we can’t afford 16.32 per gas usage I have no way of getting help for my energy bill that's exhausted from usage and just receiving help my bill went from 250-300 month to almost 1,000 in one month I was told it was due to the coldest winter but all winter it stayed at 5.99 until Feb. they charge all of a sudden charge more found out that they have had done this in the Illinois are and blamed it in Katreena the storm and charged the same I'm fine scam me 5.00 more than usual but when you take my gas up to almost 3 times more than usual than its call gouging and getting away with keeping me and other family from feeding there kids I called I was told that this was the worst winter ever so we had to charge high because there paying at a higher rate my local company is charging 4.71 MCF ok cool but if you can charge your fixed rate customers 4 or 5 MCF why go overboard with gouging me almost 10.32 MCF more that's like ok let me either charge you more to cover the good deal my fixed rate people are getting or let’s get some easy money out of all the people who didn’t get the memo that this is a scam and soon they will be hit with the highest bill in their life for trusting in us to provide gas at a good rate I think it’s unfair That they can get away with this and yes I cancelled with them they told me I could not get taken off the variable rate and that for another month i would be charged the same and even if I cancelled that I would still have them as a provider for up to 40 days at 16.32 MCF I would like to be charged at a reasonable rate and get the other charges taken off that was gouged upon me. Me and my 3 kids at least need that relief of knowing that we can afford our bill and we will have lights after this month. And most of all it hurt when their employers tell me to call 411 for help in my area on my bill and have no remorse it’s not that easy to get help here due to the alarming number of low income people they have to serve in my city.
 
Desired Settlement:
Just to be adjusted on the bill for the charges I felt was price gouging.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  5/20/2013.     Service Start Date: 6/1/2013.
 
SES attempted to contact ******** ** ******* to review complaint several times. However, we were only able to leave messages and no calls have been returned.
 
The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 5/20/2013 and started the program on 6/1/2013. Ms. *******’ initially enrolled on Santanna’s Market Price program. The gas price varies month to month. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over the phone. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Because we were unable to speak with Ms. *******, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her, asking her to contact me directly if she has any further questions. We apologize for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/30/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I received my Gas Bill on 3/7 in the amount of $270 with a gas rate of 12.62 per mcf. Prior to this billing, my rate was 5.90 per mcf. After receiving a letter in December, 2013, I contacted Santanna to secure a new rate. I contacted Santanna on 3/7/14 to find out why my rate was increased to 12.62 per mcf. The representative that I spoke to told me that I had not secured my rate when I contacted Santanna on 12/17/13. The notes in the system indicate that I asked for the rate, but did not secure it. Further, the representative asked me if I had been recorded during that conversation, to which I responded No. I stated that no where in the letter I received does it state that I would need to ask to be recorded in order to secure a new rate. The representative stated that there was nothing that could be done and I would have to keep the Market Rate. At no time during this conversation did the Representative ask me to secure a new rate to avoid future billing cycles with the Market Rate price. I asked to speak to a Supervisor and was told there was no one available. I left a message and requested a return call on 3/10/14. I received a return call on 3/8/13. I returned the call, again requesting a return call. I received a return call on Monday, 3/10 from **** who indicated that he could not assist me and transferred me to a voice mail. I left a message for a return call - as of today, I have yet to receive a return call. I contacted Santanna again on 3/12, 3/13 and 3/17. On 3/13, I did secure a new rate of 5.90 mcf to avoid further billing cycles at a market rate price. During this conversation I was told that the Market Price would be in effect for the next billing cycles and the representative stated that this was a Consumers Energy policy and not Santanna. He explained that that Consumers will not change a rate mid cycle. Additionally, he indicated that Consumers would be changing their rate in April to a much higher rate and that we could go to a web site where he could show me this information. Basically the representative that I spoke to told me that this was my fault for not securing the rate and I would just have to accept it and move on. I made additional calls to Santanna in January and February to inquire about an upcoming move, neither call is noted in the Santanna System. When I brought this to the representatives attention, he indicated that all calls are noted in the Santanna system by policy. When I asked him why my additional calls were not noted, he inferred that I was lying as calls had to be noted. Why would anyone not call and secure a rate after receiving a letter that the rate would go to a Market Price rate?

Desired Settlement: I would request a billing adjustment for my current bill, due 3/27/14 to the rate of 5.90 mcf as well as a rate reduction for the upcoming billing cycle from the Market price to the secured rate of 5.90 mcf.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 1/23/2012.     Service Start Date: 2/29/2012.
 
SES spoke to *** ******* on 3/28/2014 and went over her complaint. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 12/28/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service Department to initiate another fixed price contract. On 2/8/2013, Ms. *******, did call SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) to have her account canceled. Our CSR offered Ms. ******* a new fixed rate of $4.49 per MCF for the next 12 months. Customer accepted and a verbal recording was done. The program terms and conditions were thoroughly explained. On 12/19/13, a second Continuation Notice was mailed to her informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service Department to initiate another fixed price contract.
 
On 3/13/14, Ms. *******, did call SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) regarding her gas bill. Our CSR offered Ms. ******* a new fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for the next 12 months. Customer accepted and a verbal recording was done. The program terms and conditions were thoroughly explained. Ms. ******* did choose to continue with SES on the $5.90 rate. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

Santanna Energy Services (SES) did not address my complaint. 

I received a letter in December 2013 from SES advising me to secure a new rate.  NO WHERE in the correspondence does it say that I must be recorded in order to secure said rate.  I contacted SES in December 2013 to secure a new rate.  That call is not addressed in the response to my complaint.  Nor are the additional calls that I made in January 2014 and February 2014 regarding an upcoming move.  These calls are not logged in SES's system.  After receiving my bill on 3/7, I contacted SES and was told there was nothing that could be done because I had not secured a new rate.  I indicated to the gentleman I spoke to that I had called in December 2013 after receiving the letter from SES.  He asked me at that time if my call had been recorded to which I said no.  He went on to say that there was nothing that could be done as my conversation was not recorded.  Again, no where in the correspondence that I received from SES does it state that I must be recorded to secure a new rate.  I left a message for a Supervisor.  After that call, I contacted SES 3 additional times and left messages for Team Leaders who have never called me back.  On 3/13, my 4th call to SES to speak to a Team Leader, I secured a new rate of 5.90 mcf.  During that conversation, it was inferred that I was lying about the calls made in January and February 2014 about an upcoming move as the representative told me those calls were not logged into the SES system and all calls must be logged.  Additionally, I was told that this was my fault as I had not secured a new rate and I would have to accept it and move on.  Additionally I was told that all rates must be secured by a recording and the SES system states that I called for the rate in December 2013 and would call back in February 2014 to secure it.  Again, I called to secure a rate in December 2013 - it is not my fault that the rate was not secured by SES at that time. 

I am requesting an adjustment from SES for the two billing cycles affected by the market rate price. 


Regards,

*** *******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) did not address my complaint. 

I received a letter in December 2013 from SES advising me to secure a new rate.  NO WHERE in the correspondence does it say that I must be recorded in order to secure said rate.  I contacted SES in December 2013 to secure a new rate.  That call is not addressed in the response to my complaint.  Nor are the additional calls that I made in January 2014 and February 2014 regarding an upcoming move.  These calls are not logged in SES's system.  After receiving my bill on 3/7, I contacted SES and was told there was nothing that could be done because I had not secured a new rate.  I indicated to the gentleman I spoke to that I had called in December 2013 after receiving the letter from SES.  He asked me at that time if my call had been recorded to which I said no.  He went on to say that there was nothing that could be done as my conversation was not recorded.  Again, no where in the correspondence that I received from SES does it state that I must be recorded to secure a new rate.  I left a message for a Supervisor.  After that call, I contacted SES 3 additional times and left messages for Team Leaders who have never called me back.  On 3/13, my 4th call to SES to speak to a Team Leader, I secured a new rate of 5.90 mcf.  During that conversation, it was inferred that I was lying about the calls made in January and February 2014 about an upcoming move as the representative told me those calls were not logged into the SES system and all calls must be logged.  Additionally, I was told that this was my fault as I had not secured a new rate and I would have to accept it and move on.  Additionally I was told that all rates must be secured by a recording and the SES system states that I called for the rate in December 2013 and would call back in February 2014 to secure it.  Again, I called to secure a rate in December 2013 - it is not my fault that the rate was not secured by SES at that time. 

I am requesting an adjustment from SES for the two billing cycles affected by the market rate price. 

Regards,

*** *******
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Santanna apologizes for any misunderstanding related to Ms. ******* account.  Santanna does have record of Ms. ******* calling on 12/17/2013. Our records indicate that Ms. ******* did inquire about our rates, but we do not show that a rate change was requested or processed.  When a customer requests a rate change, SES has multiple controls in place to ensure that the new rate is agreed upon and authorized by the customer.  This includes the Customer Service Representative being required to record a verification script of the new rate/agreement by the customer, as well as processing the rate change in the system and documenting the request and conversation in our system.  On 12/17/13, we do not have record of any of these steps occurring with the senior representative who handled this call.  Santanna also has record of Ms. ******* leaving a message with SES on 3/7/2014.  Multiple calls were made to reach Ms. ******* beginning 3/8/2014, and we did talk on 3/13/14.  At that time, our Customer Service Representative did offer Ms. ******* a new fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for the next 12 months. Ms. ******* did accept and a verbal recording was done.  This last call is the first record that we have of Ms. ******* accepting a new offer, and thus changing her initial contract.  Ms. ******* new rate will go into effect with her next eligible billing cycle, a date determined by the utility company, not SES.  We again apologize for any misunderstanding.
 
Sincerely,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/30/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Our Nicor account is service thru Santanna and this months(adjusted bill) bill was too high upon checking I discovered that Santanna has charged me twice as much then Nicor. I contacted Santanna to find out why the price was higher then Ncor since the only reason I signed up was becuase I was guaranteed lower prices then Nicor. I was told energy price was higer in March therefore the charged $1.05 per therm where as Nicor rate was $0.68 per them for March. I asked them to atleast match the price since they advertise on their website that they have competetive rates then Nicor and that is how they get people to signed up; THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISEMENT. When I was contacted by Santana back in 2008 I was guaranteed that my energy price will be lower then what I would pay Nicor. Santanna used "stability of rates" as the reason to choose their service. When I noticed I had paid more for their rates than Nicor charged for past 2 years, I told them I wanted to stop their service. Their rates then increased to 2.35 times the rate that Nicor charged for same period. This does not match with the "sales pitch" given originally that their service would stabilize rates. Since these changes occurred in coldest months, the difference was hundreds of dollars.

Desired Settlement: I need Santanna to match Nicor's March Rates to get this resolved. I would really appreiate your help in this matter.

Business Response: Customer: ******* ****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 4/14/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
Our Nicor account is service thru Santanna and this months(adjusted bill) bill was too high upon checking I discovered that Santanna has charged me twice as much then Nicor. I contacted Santanna to find out why the price was higher than Ncor since the only reason I signed up was because I was guaranteed lower prices than Nicor. I was told energy price was higher in March therefore the charged $1.05 per therm whereas Nicor rate was $0.68 per them for March. I asked them to at least match the price since they advertise on their website that they have competitive rates then Nicor and that is how they get people to signed up; THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISEMENT. When I was contacted by Santana back in 2008 I was guaranteed that my energy price will be lower then what I would pay Nicor. Santanna used "stability of rates" as the reason to choose their service. When I noticed I had paid more for their rates than Nicor charged for past 2 years, I told them I wanted to stop their service. Their rates then increased to 2.35 times the rate that Nicor charged for same period. This does not match with the "sales pitch" given originally that their service would stabilize rates. Since these changes occurred in coldest months, the difference was hundreds of dollars.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I need Santanna to match Nicor's March Rates to get this resolved. I would really appreciate your help in this matter.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Business #1:    Original Enrollment Date:  9/10/2008   Service Start Date: 10/15/2008
Business #2:    Original Enrollment Date:  9/10/2008   Service Start Date: 10/15/2008
 
SES spoke to ******* **** on 4/22/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. **** stated that when she signed up with SES,  she was at a set rate. She's never had an issue just until this past month. It was explained to her that when she initially enrolled the two business accounts on SES’s program, she enrolled in the Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI), Bid week Index, Chicago Citygate, + 8 cents per therm for 12 months. The index price fluctuates each month. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued in NGI Bid week Index, Chicago Citygate, + 11.9 cents per therm (price fluctuates each month). Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.  Customer didn't agree and does believe our price went up. Both accounts has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s accounts will be final on or around 5/5/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her. Ms. **** was not happy and ended the call.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
***** ********** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/30/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: My concerns in regards to this company first arose upon receipt of the April bill. It reflected that Santana's cost had increased by 54 cents per CCF. Upon further review, I noticed I had used 62 CCF less than the previous month of March, yet my bill went from $190.17 to $201.29. I contacted Santana on 4/4/14 at approximately 9:30 am and spoke with a woman named ******. I was told by the representative that the reduced rate that was offered to me when I signed up in March of 2013, was effective only for 1 year. ( I was not informed when I signed up, that the reduced rate was a 1 year promotion). It was further explained during this conversation that Santana reserved the right to raise their prices per CCF after 1 year to the highest amount allowed ( $1.20 per CCF), which is exactly what they did without notifying me. According to the rep the reason they are allowed to do this, is because the company is not regulated and can " charge whatever they want." Once this information was brought to my attention, I immediately asked for the service to be canceled. Despite their obvious misrepresentation, the rep explained that it would take atleast 2 full billing cycles to fully cancel the service. I am outraged by this type of misrepresentation. I am 67 years old and on a fixed income, and cannot afford a bill this high. I feel as though I have been taken advantage of by this company, and something needs to be done, so that this does not continue to happen to other people.

Desired Settlement: Santana should adjust my bill to reflect the cost that was offered to me. I don't believe I should have to pay the new rate, due to the fact that I was never made aware that the cost would go up.

Business Response: Customer:  ********* *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/14/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
My concerns in regards to this company first arose upon receipt of the April bill. It reflected that Santana's cost had increased by 54 cents per CCF. Upon further review, I noticed I had used 62 CCF less than the previous month of March, yet my bill went from $190.17 to $201.29. I contacted Santana on 4/4/14 at approximately 9:30 am and spoke with a woman named ******. I was told by the representative that the reduced rate that was offered to me when I signed up in March of 2013, was effective only for 1 year. ( I was not informed when I signed up, that the reduced rate was a 1 year promotion). It was further explained during this conversation that Santana reserved the right to raise their prices per CCF after 1 year to the highest amount allowed ( $1.20 per CCF), which is exactly what they did without notifying me. According to the rep the reason they are allowed to do this, is because the company is not regulated and can " charge whatever they want." Once this information was brought to my attention, I immediately asked for the service to be canceled. Despite their obvious misrepresentation, the rep explained that it would take at least 2 full billing cycles to fully cancel the service. I am outraged by this type of misrepresentation. I am 67 years old and on a fixed income, and cannot afford a bill this high. I feel as though I have been taken advantage of by this company, and something needs to be done, so that this does not continue to happen to other people.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
Santana should adjust my bill to reflect the cost that was offered to me. I don't believe I should have to pay the new rate, due to the fact that I was never made aware that the cost would go up.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  5/2/2012.     Service Start Date: 5/29/2012.
 
SES spoke to ********* ***** on 4/11/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. ***** stated she was never aware of why she fell on a market price. She said that she thought this would always be a fixed rate. It was explained to her that that when Ashely ***** (daughter) enrolled into the program with SES, they enrolled on a fixed rate of $4.85 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis on our market price. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when Ashely ***** (daughter) verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to them on 3/26/2013 informing them that their current fixed price would be ending soon and the account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. She stated she never received anything from SES. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 04/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her. She thanked me for following up with complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/30/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santanna Energy Services called repeatedly threatening to refer our account to collection. This caused my family undue stress and anxiety as we have never been late or missed any payments (for any vendor). We sold our house and called NiCor, who Santanna bills us through, with the termination date; 3/29/2014. The current statement already sent was recieved and marked for autopayment 4/3/2014. On 4/3/2014 Jacquiline (and others) began calling at least 3 times per day stating we were overdue and could be sent to collections. The Autopay hadn't even happened, yet. - However, on 4/4/2014 I learned the autopay did not happen. I called NiCor and they didn't know why. On 4/4/2014 I received a final statement from Nicor with the previous statement amount and the days to the service termination. This has a due date of 4/23/2014. - I also called Santanna Energy Services and talked to a gentleman (did not get the name) who said we shouldn't be receiving the calls since we were not overdue for at least 30 days. At this point, we would have been overdue 1 day because Nicor did not autodeduct. He also told me to pay Nicor the amount due on the statement. On 4/4/2014 I scheduled a payment to be paid by credit card following a call to Nicor to make sure this was the proper process. Following that, I received threatening calls from Santana on my home phone on these days; - 3 calls on 4/4 - 2 calls on 4/5 - 2 calls on 4/7 - 2 calls on 4/8 - 1 call on 4/10 On 4/5 I called the Santana 800 number and left 2 messages for them to stop the calls and that I had a scheduled payment before the due date. - At this point the payment I scheduled was 13 days before the due date I received on my statement in the mail.

Desired Settlement: Santanna Energy Corporation needs to formally apologize to my family for the stress and anxiety they caused by leaving these messages. But, especially after I called them and they told me I should not be receiving these threatening calls. The topic on this conversation included the method of payment. They should not be promoted by NiCor any longer.

Business Response: Customer:  **** ****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/11/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
Santanna Energy Services called repeatedly threatening to refer our account to collection. This caused my family undue stress and anxiety as we have never been late or missed any payments (for any vendor). We sold our house and called NiCor, who Santanna bills us through, with the termination date; 3/29/2014. The current statement already sent was received and marked for auto payment 4/3/2014. On 4/3/2014 Jacquiline (and others) began calling at least 3 times per day stating we were overdue and could be sent to collections. The Autopay hadn't even happened, yet. - However, on 4/4/2014 I learned the autopay did not happen. I called NiCor and they didn't know why. On 4/4/2014 I received a final statement from Nicor with the previous statement amount and the days to the service termination. This has a due date of 4/23/2014. - I also called Santanna Energy Services and talked to a gentleman (did not get the name) who said we shouldn't be receiving the calls since we were not overdue for at least 30 days. At this point, we would have been overdue 1 day because Nicor did not autodeduct. He also told me to pay Nicor the amount due on the statement. On 4/4/2014 I scheduled a payment to be paid by credit card following a call to Nicor to make sure this was the proper process. Following that, I received threatening calls from Santana on my home phone on these days; - 3 calls on 4/4 - 2 calls on 4/5 - 2 calls on 4/7 - 2 calls on 4/8 - 1 call on 4/10 On 4/5 I called the Santana 800 number and left 2 messages for them to stop the calls and that I had a scheduled payment before the due date. - At this point the payment I scheduled was 13 days before the due date I received on my statement in the mail.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
Santanna Energy Corporation needs to formally apologize to my family for the stress and anxiety they caused by leaving these messages. But, especially after I called them and they told me I should not be receiving these threatening calls. The topic on this conversation included the method of payment. They should not be promoted by NiCor any longer.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  7/22/2010.     Service Start Date: 8/26/2010.
 
SES spoke to **** **** on 4/16/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. **** stated that he does not know why he would receive calls if the bill was not past due.  Our investigation showed that on 04/07/14, Mr. **** did call SES and left a voicemail for a return call regarding his account. SES attempted call him but was unable to reach him and a voicemail was left.  As of the date of this initial call on 4/7/2014, Mr. **** did have a past due b****ce for his March invoice, which was due 4/2/2014.  SES Collections department did make calls to Mr. **** regarding payment for the past due account.  Full payment for Mr. ****’s March and April invoices did post to his account on 04/14/14. It was explained that his account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on or around 3/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
 
****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/28/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: They changed my services over without my consent, they said that i verbally agreed over the phone. they played the recording back to me and it was not me , who ever it was could not pronounce or spell my last name correctly. because they bill through DTE energy , I had no Idea for 2 years that they were my supplier. i only found out because my bills were getting so high ,I called DTE and finally a representative told me that i had a different supplier(Santanna Energy)and that's why my bills were so high. I've tried numerous times to resolve this issue and not one has made any attempt to help me resolve this. they simply told me "well it sounded like you" and told me that quality Assurance would contact me in 48 hours and nothing has happened, i called again and they just told me the same thing.I have the whole conversation recorded , including the recording that they played to me.

Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: Refund I would like a full refund on any billing from this company.

Business Response: Customer:  Arthur ******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/11/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
They changed my services over without my consent, they said that i verbally agreed over the phone. they played the recording back to me and it was not me , whoever it was could not pronounce or spell my last name correctly. because they bill through DTE energy , I had no Idea for 2 years that they were my supplier. i only found out because my bills were getting so high ,I called DTE and finally a representative told me that i had a different supplier(Santanna Energy)and that's why my bills were so high. I've tried numerous times to resolve this issue and not one has made any attempt to help me resolve this. they simply told me "well it sounded like you" and told me that quality Assurance would contact me in 48 hours and nothing has happened, i called again and they just told me the same thing have the whole conversation recorded , including the recording that they played to me.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
Desired Settlement ID: Refund I would like a full refund on any billing from this company.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  1/10/2012.     Service Start Date: 1/25/2012.
 
SES spoke to Arthur ****** on 4/17/2014  and went over his complaint. Mr. ****** stated he never authorized any enrollment with SES. It was explained to him that our investigation revealed that the TPV was inappropriately processed by the DSR. Please be assured that SES does not approve of any DSR swaying from the script and absolutely does not tolerate any DSR that blatantly fabricates information about our program and does not tolerate any type of unprofessional behavior. The DSR, ****** *********, in this matter no longer works for SES. This representative worked directly for Taylor Marketing group, a marketing group hired by SES. Taylor Marketing Group no longer solicits for SES.
 
The account has been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 5/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Santanna will refund the difference of what he would have paid with utility company vs. the fixed rate with SES. Mr. ****** was happy with the outcome and thanked me for following up with his complaint. SES apologized for any inconvenience this might have caused him.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/24/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santana sales reps approached me at my house. They told me DTE energy doesn't inform consumers of their abilities to pick their own gas distributors, then showed me statistics on how their gas prices are consistently .o5-.10 cheaper per ccf than DTE's. lately my bills have been going up exponentially. I have a small 600ft2 house. A high winter bill is around 150. The last 2 months my gas bill breached $300. When looking at their "competitive rates" I noticed it was 2x the national average last month and almost 3x the national average this month. This is the equivalent of a gas station charging $12 a gallon without repercussion. This is the worst case of price gouging, and to make matters worse, after I cancelled my contract with them on Feb 28, I recieved another bill. The rate is $1.20/ccf, when DTE's is .47/ccf. They say it takes 2-3 billing cycles to fully cancel, so it appears i'm being punished and trapped for cancelling. I terminated my service on Feb 28th, and I'm still paying for them. This is ridiculous.

Desired Settlement: I am seeking a refund for any amount paid over fair market rate since losing my fixed rate, as it is obviously price gouging practice. I will settle for $300 for back charges and the immediate termination of their services effective Feb 28th 2014, when i cancelled.

Business Response: Customer:  ****** ********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  3/28/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
Santana sales reps approached me at my house. They told me DTE energy doesn't inform consumers of their abilities to pick their own gas distributors, then showed me statistics on how their gas prices are consistently .05-.10 cheaper per ccf than DTE's. lately my bills have been going up exponentially. I have a small 600ft2 house. A high winter bill is around 150. The last 2 months my gas bill breached $300. When looking at their "competitive rates" I noticed it was 2x the national average last month and almost 3x the national average this month. This is the equivalent of a gas station charging $12 a gallon without repercussion. This is the worst case of price gouging, and to make matters worse, after I cancelled my contract with them on Feb 28, I received another bill. The rate is $1.20/ccf, when DTE's is .47/ccf. They say it takes 2-3 billing cycles to fully cancel, so it appears I’m being punished and trapped for cancelling. I terminated my service on Feb 28th, and I'm still paying for them. This is ridiculous.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I am seeking a refund for any amount paid over fair market rate since losing my fixed rate, as it is obviously price gouging practice. I will settle for $300 for back charges and the immediate termination of their services effective Feb 28th 2014, when I cancelled.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  9/17/2011.     Service Start Date: 11/14/2011.
 
SES spoke to ****** ******** on 4/4/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ******** stated that it's funny how after his fix rate expired, SES raised his rate 3 to 4 times more than the national average. It was explained to him that when he enrolled into the program with SES, he was on a fixed rate of $0.57 cents per CCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on our market price. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 9/11/2012 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/19/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

They offered no resolution. New customers are signing up paying above market rate, but my rate is still more than double that.


Regards,

****** ********

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
They offered no resolution. New customers are signing up paying above market rate, but my rate is still more than double that.
 
Regards,

****** ********
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response:
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to Mr. ********’s account.  We did speak to Mr. ******** on 4/4/2014, and explained that a Continuation Notice was mailed on 10/30/2013, informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our CS department to initiate another fixed price contract. The Continuation Letter was mailed to the address of record from the original TPV, which was also confirmed by Consumers Energy. On 2/27/2014, Mr. ******** did call SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) regarding his account. Our CSR offered Mr. ******** a new fixed rate for the next 12 months but he declined it. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/19/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. 
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/24/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santanna told me that they would bill me at a fixed, low rate for natural gas service. They state that they sent me a letter over one year ago telling me that my fixed rate was up and that I would have a variable rate unless I called them. I did not receive this letter therefore I did not call them. They have now increased their charge for gas (which is low cost right now), but they have increased it by 300%!! I called customer service about my bill and was told that they "anticipate" the cost of natural gas to increase by 20-30%. The cost of gas has NOT increased at present, it has actually dropped. They did not increase my charge by the "anticipated 20-30%" but by 300% from 5 to over $16/unit. Consumer's Energy charged $4.9/unit for the same billing cycle. This is unethical and out of line with consumers energy or other energy service providers. It will force people to go without heat. There is no reason for this type of increase. I was informed that they would not change my rate unless I locked in a fixed rate by promising to stay with them. If I cancelled my service with them and returned to Consumers I was told that it would take "a few billing cycles" in which I would still be paying an astronomical fee. This is unethical, poor customer service and poor business practice. I would not recommend Santanna to anyone I know.

Desired Settlement: I would like them to bill me for the last and current cycle at local industry acceptable norms. I would also like them to review and change their practice based on ACTUAL gas cost, not anticipated cost.

Business Response: Customer: ******** ******
 
Customer Concern Received from MPSC:  3/20/14

Customer Concern submitted from MPSC:
Santanna told me that they would bill me at a fixed, low rate for natural gas service. They state that they sent me a letter over one year ago telling me that my fixed rate was up and that I would have a variable rate unless I called them. I did not receive this letter therefore I did not call them. They have now increased their charge for gas (which is low cost right now), but they have increased it by 300%!! I called customer service about my bill and was told that they "anticipate" the cost of natural gas to increase by 20-30%. The cost of gas has NOT increased at present, it has actually dropped. They did not increase my charge by the "anticipated 20-30%" but by 300% from 5 to over $16/unit. Consumer's Energy charged $4.9/unit for the same billing cycle. This is unethical and out of line with consumers energy or other energy service providers. It will force people to go without heat. There is no reason for this type of increase. I was informed that they would not change my rate unless I locked in a fixed rate by promising to stay with them. If I cancelled my service with them and returned to Consumers I was told that it would take "a few billing cycles" in which I would still be paying an astronomical fee. This is unethical, poor customer service and poor business practice. I would not recommend Santanna to anyone I know.  I would like them to bill me for the last and current cycle at local industry acceptable norms. I would also like them to review and change their practice based on ACTUAL gas cost, not anticipated cost.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  1/31/2012     Service Start Date:  3/2/2013
 
SES spoke to Ms. ****** on 3/28/2014 and went over her complaint.  She stated that her price has increased over 300% and that no one is able to pay something like that. It was explained to her that when she initially enrolled into the program with SES she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months, After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 1/28/2013 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. The market price varies each month and is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. She understood.  The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Her phone number has been added to our Do Not Call List. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.


****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:  300% increase in their rates is not reasonable, acceptable, or standard.  They are taking advantage of customers.  I accept their apology but believe that their practice needs to change.

Regards,

******** ******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because:  300% increase in their rates is not reasonable, acceptable, or standard.  They are taking advantage of customers.  I accept their apology but believe that their practice needs to change.

Regards,

******** ******
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally.  The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies,  and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs.  The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Again, Santanna apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/24/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I received my March 2014 billing statement & the Mcf rate went from $7.60/Mcf to $16.32/Mcf which translates to a $349.23 increase in my bill. When I spoke with one of their Representatives & then his Supervisors, I didn't sign the letter they had sent out 11 months after I had switched to Santanna Energy which was back in December of 2011 that would have locked me in @ a fixed rate. This NEVER happened, NO letter was ever received & who in their right mind wouldn't have addressed a letter like that!!!! I canceled them as my gas supplier & of course they say it's going to be another billing cycle before it will go into effect so they will get a extra $700 in total. They sure can get ahold of you & constantly call you to switch to them as your supplier but with this MASSIVE INCREASE in the works they say that a letter was sent to you & just make the increase during the coldest months of the year. This should be illegal & after going on the Consumers Affairs web site I see there are other people who have been taken advantage of by Santanna.

Desired Settlement: Adjust the bill according to the $7.60/Mcf that was in February 2014.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 2/14/2011.     Service Start Date: 2/28/2011.
 
SES spoke to ********* ***** ***** on 3/27/14 and went over his complaint. Mr. ***** stated that the price SES put on the gas is not the price of the market. He said he has sources and he knows gas is not that high. It was explained to him that when he enrolled into the program with SES he was on a fixed rate of $0.619 cents per CCF, from his start date through his March 2012 billing cycle. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 1/27/2012 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service Department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

Regards,

********* *********

After speaking w/SES it was still oblivious that they were going to stay with there story that a letter was sent out regarding contacting them on locking in @ a fixed rate, this NEVER happened. In addition to the conversation when I asked for the site or info they use to track the current Natural Gas Rate He would not give me the information. When I brought up the fact that Consumers Energy & ALL the other Natural Gas Suppliers for Michigan were not even close to the astronomical rate they charged he went back to the same story that there was nothing they would do to adjust the bill. I still find it very hard to believe that in this competitive market, customer service would be one of there top priorities, they had my phone number to constantly call me to switch to them as my supplier but when it came time to more than triple the rate, NO calls to question if I received the letter & what the outcome would be for the following billing cycles.  If you go to the Consumers Affairs web site the amount of people that have had the same problem just keeps growing & the customer service representative with Consumers Energy stated they have been flooded with calls of the EXACT same problem.
                                                      Thank You, **** ******
 

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
After speaking w/SES it was still oblivious that they were going to stay with there story that a letter was sent out regarding contacting them on locking in @ a fixed rate, this NEVER happened. In addition to the conversation when I asked for the site or info they use to track the current Natural Gas Rate He would not give me the information. When I brought up the fact that Consumers Energy & ALL the other Natural Gas Suppliers for Michigan were not even close to the astronomical rate they charged he went back to the same story that there was nothing they would do to adjust the bill. I still find it very hard to believe that in this competitive market, customer service would be one of there top priorities, they had my phone number to constantly call me to switch to them as my supplier but when it came time to more than triple the rate, NO calls to question if I received the letter & what the outcome would be for the following billing cycles.  If you go to the Consumers Affairs web site the amount of people that have had the same problem just keeps growing & the customer service representative with Consumers Energy stated they have been flooded with calls of the EXACT same problem.

Santanna’s Follow-up Response
We do apologize for any misunderstandings with Mr. *****.  SES did speak to Mr. ***** on 3/27/14, and did explain that a Continuation Notice was mailed on 1/27/12, informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our CS department to initiate another fixed price contract. Mr. *****’s was mailed to: 
********* ***** ***** ********** **
LIVONIA, MI 48150
This is the address of record from the original TPV, also confirmed by Consumers Energy. 
 
Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally.  The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies,  and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs.  We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/24/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up with Santanna Energy in early 2013 with the promise that they offered the lowest possible competitive prices. Not only were their prices slightly above locally sourced natural gas for the entire duration of our contract, as I learned much too late, but from January 2014 - March 2014 (a 2 month span) the price of natural gas through their company nearly tripled. According to them it was due to market fluctuation, but in my research, I could find no such increase in market prices. In fact, locally sourced naturally gas only had a spike of about 1.7% during this same period of time. Being the fair person I am, I called them to try to learn how they determined their "competive" pricing. The first two customer service representatives hung up the phone after I pressed them, wanting to be mailed information on how their price tripled, while the market showed no indication that natural gas prices had done so. After speaking to a third representative, all of them very rude, I spoke to a supervisor, who explained to me that they were not regulated and could do whatever they want to prices. After asking him to cancel immediately, and avoid further charges, he said that it was not possible and I would be charged the next two billing cycles, even though they were able to start charging me the first billing cycle when I started the contract. I asked him to cancel my services anyway, and he told me,"It's not my job," hardly what you would expect to hear from someone in a supervisory role. I was then transferred to the customer service representative who was able to cancel my services. Overall, I feel this company is quite obviously guilty of price gouging, and should be reprimanded. I think it is repulsive that they lure people in with seemingly competitive prices, only to triple them during the peak winter months, particularly with as cold of a winter as 2013-2014 was. Please help me in making this company operate fairly or not operate at all, and making them refund payments that they took me through what I feel is price gouging, an illegal practice.

Desired Settlement: I would like this company to be held accountable for the highly questionable, possibly illegal practices. They need to be prevented from operating this way, taking advantage of trusting consumer's, or possibly be prevented from operating at all. Not only should I be refunded the difference between a fair price (25-30% of what I was actually charged) and the price Santanna Energy charged me, but everyone that was taken advantage of should be refunded that difference as well.

Business Response: Customer: ******* ** ******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 4/4/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
I signed up with Santanna Energy in early 2013 with the promise that they offered the lowest possible competitive prices. Not only were their prices slightly above locally sourced natural gas for the entire duration of our contract, as I learned much too late, but from January 2014 - March 2014 (a 2 month span) the price of natural gas through their company nearly tripled. According to them it was due to market fluctuation, but in my research, I could find no such increase in market prices. In fact, locally sourced naturally gas only had a spike of about 1.7% during this same period of time. Being the fair person I am, I called them to try to learn how they determined their "competive" pricing. The first two customer service representatives hung up the phone after I pressed them, wanting to be mailed information on how their price tripled, while the market showed no indication that natural gas prices had done so. After speaking to a third representative, all of them very rude, I spoke to a supervisor, who explained to me that they were not regulated and could do whatever they want to prices. After asking him to cancel immediately, and avoid further charges, he said that it was not possible and I would be charged the next two billing cycles, even though they were able to start charging me the first billing cycle when I started the contract. I asked him to cancel my services anyway, and he told me, “It’s not my job," hardly what you would expect to hear from someone in a supervisory role. I was then transferred to the customer service representative who was able to cancel my services. Overall, I feel this company is quite obviously guilty of price gouging, and should be reprimanded. I think it is repulsive that they lure people in with seemingly competitive prices, only to triple them during the peak winter months, particularly with as cold of a winter as 2013-2014 was. Please help me in making this company operate fairly or not operate at all, and making them refund payments that they took me through what I feel is price gouging, an illegal practice.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 6/18/2013.     Service Start Date: 6/30/2013.
 
SES spoke to ******* * ****** on 4/9/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ****** stated that this is price gouging. Ever since he joined his price has always been higher. It was explained to him that when he originally elected enrollment into the SES program, it was on Santanna’s Market Price program. The gas price varies month to month. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 04/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Customer understood. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. Mr. ****** thanked me for following up with his complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/23/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Over a 200% price increase for the month of March with me having no knowledge that I was not locked into a fixed rate.. The claim was that a letter was sent to the my house in 2012 that I would be paying market rate. I am unaware I received this letter. I believe I was charged more than market rate and four times the rate of a Consumers Energy customer. With a phone call the rate was reduced for future gas to 5.90 from 16.32 but they could do nothing for the past billing cycle.

Desired Settlement: I want a billing adjustment from 16.32 to 5.9 @29.1Mcf equalling $ 303.22

Business Response: Customer: ********* ******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/26/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
Over a 200% price increase for the month of March with me having no knowledge that I was not locked into a fixed rate.. The claim was that a letter was sent to the my house in 2012 that I would be paying market rate. I am unaware I received this letter. I believe I was charged more than market rate and four times the rate of a Consumers Energy customer. With a phone call the rate was reduced for future gas to 5.90 from 16.32 but they could do nothing for the past billing cycle.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 4/26/2011.     Service Start Date: 4/30/2011.
 
SES spoke to ********* ****** on 4/3/2014 and went over his complaint. Ms. ****** stated that she never received notice and wanted help on her previous bill. It was explained to her that when s enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $6.19 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 3/28/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Customer understood.
 
On 3/25/14, Ms. ******, did call SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) to have her service canceled. Our CSR offered Ms. ****** a new fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for the next 12 months. Customer accepted and a verbal recording was done. The program terms and conditions were thoroughly explained.
 
Ms. ****** did confirm on 4/3/2014 that she will continue service with SES on the $5.90 rate. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her. She thanked me for following up with her complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

Although Santanna Energy has made it to appear that I was satisfied with our conversation on 4-3-14. I want to assure you that I am not. As an 83 year old single person I feel that they have taken advantage of me. I would like to hear the recording from my initial sign up and see a copy of the letter they claim to have sent to me, dated 3-28-12. It is still my contention that I was not told that the gas rate could increase 200% in one month. Nor that I was not locked into a rate. This action SES has taken is price gouging and I will not be satisfied until I receive a check form Santanna Energy for the amount requested in my complaint  I did confirm on 4-3-14 that I would continue service with Santanna Energy, however I will be changing to Consumers Energy as soon as I can get help in doing so. My thanking SES for follow up on the complaint was nothing more than my good manners. A review of Santanna Energy, on ConsumerAffairs.com, has an 88% unfavorable rating with most of these reviews stating exactly what I have said in this complaint. That I was not informed.
Therfore and agian, I will not be satisfied until I receive a check form Santanna Energy for the amount requested in my complaint  

********* ******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
Although Santanna Energy has made it to appear that I was satisfied with our conversation on 4-3-14. I want to assure you that I am not. As an 83 year old single person I feel that they have taken advantage of me. I would like to hear the recording from my initial sign up and see a copy of the letter they claim to have sent to me, dated 3-28-12. It is still my contention that I was not told that the gas rate could increase 200% in one month. Nor that I was not locked into a rate. This action SES has taken is price gouging and I will not be satisfied until I receive a check form Santanna Energy for the amount requested in my complaint  I did confirm on 4-3-14 that I would continue service with Santanna Energy, however I will be changing to Consumers Energy as soon as I can get help in doing so. My thanking SES for follow up on the complaint was nothing more than my good manners. A review of Santanna Energy, on ConsumerAffairs.com, has an 88% unfavorable rating with most of these reviews stating exactly what I have said in this complaint. That I was not informed.
Therefore and again, I will not be satisfied until I receive a check form Santanna Energy for the amount requested in my complaint  

********* ******

Santanna’s Follow-up Response:
Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings related to Ms. ******’s account. A copy of the verification and a copy of the Continuation letter will be mailed to her home as requested. 
 
Ms. ******’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $6.19 per MCF for 12 months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis on our market price. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 3/28/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally.  The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies, and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******


I am rejecting this response because: My position has not changed. Santanna Energy has not provided me with a satisfactory responce. I am asking for a credt for the difference in what I was charged and the "new" rate I was offered for future gas, once I complained. I will pursue other options and suggest others to do the same.. Those from Michigan can contact Michigan Public Service Commission as they regulate licenses to alternate gas suppliers or the Michigan Attorney General.


Regards,


********* ******

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

4/23/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In 2011 I was called by a sales represenative from Santanna Energy. I agreed to a one year fixed rate and then a competive variable rate after that. The sales representative promissed my variable rate would never go above 10% of whatever Consumers Energy's fixed rate was when my fixed rate was up(but he said that for the most part Santanna Energy's variable rate would beat Consumer Energy's rate). Conversation was supposidly recorded and I felt secure that even in the competivite variable rate I couldn't loose. I asked many questions and the conversation was probalby 10 to 15 minutes long. For 2012 and 2013 I was not on a fixed plan. Was never sent a letter, called or notifed by any gas compaines of anything. Now Santanna Energy is saying that in Feb of 2014 they sent me a letter stating my rates were about to go up and I need to get into a fixed rate. I never received the letter. I am also on paperless billing for energy bills so any letters that concern energy I open becasue they are not normal. In February and March of 2014 my energy bills have gone up to 300% above a competitive rates offered by Consumers Energy $4.72 and $5.90 by Santanna Energy. My cost was $16.32 per unit. Which led to a bill in March of $770.00. I contacted them on 21 March and asked to listen to the recording but was only played the part where I gave my name and adress and said agreeed. The sales rep's promises of a competitive rate within 10% of consumers Energy's fixed rate where gone along with all the other questions I asked. I asked the customer service reps ***** and ***** for a refund or grace because of the promises made to me by the sales rep. I was told that no adjustments were being made. I asked to have a a supervisor to give me a call and I left a message for a supervisor as well. I was misled and lied to by the sales rep from Santanna Energy. The terms of our agreement were not recorded only the final portions of the conversation where I stated that I agreed to the service and my name. $16.32 is not a competitive rate and it is not within 10% of Consumers Energy's fixed rate of $4.72

Desired Settlement: Refund of $500.00 and if they continue to charge me at this rate prior to my cancelation I ask for a refund on that as well.

Business Response: Customer: ***** **** *******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/23/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
In 2011 I was called by a sales representative from Santanna Energy. I agreed to a one year fixed rate and then a competive variable rate after that. The sales representative promised my variable rate would never go above 10% of whatever Consumers Energy's fixed rate was when my fixed rate was up(but he said that for the most part Santanna Energy's variable rate would beat Consumer Energy's rate). Conversation was supposedly recorded and I felt secure that even in the competitive variable rate I couldn't loose. I asked many questions and the conversation was probably 10 to 15 minutes long. For 2012 and 2013 I was not on a fixed plan. Was never sent a letter, called or notified by any gas companies of anything. Now Santanna Energy is saying that in Feb of 2014 they sent me a letter stating my rates were about to go up and I need to get into a fixed rate. I never received the letter. I am also on paperless billing for energy bills so any letters that concern energy I open because they are not normal. In February and March of 2014 my energy bills have gone up to 300% above a competitive rates offered by Consumers Energy $4.72 and $5.90 by Santanna Energy. My cost was $16.32 per unit. Which led to a bill in March of $770.00. I contacted them on 21 March and asked to listen to the recording but was only played the part where I gave my name and address and said agreed. The sales rep's promises of a competitive rate within 10% of consumers Energy's fixed rate where gone along with all the other questions I asked. I asked the customer service reps ***** and ***** for a refund or grace because of the promises made to me by the sales rep. I was told that no adjustments were being made. I asked to have a supervisor to give me a call and I left a message for a supervisor as well. I was misled and lied to by the sales rep from Santanna Energy. The terms of our agreement were not recorded only the final portions of the conversation where I stated that I agreed to the service and my name. $16.32 is not a competitive rate and it is not within 10% of Consumers Energy's fixed rate of $4.72
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 3/11/2011     Service Start Date: 3/29/2011
 
SES spoke to ***** ******* on 3/29/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ******* stated that he is not happy with the business practice. He did not know that the rates would increase. It was explained to him that when he enrolled into the program with SES, he was on a fixed rate of $6.19 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when he verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 2/27/2012 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Mr. ******* was not satisfied. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. Mr. ******* thanked me for following up with his complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:key statements made by Santanna Energy are not true. First the statement that the salesmen reads from a script only. I was on the phone for over fifteen minutes(with the sales rep) asking questions and coming up with senerios that might happen to my gas bill. The sales rep made assurances that my rate although not fixed would not go above 10% of Consumers Energys fixed rate. Made assurances that what happend to my gas bill this March could/would never happen! So if it was a scripted call then why will they not stand by the verbally agreed terms during the call. The truth is that the salesmen promised things in that call that apparently were not true to get me to feel comfortable with with transfering my service. This sales portion of the converation where the truth might be streched to make a sale is not recorded because it would effect sales if they had to be honest or they would have to honor the agreements made by salepersons not authorised by Santanna Energy.

Secondly I understood perfectly that I was only on a fixed rate for one year but after that I would be on a competitive rate. One problem is with how we arrived at this competitive rate of 300% above not only Consumers Energys prices at the time by all 300% above Santanna Energy own fixed rate at the time. The price is not competitive and more importantly not what was agreed upon during the sales call. The responce from Santanna Energy has been either; we don't record that portion of the conversation or we will look into our sales practice.

Regards,

***** *******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because:key statements made by Santanna Energy are not true. First the statement that the salesmen reads from a script only. I was on the phone for over fifteen minutes(with the sales rep) asking questions and coming up with senerios that might happen to my gas bill. The sales rep made assurances that my rate although not fixed would not go above 10% of Consumers Energys fixed rate. Made assurances that what happened to my gas bill this March could/would never happen! So if it was a scripted call then why will they not stand by the verbally agreed terms during the call. The truth is that the salesmen promised things in that call that apparently were not true to get me to feel comfortable with transferring my service. This sales portion of the conversation where the truth might be stretched to make a sale is not recorded because it would effect sales if they had to be honest or they would have to honor the agreements made by salespersons not authorized by Santanna Energy.

Secondly I understood perfectly that I was only on a fixed rate for one year but after that I would be on a competitive rate. One problem is with how we arrived at this competitive rate of 300% above not only Consumers Energys prices at the time by all 300% above Santanna Energy own fixed rate at the time. The price is not competitive and more importantly not what was agreed upon during the sales call.
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response:
SES again apologizes for any misunderstandings that may have resulted related to Mr. *******’s account. Please be assured that SES does not approve of any Sales Representative swaying from the script and absolutely does not tolerate any TSR that blatantly fabricates information about our program. On 3/29/2014, our Quality Assurance representative did speak to Mr. ******* and did explain that after his initial term on a fixed rate, his agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis on our market price, which varies each month. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally.  The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies, and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. 

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

SES's sales rep lied and gave false statements in order to get my business. If SES does not tolerate this type of behavior than they should offer me a refund for the disputed amount. I agree that that the sales person representing SES should have stuck to a script and that script should have been recorded. Neither one of these things happened and I was left with a bill almost three times the competitive market price. 
I have offered an acceptable solution to the problem.

Thank you,
***** *******

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

4/19/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: My wife and I were approached by a door-to-door sales man. He preceded to tell us how he could save us money on our natural gas bill. I was not sure what he was offering but he assured us that we would still recieve our bill through DTE. He showed us that the natural gas rate that we were paying with DTE was higher than what he could get. He focused on the money we would save. He failed to make it clear to us that the market rates could go way up, and they did. Our gas bill is almost 3 times what it would be if we had stayed with DTE. Our bills have been higher for the last 3 months. We did not recieve any notification that the rates had gone up. Simply recieved bills that averaged double last years. My complaint is that we were not informed fully about possible changes and the company's sales man did not feel necessary to make sure customers were well informed of what they were doing. All the while pressured by the fact that it is all happening at my door. Rates per unit: DTE - $0.47 Santanna - $1.208

Desired Settlement: I would like to only pay a reasonable amount of what I would have paid if Santanna had not been involved for this last month. (around $.50 per unit) We have already paid higher bills the last couple.

Business Response: Customer:  ******* ****** ******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  4/9/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
My wife and I were approached by a door-to-door sales man. He preceded to tell us how he could save us money on our natural gas bill. I was not sure what he was offering but he assured us that we would still receive our bill through DTE. He showed us that the natural gas rate that we were paying with DTE was higher than what he could get. He focused on the money we would save. He failed to make it clear to us that the market rates could go way up, and they did. Our gas bill is almost 3 times what it would be if we had stayed with DTE. Our bills have been higher for the last 3 months. We did not receive any notification that the rates had gone up. Simply received bills that averaged double last years. My complaint is that we were not informed fully about possible changes and the company's sales man did not feel necessary to make sure customers were well informed of what they were doing. All the while pressured by the fact that it is all happening at my door. Rates per unit: DTE - $0.47 Santanna - $1.208
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I would like to only pay a reasonable amount of what I would have paid if Santanna had not been involved for this last month. (around $.50 per unit) We have already paid higher bills the last couple.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  5/13/2013.     Service Start Date: 5/30/2013.
 
SES spoke to ******* ****** ****** on 4/11/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ****** stated that a Door to Door salesman came to his house. He did not explain what he was enrolling into. He knew it was a market rate but he said the salesman told him that the price would be lower. Please be assured that SES does not approve of any DSR swaying from the script and absolutely does not tolerate any DSR that blatantly fabricates information about our program. It was explained to him that when he originally elected enrollment into the SES program, it was on Santanna’s Market Price program. The gas price varies month to month. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when he verbally enrolled over the phone. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. Mr. ****** thanked me for following up on his complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and find that this resolution is semi-satisfactory to me. I do still feel that we were not informed of possible price changes and the company should be held accountable. The company could do more to notify the customers of possible price increases. 

Regards,

******* ******

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

4/18/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: this company is the energy supplier for Nicor gas they are billing me for more therms that Nicor is reporting. they have done this since inception of my contract

Desired Settlement: Refund for all the months of being over charged

Business Response: Customer: **** *** *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/28/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
this company is the energy supplier for Nicor gas they are billing me for more therms that Nicor is reporting. they have done this since inception of my contract.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
Refund for all the months of being over charged
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line. The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 11/3/2010.     Service Start Date: 12/8/2010.
 
SES spoke to **** *** ***** on 4/3/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. ***** stated that SES has been ripping people off. She stated that SES is billing her a different amount of therms than Nicor.  It was explained that the difference is due to the unaccounted for gas adjustment, which was reviewed in detail.  It was also explained that her bill had been estimated for several months in a row and that when the utility company got an actual read, her account was cancelled and rebilled using the actual reading.  Her current bill now shows the difference  between her estimated bills and the corrected bill with an actual meter reading. Ms. ***** originally enrolled with an index price of Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI), Bidweek Index, Chicago Citygate, + 8 cents per therm for 12 months.  The index price fluctuates each month. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on NGI Bidweek Index, Chicago Citygate, + 11.9 cents per therm (price fluctuates each month). Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/15/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** ***      **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because: There is no such thing as a lost therm. Nicor says it is not valid and does not exist. Nicor charges on therms used not an inflated number.I want to pay only for therms used not THERMS INFLATED SO YOU CAN CHARGE MORE MONEY. That is like buying 10 cookies and getting only 8. Did the cookies get lost?????????????????????????????????????????
I will fight this until a mutual conclusion can be made. I have attempted to speak with your reps and they tell me that I am wrong and there is nothing to discuss. I have been lied to, hung up on and ignored. I AM A CUSTOMER AND DESERVE FULL CONSIDERATION.


Regards,

**** *** *****

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because: There is no such thing as a lost therm. Nicor says it is not valid and does not exist. Nicor charges on therms used not an inflated number.I want to pay only for therms used not THERMS INFLATED SO YOU CAN CHARGE MORE MONEY. That is like buying 10 cookies and getting only 8. Did the cookies get lost?????????????????????????????????????????
I will fight this until a mutual conclusion can be made. I have attempted to speak with your reps and they tell me that I am wrong and there is nothing to discuss. I have been lied to, hung up on and ignored. I AM A CUSTOMER AND DESERVE FULL CONSIDERATION.

Regards,

**** *** *****
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
We apologize for any misunderstandings related to Ms. *****’s account.  On 4/3/2014, our Quality Assurance representative did speak to Ms. ***** and explained the Unaccounted-for gas factor. Unaccounted-for gas is an industry standard term and represents the natural gas that is lost during the delivery of the product to the end-user. There are multiple contributors of unaccounted-for gas, including pipeline leaks, temperature, pressure, and the gas used for fuel compressors that keep the system pressurized. In most cases, unaccounted-for gas is shared equally among all system users.
 
Ms. ***** originally enrolled with an index price of Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI), Bidweek Index, Chicago Citygate, + 8 cents per therm for 12 months. The index price fluctuates each month. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on NGI Bidweek Index, Chicago Citygate, + 11.9 cents per therm (price fluctuates each month). Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally. The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies, and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted. 
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:
  Same response as before call me if you like during normal business hours ************
Regards,

**** *** *****

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

4/18/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up with Santanna to lower my utility costs. They locked me in for a year rate, then change me to a variable rate. They claim to have sent me a letter of such change and their customer service confirms that it looks like spam and many people put in the garbage. I never received it. The rate they just charged me is about 4 times more than what the utility company changes. They overcharged me by $500.00. My bill was over $900, when it should have been no more than $400.00. When you call to discuss, they claim to have no managers/supervisors to speak to, they confirm they often get dropped calls when calling(making it hard to talk to them). I had to call a number of times to get a hold of anyone. They are taking advantage of the public. This needs to stop. This can't be legal. They must do more to notify clients of the change.

Desired Settlement: I want them to go back from the date my rate changed and refund me all that was overcharged.

Business Response: Customer:  ***** *******
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB:  3/25/2014

Customer Concern submitted from BBB: 
I signed up with Santanna to lower my utility costs. They locked me in for a year rate, then change me to a variable rate. They claim to have sent me a letter of such change and their customer service confirms that it looks like spam and many people put in the garbage. I never received it. The rate they just charged me is about 4 times more than what the utility company changes. They overcharged me by $500.00. My bill was over $900, when it should have been no more than $400.00. When you call to discuss, they claim to have no managers/supervisors to speak to, they confirm they often get dropped calls when calling(making it hard to talk to them). I had to call a number of times to get a hold of anyone. They are taking advantage of the public. This needs to stop. This can't be legal. They must do more to notify clients of the change.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  4/12/2012.     Service Start Date: 4/30/2012.
 
SES spoke to ***** ******* on 4/2/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ******* stated that SES increased his price from $4.00 to$16.00 in one month. It was explained to him that when ********* ******* (wife) enrolled into the program with SES, she enrolled on a fixed rate of $4.85 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to them on 4/1/2013 informing them that their current fixed price would be ending soon and their account would continue with SES on our market price, unless they contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Mr. ******* stated that the renewal letter looks like spam, people don't pay attention to spam letters. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/29/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. Mr. ******* ended the call.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

I spoke to **** in Customer Service.  Seems like he has his response perfected.  I'm sure he repeats it all day, every day, to customers that they fool.  The truth is the company does a lot to set you up with the allure that they will save you money on your utilities.  They go as far as recording a conversation to confirm you agree(to use against you when you fail to cancel).  They take very little steps to notify you that your rate changes to a variable rate.  They claim to send a letter - that is all that is done.  Of course they have no reason to do anything more than send one letter, because they prey on people that are too busy or think the letter is spam.  They don't follow up or do anything else to tell you that you are subject to 4 times the rate changed. They don't do anything, because this is how they make their real money.  **** is experienced to tell you the facts are that they did what they needed to do and the I, the customer, failed to cancel or renew. His response is that "We recorded you when you signed up and told you the facts"  This system of allowing a major company to fool the citizens of Michigan is a shame.  I wonder how much money the company made this last month when they increased their charges 4X.  I am unhappy with the response.  Their BBB rating needs to be adjusted and people need to be aware of the minimal work they do to notify you that your rates are changing substantially more than the local utility company.  Lastly, a couple facts for Santanna..1) We never received the letter(must have been lost in the mail or never sent), please provide proof that this was sent.  2) ********* isn't my wife, she is my sister.  I also stated to customer service that I will be sending letters to Michigan's Attorney General, Congressman and local State Reps to stop the ability of a company to take advantage of citizens of this great state. I'm, sure the owner of Santanna is living a grand lifestyle while preying on family's that are just trying to make a living to survive.      

Regards,

***** *******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I spoke to **** in Customer Service.  Seems like he has his response perfected.  I'm sure he repeats it all day, every day, to customers that they fool.  The truth is the company does a lot to set you up with the allure that they will save you money on your utilities.  They go as far as recording a conversation to confirm you agree(to use against you when you fail to cancel).  They take very little steps to notify you that your rate changes to a variable rate.  They claim to send a letter - that is all that is done.  Of course they have no reason to do anything more than send one letter, because they prey on people that are too busy or think the letter is spam.  They don't follow up or do anything else to tell you that you are subject to 4 times the rate changed. They don't do anything, because this is how they make their real money.  **** is experienced to tell you the facts are that they did what they needed to do and the I, the customer, failed to cancel or renew. His response is that "We recorded you when you signed up and told you the facts"  This system of allowing a major company to fool the citizens of Michigan is a shame.  I wonder how much money the company made this last month when they increased their charges 4X.  I am unhappy with the response.  Their BBB rating needs to be adjusted and people need to be aware of the minimal work they do to notify you that your rates are changing substantially more than the local utility company.  Lastly, a couple facts for Santanna..1) We never received the letter(must have been lost in the mail or never sent), please provide proof that this was sent.  2) ********* isn't my wife, she is my sister.  I also stated to customer service that I will be sending letters to Michigan's Attorney General, Congressman and local State Reps to stop the ability of a company to take advantage of citizens of this great state. I'm, sure the owner of Santanna is living a grand lifestyle while preying on family's that are just trying to make a living to survive.      

Regards,

***** *******Word Rejected*
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
On 4/2/2014, our Quality Assurance representative did speak with Mr. ****** and explained that when ********* ******, the account holder, enrolled with SES, she enrolled with a fixed rate for the first 12 months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the third party verification recording when ********* ****** verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Letter was mailed to Ms. ****** on April 1, 2013 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES, on our market price; unless she contacted our Customer Service Department to initiate another fixed price contract. A PDF copy of the original letter will be mailed to Mr. ****** as requested. We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
  ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

The companies policies need to be changed.  One letter is not enough notice.  It was never received.

Regards,

***** *******

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

4/16/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was contacted by a representative of Santanna Energy Services approximately 1.5-1.75 years ago, promoting their services as an independent gas supplier with rates lower than my local DTE gas provider. I agreed to enroll with their company and was sent a written confirmation at the time guaranteeing me a fixed rate on the gas prices for at least two years. My last two heat bills were astronomical in dollar amount. I understand that we have experienced unusually low temperatures, etc. Upon calling DTE to find out why and what was happening to my heating bills...one of their reps analyzed my bill and brought to my attention that Santanna was charging TRIPLE...TRIPLE THE RATE of DTE's energy prices. I called back to Santanna and after leaving six messages for a supervisor to contact me, I finally made a connection by researching their various websites and calling an alternate number. I explained how irate I was, that their rates were "criminal" and "shameful". The supervisor then said that a letter was mailed out to all customers saying that their fixed rate was going to become "uncapped". I NEVER RECEIVED THE LETTER....The Santanna Supervisor and I went round and round on that...she said "well thousands of people replied back". I'd like to know how many customers they have....thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands??? If only "thouands" answered back, what about all of the others????? I never ever received any form of correspondence alerting me that my gas price was going to change....let alone TRIPLE what is currently available. CRIMINAL, SHAMEFUL, OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOR.

Desired Settlement: I would like to see Santanna Energy Services adjust my heating bill from Dec, Jan, Feb, March and April to those rates which are aligned with DTE of Detroit. Santanna's last billing rate was 1.29 as compared to DTE's .471.

Business Response: Customer:  ***** *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/24/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
I was contacted by a representative of Santanna Energy Services approximately 1.5-1.75 years ago, promoting their services as an independent gas supplier with rates lower than my local DTE gas provider. I agreed to enroll with their company and was sent a written confirmation at the time guaranteeing me a fixed rate on the gas prices for at least two years. My last two heat bills were astronomical in dollar amount. I understand that we have experienced unusually low temperatures, etc. Upon calling DTE to find out why and what was happening to my heating bills...one of their reps analyzed my bill and brought to my attention that Santanna was charging TRIPLE...TRIPLE THE RATE of DTE's energy prices. I called back to Santanna and after leaving six messages for a supervisor to contact me, I finally made a connection by researching their various websites and calling an alternate number. I explained how irate I was, that their rates were "criminal" and "shameful". The supervisor then said that a letter was mailed out to all customers saying that their fixed rate was going to become "uncapped". I NEVER RECEIVED THE LETTER....The Santanna Supervisor and I went round and round on that...she said "well thousands of people replied back". I'd like to know how many customers they have....thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands??? If only "thousands" answered back, what about all of the others????? I never ever received any form of correspondence alerting me that my gas price was going to change....let alone TRIPLE what is currently available. CRIMINAL, SHAMEFUL, OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOR.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I would like to see Santanna Energy Services adjust my heating bill from Dec, Jan, Feb, March and April to those rates which are aligned with DTE of Detroit. Santanna's last billing rate was 1.29 as compared to DTE's .471.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 10/25/2012.     Service Start Date: 1/2/2013
 
SES spoke to ***** ***** on 4/1/2014 and went over her complaint. Mr. ***** stated that this is illegal pricing and that she expects an adjustment. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $0.495 cents per CCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 10/30/2013 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Customer understood. She stated that she never received the continuation notice. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 4/1/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her. Ms. ***** thanked me for following up with her complaint.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you******* ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

Yes, I have cancelled my account with Santanna Energy Services....who wouldn't after paying outrageous, explosive and unregulated gas supply prices.  We will debate until end of time as to my NOT receiving a notice warning me that my energy contract was about to go "adjustable" and "market rate".  Any one with proper notice would have elected to keep their gas bill in line with a safeguard such as a "fixed rate".  I can only assume that there will be thousands upon thousand of cancellations in light of your shameful business tactics.  You would think a large company (I was told they have "hundreds of thousands of customers") would want to right the wrong, seeing as I filed a complaint with the BBB.  You do not have much of a future SES....

DO THE RIGHT THING....ADJUST MY BILLS 

Regards,

***** *****

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
Yes, I have cancelled my account with Santanna Energy Services....who wouldn't after paying outrageous, explosive and unregulated gas supply prices.  We will debate until end of time as to my NOT receiving a notice warning me that my energy contract was about to go "adjustable" and "market rate".  Anyone with proper notice would have elected to keep their gas bill in line with a safeguard such as a "fixed rate".  I can only assume that there will be thousands upon thousands of cancellations in light of your shameful business tactics.  You would think a large company (I was told they have "hundreds of thousands of customers") would want to right the wrong, seeing as I filed a complaint with the BBB.  You do not have much of a future SES....

DO THE RIGHT THING....ADJUST MY BILLS 

Regards,

***** *****
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response:
We do apologize for any misunderstandings with Ms. *****. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally.  The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices. Santanna has multiple sources from which it purchases it’s energy supplies, and the price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted. SES did speak to Ms. ***** on 4/1/14, and did explain that a Continuation Notice was mailed on 10/30/2013, informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. The Continuation Letter was mailed to the address of record from the original TPV, which was also confirmed by Consumers Energy. 
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
 ****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

***** *****

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

4/14/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: We have had Santanna since 2012. My husband called immediately after signing up to cancel. This was never done. We lost our promotional rate of 5.9 some time in 2013 after our 1 year of service was up. This rate was NEVER changed until February where it was increased to 7.6 per unit of gas and now in March to 16.32 per unit of gas. This is absurd. When I called Santanna they offered me the new rate of 5.9 only after I called and was billed a higher rate for one of the coldest months in Michigan's HISTORY. This is not a good business practice. I asked to speak with a manager and they were not helpful at all. They will not backdate the 5.9 rate to February and advised they mailed out 1 letter letting me know my rate was changing. I never received a thing. This is an unethical business practice. We did not even want their service. My bill is now double at over $700 in March to heat my home. I have advised them that I would be contacting the BBB & my attorney. They didn't seem to care. As soon as I see my rate back at 5.9 per unit of gas, I will be switching back to Consumers Energy in Michigan at 4.5 per unit of gas.

Desired Settlement: I would like the 5.9 per unit of gas to go back to when it was adjusted in January since they are offering that to me today to keep me as a customer. If not I will be suing their company.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date:  12/30/2011     Service Start Date: 01/29/2012
 
SES spoke to ******** ** ******* and attempted to go over complaint. Mrs. ******* started yelling saying that SES is only following up with her to justify themselves and not adjust her bill. Customer would not let SES speak. Mrs. ******* started to make inappropriate comments and the call was ended.
 
The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 12/30/2011 and started the program on 1/29/2012. Mrs. *******’ initial contract was for a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 12/27/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless she contacted our CS department to initiate another fixed price contract. Because we were unable to review her complaint, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her, asking her to contact me directly if she has any further questions. We apologize for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

I do not believe Santana has done anything to fix the issue.  All they did was call me due to technicalities.  I advised I would be contacting my attorney.  I was out of contract for over a year when my rate was tripled.
i will not be happy until my bill is adjusted.

best,

******** *******

Business Response: SES did contact Ms. ******* on 3/28/2014 and attempted to review her complaint. Mrs. ******* started yelling, saying that SES is only following up with her to justify themselves and not adjust her bill. Customer would not let SES speak. When Mrs. ******* started to make inappropriate comments, the call was ended.
 
The customer originally elected into the SES program on 12/30/2011 and started the program on 1/29/2012. Her initial contract was for twelve months on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis with the market price.  These terms were agreed upon by the customer in the initial agreement, and verified by a third party verifier.  A Welcome Letter was mailed after enrollment, and a Continuation Notice was mailed in December 2012, confirming the terms of the contract, including that her current fixed price would be ending and her account would continue with our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. 
 
The account did move to the market rate in March 2013, and has billed on this variable rate since then. Energy prices have been volatile in early 2014, as reported by numerous media outlets in the Midwest and nationally.  The extreme cold winter, depletion of storage, and limitations on interstate pipeline capacity have impacted the natural gas supply during the highest demand period, resulting in higher prices.   Ms. *******’ account has since been cancelled.  Santanna again apologizes for any misunderstandings with Mr. ******’ account. 
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,
****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/14/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Unaware that I was under an unsigned agreement with Santanna Energy, I was charged .60 per cf in December, .659 in January, and 1.21 per cf in February. My last 2 months bills were $180.00 and now $281.03, I have made many many calls to ask Santanna to release me from their services, they have finally sent a letter to DTE who is charging .471 per cf, however I still have a bill of 281.03 and Santanna won't let me go until April 3. So that means I will get another bill of $280.00 minimum, since they can not tell me what they are going to charge me. This is so outrageous, I can not afford this, this is gouging!!!! I have gone to consumer review and there are 77 angry complaints against them. Quite a few from this very month of Michigan users that have received the same kindof bill.

Desired Settlement: reduce the past bill by minimum of $100.00 and the future March bill should be the same or less as the reduced February bill, allow DTE to take immediate control as my natural gas provider, and never ever call me again.

Business Response: Customer: ***** * ********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/21/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
Unaware that I was under an unsigned agreement with Santanna Energy, I was charged .60 per cf in December, .659 in January, and 1.21 per cf in February. My last 2 months bills were $180.00 and now $281.03, I have made many many calls to ask Santanna to release me from their services, they have finally sent a letter to DTE who is charging .471 per cf, however I still have a bill of 281.03 and Santanna won't let me go until April 3. So that means I will get another bill of $280.00 minimum, since they can not tell me what they are going to charge me. This is so outrageous, I can not afford this, this is gouging!!!! I have gone to consumer review and there are 77 angry complaints against them. Quite a few from this very month of Michigan users that have received the same kind of bill.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 7/5/2011.     Service Start Date: 8/4/2011.
 
SES attempted to contact ***** L. ******** to go over her complaint but the phone number provided (************) and the phone number listed in SES system are disconnected.
The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 7/5/2011 and started the program on 8/4/2011. Ms. ********’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $0.57 cents per CCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 5/31/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 4/3/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Because we were unable to speak with Ms. ********, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her, asking her to contact me directly if she has any further questions. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** ***      **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:
SES did not offer me any solution. one of the many times I called them I left my number with a manager ****. Also left my cell number with the many  operators that I spoke with. I am asking them to  lower my rate  but it's clear they have no concern for the 
Regards,

***** ********

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
I am rejecting this response because:
SES did not offer me any solution. one of the many times I called them I left my number with a manager ****. Also left my cell number with the many operators that I spoke with. I am asking them to  lower my rate  but it's clear they have no concern for the 
Regards,

***** ********
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
On 3/17/2014, ***** ********, did call SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) to have her account canceled. Our CSR did offer her a new fixed rate of $0.57 per CCF for the next 12 months but she refused. Ms. ******** requested to have her service canceled. SES started the cancellation process on 3/17/14, the day of her initial call. The cancellation process was reviewed, including that Consumers Energy will normally switch the account back in one to two billing cycles. During this period, SES is required to deliver gas volumes to her account, as instructed by Consumers Energy. Therefore, she may see Santanna charges on her subsequent Consumers Energy bill(s) during that period. A Cancelation letter was mailed to her on 3/18/2014 confirming that her account with SES has been canceled. We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

***** ********

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

4/10/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up with Santanna Energy 4 years ago when they came to my door claiming to have better prices than Consumers Energy. I have used them for 4 years and never really compared my rates to Consumers until a got a $744 gas bill this month! Santanna raised their usage rate from 7.6 to 16.32 in one month. I called Consumers and their rate is 4.65. I called Santanna and the CSR and she explained about high gas usage etc. caused the rates to increase. I can understand a small increase but to more than double??? She said I should have received a letter from them explaining that the rates could fluctuate. I received no such letter. This is a terrible case of price gouging and I know a lot of other customers are in the same situation. Very frustrating! I cancelled my service with them immediately but am still on the hook for this huge bill that I can't afford.

Desired Settlement: I would like to see them hold their rate from the prior month and refund this excessive bill.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 12/12/11.     Service Start Date: 1/1/12.
 
SES spoke to ***** ******* on 3/18/14 and went over her complaint. Mr. ******* stated that he is not too happy with SES rates. He feels this is a scam. It was explained to Mr. ******* that when he enrolled into the SES program, he was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This enrollment was completed verbally on the phone, not with a door to door representative. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him 11/29/12 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Customer understood. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because:

I never received this letter!

A Continuation Notice was mailed to him 11/29/12 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract

Regards,

***** *******

Business Response: Customer’s Follow-up Concern submitted from BBB:
Complaint: *******
I am rejecting this response because:
I never received this letter!
A Continuation Notice was mailed to him 11/29/12 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract
Regards,
***** *******
 
 
Santanna’s Follow-up Response
Mr. *******’s Continuation Letter was mailed to him on November 29, 2012.  It was mailed to: 
 
***** *******
*** ****** *** ********* ****** ** *****
 
This is the address of record from the original TPV, also confirmed by Consumers Energy.  We have mailed a PDF copy of the original letter on April 3, 2014.  We again do apologize for any misunderstandings and inconvenience that may have resulted.
 
Please let me know if questions.
 

*** **** ********** ******* ******* ************ *** ***

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/7/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I enrolled with Santanna Energy several years ago to get a fixed gas price rate. I received letter to renew for 2014 in October of 2013. I enrolled on line on December 9, 2013 and received a confirmation number *********** and contract version is 437. When I called to discuss, I was told by the Rep that they would send to their upper management to review. I faxed them the confirmation that I received. When I called today and talked to the rep I was told "There is nothing we can do for you. We do not generate credits." They spoke with manager and again said there was nothing that could be done. She treated me very disrespectfully and did not listen to what I had to say. I finally spoke to a manager and they were just as rude and said they researched it and nothing could be done. I should not have renewed on line. The order was denied INTERNALLY between them and Consumers as I was already a customer. I did not receive anything so assumed my confirmation was good and I would receive fixed rate of $5.59 per McF. I was enrolled in the Market plan which is triple this. My bill just received with electric was over $500. I wanted to receive a credit going back to Jan for difference in the rates, but was told no. How can I be penalized when their web site does not clearly state enrolling on line is for NEW customers only? I would never never recommend this company to anyone. I have to think I am not the only one who has run into this scenario. I see a lot of complaints against this company especially for March bill going from fixed to Market price. 83% of the website I looked at had negative experiences exactly like what I am describing. No help from Santanna and they don't even want to help you understand situation. Just "NOTHING WE CAN DO."

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund for difference in fixed rate vs market rate going back to beginning of 2014.

Business Response: Customer: ****** ** ***********
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/21/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
I enrolled with Santanna Energy several years ago to get a fixed gas price rate. I received letter to renew for 2014 in October of 2013. I enrolled on line on December 9, 2013 and received a confirmation number *********** and contract version is 437. When I called to discuss, I was told by the Rep that they would send to their upper management to review. I faxed them the confirmation that I received. When I called today and talked to the rep I was told "There is nothing we can do for you. We do not generate credits." They spoke with manager and again said there was nothing that could be done. She treated me very disrespectfully and did not listen to what I had to say. I finally spoke to a manager and they were just as rude and said they researched it and nothing could be done. I should not have renewed on line. The order was denied INTERNALLY between them and Consumers as I was already a customer. I did not receive anything so assumed my confirmation was good and I would receive fixed rate of $5.59 per McF. I was enrolled in the Market plan which is triple this. My bill just received with electric was over $500. I wanted to receive a credit going back to Jan for difference in the rates, but was told no. How can I be penalized when their web site does not clearly state enrolling on line is for NEW customers only? I would never never recommend this company to anyone. I have to think I am not the only one who has run into this scenario. I see a lot of complaints against this company especially for March bill going from fixed to Market price. 83% of the website I looked at had negative experiences exactly like what I am describing. No help from Santanna and they don't even want to help you understand situation. Just "NOTHING WE CAN DO."
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 12/9/2011.     Service Start Date: 1/2/2012.
 
SES attempted to contact ****** ** *********** to review her complaint several times. However, we were only able to leave messages and no calls have been returned.
 
The customer originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 12/9/2011 and started the program on 1/2/2011. M** ***********’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/29/2012 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. On 12/7/2012, M** ***********, did call SES Customer Service and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) regarding her Continuation Notice. Our CSR offered M** *********** a new fixed rate of $4.95 per MCF for the next 12 months. Customer accepted and a verbal recording was done. The program terms and conditions were thoroughly explained. On 10/7/2013, a second Continuation Notice was mailed to her informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service Department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/30/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologizes for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** ***      **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/3/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santanna Energy has been very deceitful in their business practice. I was promised a rate for their service, and was charged much higher than the rate I was promised. They claim to have sent a letter regarding the price hike, but I never received any letter from Santanna Energy informing me of the price hike. I am read online and many, many other customers are currently experiencing the same issue regarding this unethical natural gas provider.

Desired Settlement: The desired outcome is for Santanna Energy to reimburse all the customers, including myself, that they unethically treated and lied to. I spoke to a customer service representative from their firm and cancelled my service immediately upon hearing of so many other fraudulent, uninformed price hikes.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 9/26/2011.     Service Start Date: 11/2/2011.
 
SES spoke to **** ****** on 3/27/2014 and went over his complaint. Mr. ****** stated that he feels like he misunderstood the contract and he was not aware that it would continue on a market price. It was explained to Mr. ****** that when he enrolled into the program with SES, he was on a fixed rate of $0.57 cent per CCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when he verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 8/29/2012 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless he contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract.  Customer understood. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/4/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** ***      **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/3/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I was contacted by this company many years ago about saving money on my natural gas bills. There had been quite a bit of scandal surrounding these companies but after research and promises I signed up with them. They have delivered on their promises faithfully until March 2014. That is when they started to slowly rise their prices and them slam me with a more than doubled price in one month. February price was $7.69 and March jumped to $16.32. However, their promise was to make it more affordable than being with Consumers Energy. Before I called Santanna, I had spoken with Consumers and they told me they would have charged $4.99. When I called Santanna, they simply said it was a brutal winter and we had to pay the price. The whole nightmare has me shaken beyond words.

Desired Settlement: I feel they took advandtage of Mother Nature as an excuse to raise their costs. This was not their original promise and because they broke that promise, I feel they should refund some, not all, so that I can afford to pay a bill I should never have gotten in the first place. They promised variable rate would never be more than 20-25% above fixed. That was not true in this case. I believe I deserve help with this. What has me even more distressed is I had recommended them to a friend and now I can't face them over this.

Business Response: Customer: ******* ****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/2414

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
I was contacted by this company many years ago about saving money on my natural gas bills. There had been quite a bit of scandal surrounding these companies but after research and promises I signed up with them. They have delivered on their promises faithfully until March 2014. That is when they started to slowly raise their prices and them slam me with a more than doubled price in one month. February price was $7.69 and March jumped to $16.32. However, their promise was to make it more affordable than being with Consumers Energy. Before I called Santanna, I had spoken with Consumers and they told me they would have charged $4.99. When I called Santanna, they simply said it was a brutal winter and we had to pay the price. The whole nightmare has me shaken beyond words.
 
Desired Settlement:                      
I feel they took advantage of Mother Nature as an excuse to raise their costs. This was not their original promise and because they broke that promise, I feel they should refund some, not all, so that I can afford to pay a bill I should never have gotten in the first place. They promised variable rate would never be more than 20-25% above fixed. That was not true in this case. I believe I deserve help with this. What has me even more distressed is I had recommended them to a friend and now I can't face them over this.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 5/11/2010.     Service Start Date: 5/29/2010.
 
SES spoke to ******* **** on 4/1/2014 and went over her complaint. Ms. **** stated that she feels horrible for even signing up. She stated that SES is taking advantage of the price. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $6.50 per MCF, from her start date through her March 2011 billing cycle. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 1/25/2011 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Customer understood. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** ***      **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is the only answer I will ever be given. I appreciate your effort and they did call and apologize but they are like most corporations operating on profits.  They even admitted that the last time they contacted me in any form was in 2011.  At that time I believed them about how everyone had to purchase the gas and they would be more aggressive and competitive in cost than Consumers Energy would be.  Then when they got caught shorthanded, they told me that Consumers Energy had gas stored whereas they had to pay for theirs and pass it on to the consumer.  I would not feel so cheated if they had been fair with the whole picture of determining prices.  Had the difference only been a couple of dollars it would have been acceptable but to hear that Consumers Energy would have charged $4.99 and SES charged a little over $16 has not only affected me financially but shaken my faith in who to trust.  I do understand this winter was the worse we have had in many years and the company had performed well for years.  It is a shame to erase that in the blink of an eye.
 
Regards,

******* ****

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

3/31/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: The usuage on my gas bill in february was4.4 and the usage in march was 3.7 but my bill doubled in march. The ccf went from.495 to1.208. I called santanna and they said i was locked into the .495 for 6 months to a year. The lady also told me they sent a letter and she said i probably didnt get it with the mail getting messed up. So that tells me a letter was never sent! The lady also told me their was nothing they can do. I asked to talk to a manager. She then started yelling at me and she wouldnt let me talk to one. I cant believe they can get away with ripping people off they need to be shut down!!! They also told me it takes 1 to 2 billing cycles to get their name off my bill.

Desired Settlement: I would like them to back date the .49 ccf for my current bill and my next bill.

Business Response: Customer: ******* *****
 
Customer Concern Received from BBB: 3/21/14

Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
The usuage on my gas bill in february was4.4 and the usage in march was 3.7 but my bill doubled in march. The ccf went from.495 to1.208. I called santanna and they said i was locked into the .495 for 6 months to a year. The lady also told me they sent a letter and she said i probably didn’t get it with the mail getting messed up. So that tells me a letter was never sent! The lady also told me there was nothing they can do. I asked to talk to a manager. She then started yelling at me and she wouldn’t let me talk to one. I can’t believe they can get away with ripping people off they need to be shut down!!! They also told me it takes 1 to 2 billing cycles to get their name off my bill.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 1/11/2013.     Service Start Date: 2/12/2013.
 
SES spoke to ******* ***** on 3/29/14 and went over her complaint. Ms. ***** stated that she filed the complaint because when she received her bill she was shocked. She stated that she used less gas but it was still doubled. It was explained to her that when she enrolled into the program with SES, she was on a fixed rate of $4.95 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 12/10/2013 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service department to initiate another fixed price contract. Due to the severe weather conditions, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. Customer understood. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 4/11/2014, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her. Ms. ***** thanked me for following up with her complaint.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ****** ******* ************ *** ***      **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

******* *****

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

3/31/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Last august I signed up with Santanna Energy Services when their salesperson quoted a rate that beat my present carrier. Our conversation reiterated the fact that the rate was locked in for the duration of the agreed to term. I have used various energy providers in the past and have never needed to check my monthly bills for problems. After talking to the salesman I was asked by the salesman if I would talk to the company varifier to make sure everything was explained thoroughly. And I said it was. This winter our gas bills have been higher then normal but we've had an extremely cold winter so the slight increase didn't bother me. But, my February bill came and it was 69.05 dollars more then my January bill with only a .1 increase in usage.{from 5.6 to 5.7 per day}. When I got this it raised some concern so I checked Santanna's charge. It was 1.208 per ccf. The agreed to amount was .46 per CCF. The gas companies rate is .49 Per CCF. I called DTE Energy and they told me that they had no jurisdiction over Santanna's rate and that they were charging an exorbitant amount. I called Santanna and they told me I had signed a contract that said I would pay the going market price. This statement is ludicrous because of our changing energy nature. After talking to Santanna I immediately called IGF Energy and locked in at .49, but they can't take over until after the end of this billing period. I'm sorry but Sanatanna Energy is not doing business in a manner condusive to the business practices of reputable businesses. When talking to Santanna I was told that they had an audio tape of our conversation but when I asked to hear it all I heard was static and then they turned it off with an apology for not being able to produce it. If this is how they do their normal business then the American public is being taken to the cleaners. I'm 67 years old and have never had to call a business because of their practices but this takes the cake. Thank you

Desired Settlement: If they are not willing to make an adjustment or even admit an error on their salesman's part then what can be done to protect the American consumer. I guess my desired outcome would be that no one else would have to go through this ordeal.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 8/13/13.     Service Start Date: 8/30/13.
 
SES spoke to ******* ****** ***** on 3/19/14 and went over his complaint. Mr. ***** stated that when he enrolled with SES they quoted him a rate and he believed it was a fixed price. It was explained to Mr. ***** that when he enrolled into the program with SES, he enrolled on Santanna’s Market Price program. The gas price varies month to month. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the NYMEX market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when he verbally enrolled over the phone. SES offered to re-play the TPV but he refused. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 5/2/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him. His phone number has been added to our Do Not Call list.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ****** ******* ********* **** ******
******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/31/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santanna came to our door promising to save us money on our gas bill over Consumers Energy rates. We signed up with them because of the promised savings. The bill we received this month was outrageous - far higher than any in the 8 years we've owned this condo. A quick call to Consumers revealed that Santanna charged us approximately four times what Consumers would charge. A call placed to Santanna did nothing to resolve this billing issue. The best they offered was to lock us in to a fixed rate (which was STILL higher than Consumers) that would begin with the next billing cycle. They refused to amend the ridiculous charges. As a result we canceled our service with them and were informed the cancellation could take a couple of billing cycles to complete, so we could be facing more months being outrageously overcharged. This incident caused us to research any savings since we switched to Santanna - our bill has in fact been higher every month that we've been with Santanna. This month they just happened to raise it high enough that we took notice. This is unacceptable and in complete opposition to what we were promised when we signed up with Santanna.

Desired Settlement: We would like to settle the bill covering 2/*/14 - 3/*/14 at the rate Consumers is charging for that time frame (since we were promised Santannas would be LESS) and end our relationship with Santanna IMMEDIATELY, not within a few billing cycles.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Door to Door Marketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
SES attempted to contact **** ******* to review his complaint several times. However, we were only able to leave messages and no calls have been returned.
 
****** ********* (account holder) originally elected enrollment into the SES program on 1/**/13 and started the program on 1/**/13. Please be assured that SES does not approve of any DSR swaying from the script and absolutely does not tolerate any DSR that blatantly fabricates information about our program. Ms. ********* enrolled on Santanna’s Market Price program. The gas price varies month to month. The Market Price is based upon many factors, including the ***** market plus adders for Santanna delivery costs and program costs. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when ****** ********* (account holder) verbally enrolled over the phone. Due to the severe weather condition, the demand for gas is high, which has impacted the market price of natural gas. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or 3/**/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Because we were unable to speak with Mr. *******, a copy of this reply will be mailed to him, asking him to contact me directly if he has any further questions. We apologize for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/28/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues
3/28/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: After noticing an elevated DTE bill, I contacted DTE & learned that I've been paying additional fees to Santanna Energy since 2012. My husband & I never authorized a change in our bill. I contacted Santanna for further clarification & to cancel service. In addition to receiving rude & unacceptable service, I was given the opportunity to listen to the recording (of the initial phone call that supposedly took place). The playback that I heard was not the voice of my husband or myself. I am unable to identify the voice on the recording & no one else lives in our house or is authorized to make any changes in our services. I was told by a Santanna Supervisor that they can make the switch without verifying who they are speaking to. They are refusing to reimburse me & told me that it can take up to 2 billing cycles to stop charging me. I was encouraged by the cocky supervisor to contact BBB & my attorney as I see fit.

Desired Settlement: I understand that I should have caught this error a while ago, but because of electronic bills & payments, I missed it. I am not expecting a full refund fro the 2 years, however, I do expect some type of refund or bill credits because I NEVER asked or authorized to sign up with them.

Business Response: Customer Concern submitted from BBB:
After noticing an elevated DTE bill, I contacted DTE & learned that I've been paying additional fees to Santanna Energy since 2012. My husband & I never authorized a change in our bill. I contacted Santanna for further clarification & to cancel service. In addition to receiving rude & unacceptable service, I was given the opportunity to listen to the recording (of the initial phone call that supposedly took place). The playback that I heard was not the voice of my husband or myself. I am unable to identify the voice on the recording & no one else lives in our house or is authorized to make any changes in our services. I was told by a Santanna Supervisor that they can make the switch without verifying who they are speaking to. They are refusing to reimburse me & told me that it can take up to 2 billing cycles to stop charging me. I was encouraged by the cocky supervisor to contact BBB & my attorney as I see fit.
 
Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 1/**/12.     Service Start Date: 2/**/12.
 
SES spoke to Mrs. *** ******* on 3/**/14 and went over her complaint. Mrs. ******* stated that when enrolling the account SES should have verified the account with a social security number or date of birth because the person who enrolled the account was not authorized. It was explained to her that the TPV was reviewed and it demonstrates that *** ******* did indeed elect the program with SES as the gas provider. It is note worthy that the TPV representative states “Please state and spell the name on the account exactly as it appears on the ******* gas bill”. Customer does state and spell *** *******. He is then asked, “Is this your name on the account?” He confirmed “Yes”. It was explained to her when she enrolled into the program with SES the account was on a fixed rate of $0.459 per CCF for twelve months, after the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continues on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 11/**/12 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless she contacted our CS department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account was final on 3/**/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Her phone number has been added to our Do Not Call List. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ************ *** ***     
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: *********************
******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/25/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: In the fall of 2011, I was contacted by telephone by a representative from Santanna Energy Services, asking me to change my residential gas service to them instead of my local provider. They asked me for information about my local provider and asked for my POD number so that they could give me an estimate of how much I would save by switching my service to Santanna. After they gave me information, I said that I was not willing to change my service, but if they sent me information I would review it. I did not realize that at the time of the call, they in fact switched my service to Santanna. My bill continued to come from my local gas provider, so I did not discover that my service had been switched. In March 2014, I received a bill that was more than double my usual amount. Upon further investigation, I found out that all Santanna needed to switch my service was my address and POD number. They did not receive written or verbal authorization from me. My service had been switched to a fixed rate for one year, and then when to a market rate on November 1, 2012. The Santanna representative claims they sent me a letter in September 2012 to let me know that my rate was changing, but I never received such a letter. Upon hearing all of this, I cancelled my contract with Santanna immediately. However, my service will not switch until the completion of another billing cycle. This means that I will be paying their "market rate" of 16.32 per unit rather than the 5.4 per unit that I would be paying with my local company.

Desired Settlement: Santanna refused to adjust my bill for March or April 2014. My local company, Consumers Energy, was also unable to make any adjustments. I will pay a lot of money for this, but I am concerned about the many others that may have their gas supplier switched without their knowledge.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 10/15/11.     Service Start Date: 10/30/11.
 
SES spoke to **** ***** ******** on 3/10/14 and went over her complaint. Ms. ******** stated that she is upset because her gas bill doubled. She said when she spoke to a SES representative did not know she was being enrolled with SES, she thought she was getting a quote. It was explained to her that the TPV was reviewed and it demonstrates that she did indeed elect the program with SES as the gas provider (attached is the TPV). It is noteworthy that the TPV representative verifies that she has voluntary enrolled with Santanna Energy Services and it was acknowledged. Customer understood. Ms. *********’s initial contract was for a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 9/27/12 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless she contacted our CS department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. Her phone number has been added to our Do Not Call list. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
***** ********** ****** ******* ********* **** ******

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/25/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: I received my Gas bill this week and Santanna gas is four times the cost of gas from Consumer Energy. Price guaging at 16.32 a MCF when Consumer Energy is only at 4.70. This is unfair on the public to raise the price in the coldest winter on record in Michigan. I thought Gas of Choice was to help the consumer, Santanna really failed in helping everyone in Michigan. I would like them investaged to unfair business practices and pricing.

Desired Settlement: I want my bill reduce I used 58.7 at 16.32 for a total cost of $1,190.92, when my normal bill is $100-$400.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 11/16/11.     Service Start Date: 12/3/11.
 
SES spoke to ******** ****** ****** on 3/10/14 and went over her complaint. Ms. ****** stated that she didn’t understand how SES could raise her price when her utility company is at 4.70. It was explained to Ms. ******  that when she first enrolled into the SES program, she was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. This is stated in the verification (TPV) when she verbally enrolled over the phone. A Continuation Notice was mailed to her on 10/29/12 informing her that her current fixed price would be ending soon and her account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless she contacted our Customer Service Department to initiate another fixed price contract. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused her.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,****** ******
******* ********* **** ******

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** *********************
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/21/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Santanna Energy service raised their rates from $5.49 the previous month to $16.32 per cubic foot of gas this month, a rise of over 300%. This is in comparison to Consumers Energy which charges $4.70. The company first claimed that they were $1. under Consumers, but failed to maintain this rate throughout the year we used their service. Their sales pitch was misleading and dishonest. They also failed to warn us that their rates were going to rise so considerably. We have since cancelled the service, but it is going to take two billing cycles before the cancellation is complete whereas we were able signup for the service verbally over the phone.

Desired Settlement: We doubt we will receive a refund, but we would like other consumers to be aware of this company's business practices and to not believe their claims.

Business Response: Consumer Protection Initiatives & Sales Channel Controls for Telemarketers:
Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for prospective customers built into our sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. SES also conducts live monitoring of the TSR’s on a random basis to insure compliance. Additionally, an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized for all sales to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and that the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV representative uses a script prepared by SES and the verification is recorded. SES Quality Assurance monitors TPV verifications daily to confirm adherence to the script and SES guidelines. SES also updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day, in order to protect prospective customers from unwanted communications.
 
Post-Sale Customer Communication:
After the TPV verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides the customer a toll-free 24-hour cancellation telephone hot line.  The letter also advises the customer that they have 30 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Customer Concern Investigation:
Original Enrollment Date: 2/20/12.     Service Start Date: 3/2/12.
 
SES spoke to ****** ** ***** on 3/19/14 and went over his complaint. Mr. ***** stated that SES was supposed to be a dollar lower than his utility company. It was explained to Mr. ***** when he enrolled into the program with SES, that he was on a fixed rate of $5.90 per MCF for twelve months. After the initial term, the agreement with Santanna automatically continued on a month to month basis. A Continuation Notice was mailed to him on 1/28/13 informing him that his current fixed price would be ending soon and his account would continue with SES on our competitive market price, unless he contacted our CS department to initiate another fixed price contract. Due to the severe weather condition, the demand of gas is high, which has affected the of natural gas. Customer understood but was still upset. The account has since been canceled and there are no cancellation fees. The customer’s account will be final on or around 3/30/14, a date determined by the utility company, not SES. His phone number has been added to our Do Not Call List. SES apologized for any misunderstanding and inconvenience this might have caused him.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

******* ************ *** *** **** ***** ************ **** ************ ****** ********************* ******************************

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and find that this resolution is satisfactory to me.

Regards,

****** *****

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

8/24/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Two women knocked on my door claiming they were from **** Energy. They stated that they (****) had sent me a letter about them not providing service to my area any longer and we did not respond. They told me that **** had been trying to contact me to tell me that they can no longer provide service to the entire Fairfield (Ohio) area and that my electric and gas would be shut off soon and my account up for auction for other energy companies. They then told me that I needed to provide them with a bill so that they could switch my energy service to a group called Santanna Energy, so my power would not be cut off. I told them if they resent the letter or left a phone number I could get to it later (I was on my way out the door to take my son to a pediatrician appointment). They told me I needed to do it now and kept asking for my **** information. I told them I did not have the time now and they told me that if I didn't do it now, once **** put my account up for auction that I would be paying almost double what we pay now. My fiance who normally handles all of this, was at work. I told them again to leave me with a phone number. They said it would only take 2 minutes to switch our account. I finally gave in because it was obvious they were not going to let me leave my house. I pulled up my **** account on my phone and let them copy all the information from it. They then told me I needed to make a phone call while they waited. They told me to just answer "yes" to everything besides the residential or business question. I was on the phone with the woman for almost 10 minutes. I was late to my pediatrician appointment. I showed the paperwork to my fiance later that night and he called **** and found out it was all a lie. They still service our area. These people are scamming **** Energy customers to switch to their service and they actually charge more than ****! I canceled it in time, but I'm furious that they can take advantage of people like that. I was in a hurry out the door and they basically stood in my way and wouldn't let me leave until I gave them the information they needed. Borderline harassment. One of them came back to my town home today and knocked, knocked again, knocked harder, rang the doorbell several times, knocked again, rang the doorbell again, and then finally moved on to the next house. Ridiculous! Product_Or_Service: Energy Service

Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: Other (requires explanation) Stop these people from harassing people at their homes and telling lies about their business.

Business Response: The customer elected enrollment into the Santanna Energy Services (SES) program on 7/25/13 and never started on the program. Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The Door to Door sales representatives (DSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. The DSR are trained to clearly introduce themselves as representatives of SES. The DSR have to attend a daily mandatory meeting to go over the program details and to go through a uniform check. DSR’s wear picture ID badges with the SES name and logo and verbiage that states, “I am NOT a utility company employee”. Their uniforms consist of shirts, buttons, hat, and coats with the SES logo on them. The DSR hands out a business card when they meet the customer indicating they are from SES and not the utility company. In addition, DSR’s have a supervisor that randomly live monitors them in the field to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines.
 
After the verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and furnishes the customer a toll free 24 hour cancellation hot line number and advises them that they have 7 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
SES attempted to contact ******** **** ********* to go over her complaint but was only able to leave messages. No calls were returned. Please be assured that SES does not approve of any DSR swaying from the script and absolutely does not tolerate any DSR that blatantly fabricates information about our program. SES followed up with the DSR site supervisor for quality control. The site supervisor spoke with the DSR (***** *****) in question and she explained that the lady was in a hurry but informed her that it should only take a couple of minutes to review her bill and then sign her up if she could help with her bill. Ms. ********* explained she did everything online and pulled the account information up on her phone for them to review. The DSR stated she never said anything about her services being terminated. The DSR supervisor has informed all the agents to be very specific in what they are stating when telling the consumer about the status of their bill and that the words they use can be taken sometimes out of context by the way they are stated. The agents will role play the greet and informing sessions in the next morning meeting. It has also been stressed to all the agents that in no way are they to be forceful. SES apologizes for any inconvenience this might have caused her. The account was canceled prior to starting with SES and there are no cancellation fees. Since SES was unable to speak with Ms. ********* and go over her complaint, a copy of this reply will be mailed to her and asked to contact me if she has any questions. Her phone number was added to our Do Not Call List and her location to our Do Not Knock List.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
****** ******
Quality Assurance Team Leader

Direct: ###-###-####
Toll Free: ###-###-####
FAX: ###-###-####
EMAIL: ******@ses4energy.com
www.SantannaEnergyServices.com

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

8/8/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: Repeated harassing phone calls to purchase their product. They are attempting to bully me to purchase natural gas from them instead of my current ******** ***. Claimed I had to choose their service due to ******** *** not providing it any longer. After speaking to my ******** *** representative, I knew it was a scam.

Business Response: Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives (TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. In addition, SES randomly live monitors the TSR’s to insure compliance. Then an independent Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and the SES guidelines. To protect prospective customers form unwanted communications, SES updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every other day.
 
After the verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and furnishes the customer a toll free 24 hour cancellation hot line number and advises them that they have 7 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.
 
After an extensive search SES records show that Ms. ******* phone number was called twice by an SES marketer. The first call was marked as a Call Back. Second call was also marked as a Call back, but has been added to SES to Do Not call list. Please be assured that SES does not approve of any TSR swaying from the script and absolutely does not tolerate any TSR that blatantly fabricates information about our program. The TSR (***** ********) in this matter has done a fine job in the past but was pulled off the program and retrained. However, if any other inquiries occur towards this TSR proper action will be taken. SES apologizes for any inconveniences this may have caused her. Since Ms. ******* does not wish to be contacted by SES, a copy of this reply will be mail to her.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Thank you,
****** ******
******* ********* **** ******

Direct: ************ *** ***
Toll Free: ************
FAX: ************
EMAIL: *********************
******************************

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

6/20/2013 Problems with Product/Service
5/28/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint: The primary nature of my complaint is not listed above. Santanna Energy Services called me at my home phone number to sell energy services. I inquired how my phone number was obtained since I am on the federal do not call list, and have been ever since the list first debuted. I also pointed out that of the 143 energy plans they sell in Illinois, none of them have saved residents any money on their tax bill, and in fact have cost consumers on average, over $500. (Source: http://www.citizensutilityboard.org/ags33.php). I spoke with customer service representatives who identified themselves as ***** ***** ***** *** ******** They would not give me their phone number. They said that they got my information from a data service. I inquired which one, and did not get an answer. They identified themselves as an offshore outbound call center subcontracted by Santanna Energy Services.

Desired Settlement: I want the data vendor who Santanna Energy Services authorized the offshore outbound call center to contact me to cease and desist circulating my private information, and for an analysis of their data to occur to determine if they remain in violation of federal DNC laws.

Business Response: Santanna Energy Services (SES) has multiple rigorous protections for the prospective
customer built into the SES sales program from the start to the finish of the
process. An unpleasant experience by a prospective customer results in an
unpleasant experience for all involved. The telemarketing sales representatives
(TSR) use a script prepared by SES that communicates the program details to the
customer and defines their wishes relative to participation. In addition, SES
randomly live monitors the TSR’s to insure compliance. Then an independent
Third Party Verification company (TPV) is utilized to verify that the terms and
conditions were explained to the customer and the customer is electing the
program with SES. The TPV rep uses a script prepared by SES, is recorded, and
the verifications are monitored daily to confirm adherence to the script and
the SES guidelines. To protect prospective customers form unwanted
communications, SES updates its “Do Not Call” list with the telemarketers every
other day.

After the verification, a new customer receives a welcome letter from SES, which
repeats the terms and conditions of the agreement, and furnishes the customer a
toll free 24 hour cancellation hot line number and advises them that they have
7 days from the time of verification before enrollment is initiated with the
utility, should a customer change their mind thereafter.

 

On
5/7/013 SES spoke with Ms* **** and went over her complaint. Ms* **** provided her
home phone number ************* SES explained that most of our telemarketers purchase
phone numbers from a broker. All SES telemarketers must scrub all their leads against
the National Do Not call registry prior to making calls. SES explained that we would
do a search on her home phone number that she provided. SES records show that both
phone numbers that she provided were not called by any of SES telemarketers. On
5/10/13 SES attempted to review the complaint with *** ***** she stated that
she was on a dead line, asked to be called next week and ended the call. SES
apologizes for any inconvenience this might have caused her. Her phone numbers have
been added to our Do Not call list. Since SES was unable to review the
complaint with Ms* **** SES will call her next week to review the complaint. A
copy of this reply will also be emailed to her and asked to contact me if she
has any further questions.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


****** ******

Compliance Coordinator



Direct:
***-789-6022 ext ***

Toll Free: 800-764-4427

FAX: 866-531-3951

EMAIL: *****************.com

www.SantannaEnergyServices.com



Premium Service and Competitive Prices

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/26/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Complaint Details Unavailable
3/18/2013 Billing/Collection Issues
3/15/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues
3/7/2013 Problems with Product/Service
1/1/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues
12/10/2012 Advertising/Sales Issues
11/19/2012 Advertising/Sales Issues
10/23/2012 Advertising/Sales Issues
10/6/2012 Problems with Product/Service
3/13/2012 Advertising/Sales Issues
1/23/2012 Advertising/Sales Issues
9/26/2011 Advertising/Sales Issues