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Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of No Rating. The reason is as follows:

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  • 790 Windmiller Dr Ste A

    Pickerington, OH 43147

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Complaint Detail(s)

6/12/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I never signed up for Volunteer Energy. Never even knew the company was not Michigan Gas Utilities. When I called on my bill, because it was much higher than it should have been Michigan Gas said I was signed up with Volunteer Energy and needed to talk to them. I never signed up for anything different than Michigan Gas. With Volunteer Energy being named on my statement I thought that company was part of Michigan Gas. I didn't sign any paperwork or get any information that I did sign up with Volunteer Energy. I believe they owe me a refund for the high amount they charged in December 2013 and January and February of 2014. I canceled as soon as Michigan Gas told be about the company, however I never signed up with them to begin with. I called 800-977-8374 on 3-3-14 talked to Janice. She took forever to call back and only when I called her again to complain that she called back and said I signed up online, which can't be true when I never heard of Volunteer Energy how would I know to sign up with a company I never heard of. I'm trying to get a refund over the amount I paid with having Volunteer Energy instead of Michigan Gas. Thanks for your help in this matter.

Desired Settlement: I believe I paid about $250.00 to much for gas and would like that as a refund to me. Thanks

Business Response:

In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 5, 2014. The customer enrolled through Volunteer Energy's website.  The email address that was used was ********************  When customer signed up in 2011, customer would have been sent a confirmation email. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. 
 

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.

6/11/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I was contacted by a telemarketer on various instances trying to enroll me in the CHOICE program for Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. After approximately 15 calls from the same company, I decided to hear them out. They told me that they were from a company called Volunteer Energy Services that could lower my gas utility bill by becoming the supplier for my utility services from Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania. According to the representative, the per therm charge for Volunteer Energy Services had historically been significantly cheaper than Columbia Gas' charge, which included the current month in which they said it was cheaper than Columbia Gas. They also told me they offered a program that guaranteed that what I was charged was less than the rate of Columbia Gas by monitoring Columbia Gas's charge and taking off a small percentage on the price, of which I agreed to. This was probably around June of last year when I was signed up for the CHOICE program of Columbia Gas, so my natural gas was now being supplied by Volunteer Energy Services. Throughout the summer, I did not pay any attention to the bills because we were using very little natural gas and the bills appeared to be roughly equivalent to what it had been. During the winter, the costs began to go up a little compared to the previous year, but I assumed it was due to the bitterly cold winter. In March, however, we received a gas bill of $527.85 (almost $200 more than we ever had), which sparked me to do a little more research into the problem. When looking at the bill, the per therm charge was significantly higher than what Columbia Gas' comparable rate was, $.869 per therm (Volunteer Energy) compared to $.4861 per therm (Columbia Gas). Before paying that bill, I contacted Volunteer Energy Services to inquire about the original advertised cost. I told them I wanted to be credited on my bills for the difference between the charge of Volunteer Energy Service and Columbia Gas ( at this point, I didn't care about having a better price, I just wanted to be done with it and move on) because this is what I was advertised when I enrolled in the program. This call took place in the beginning of April (the 7th, I think). I spoke with a gentleman that said there was nothing he could personally do, but he would forward my information and my complaint on to someone that could help me and I should expect a call in the next week or so. I also asked that I be canceled out of the Volunteer Energy Services program, and he said he would do so. He told me that though Volunteer Energy Services hired the telemarketers to call people within the utility companies service range, he could not vouch for what was said by the telemarketers. He also said that they had received multiple complaints from people in the same situation I am in due to the claims made by the telemarketers. A few days later, I called Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania to see if there was anything I could do in regards to my problem with Volunteer Energy Services. She said that I must pay the bill otherwise I would face the utility being shut off. She also told me that despite what I had been told by the representative at Volunteer Energy, my services with them had not been cancelled, so I had Columbia Gas cancel my Volunteer Energy service. Additionally, during the conversation with Columbia Gas, I found that I had been charged a higher rate from the start of my time in the CHOICE program. Even when I initially signed up for the program (which I was told Volunteer Energy's price was cheaper), my charge with Volunteer Energy Services exceeded that of Columbia Gas. So, I paid the bill and waited to hear about a resolution from Volunteer Energy Services. About 3 weeks later, I had not received a response from Volunteer Energy Services. I called the company on May 1st and spoke with a woman who told me that there was no record of any request being put through following my previous call. She stated that she would request the transcript from my original call when I signed up, and that I should receive it in about a week due to her putting the order on "rush" (it normally takes about 2 weeks). I mentioned that I would prefer to handle this between Volunteer Energy Services and myself without a need for a third party, such as the BBB or Pennsylvania Energy Commission, so I finished the conversation frustrated with a lack of resolution but hopeful that something could be figured out once I received the transcript. Finally, I called again today, May 19th,, and spoke with "***l" who said that they had not received the transcript of my call with the telemarketer yet, though the request had been put through. He spoke with the agent that deals with Pennsylvania services, and again put the information on rush, but it may take up to 2 weeks to receive it. I mentioned that this is exactly what was told to me last time, but he said that there wasn't anything else they could do. Again, frustrated, I decided to get a third party involved.

Desired Settlement: Ultimately, I just want to be credited to my account (at this point it would be a refund because I canceled my service with them, though a credit to Columbia Gas would be fine) the difference between what Volunteer Energy Services was charging and what Columbia Gas was charging over the duration of my time with the CHOICE program. Even though I was told I would be paying less with Volunteer Energy Services, I would rather just get the money back as if I had never enrolled with Volunteer Energy Services, and move on. Additionally, I want the BBB to be aware of this problem so that other customers are not scammed the way I have been.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on May 8, 2014.  The customer was emailed the TPV authorizing enrollment.  However, the TPV was not clear as to the variable rate plan.  Customer will be receiving a refund for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer's LDC rate for the time period.

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






















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

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

Complaint: Consumer states:

" Volunteer Energy was my gas supplier in my DTE bill.  My contract was up March 20th, 2014.  The billing for March bill was .699 ccf. I recently received a bill:  have called D.T.E.  with the cost being 1.399 ccf and told volunteer energy just redid my contract with them. I did not renew a contract with Volunteer Energy.  I have went on line: cancelled services with them, also put in a complaint to them on line as I have called & do not get to speak with someone.  I do believe I was locked in at .4999 ccf on contract."

Desired Settlement: Consumer states:

" End the contract that was signed until March 2014. Reimburse for price, as DTE energy supplied gas at .482 ccf to Michigan customers.  Give me credit for anything over my lock in price of .499 ccf."

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 31, 2014. Customer was on a monthly variable rate plan.  Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. 

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

5/27/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed an agreement with Volunteer energy services to be my gas supplier. They had promised me a locked in low rate. Last month the "CFs" went up to $1.39/cf. My monthly bill last month was 504 dollars. There was no notice-it just showed up on my bill. I tried calling Volunteer Energy and was connected with a VERY rude representative who had hung up on me. This is not professional. I would like a refund for the money that was wrongfully taken from me. The customer service was absolutely unfriendly, unprofessional, and uncooperative. I am on disability, I cannot afford 504/month. Volunteer Energy does not keep their promises and are not trustworthy, I am going back to DTE energy who is much more reliable and much more efficient. There are no surprises with them. I am going to warn everyone I know to not use or trust volunteer energy.

Desired Settlement: I want $400 in cash or check form (I should be at a locked in rate anywhere from $95/month to $105/month). I want a written apology for volunteer energy lying to me. I want a written apology for the poor customer service experience that I had. I want my contract cancelled with no penalties-since I've kept my end of the bargin, and volunteer energy has not. Lastly I want to hear back from someone as soon as possible. I want to know that I am heard.

Business Response: In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on May 7, 2014.  Volunteer Energy has spoken to this customer and this matter has been resolved. 

Business Response: In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on May 7, 2014.  Volunteer Energy has spoken to this customer and this matter has been resolved. 

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

5/27/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: We currently have DTE Engery. Volunteer Engery claims we signed a contract with them. i contacted Volunteer asking for a copy of the contract and its been 2 weeks they have not provide me with a copy of the contract. i don't recall signing an contract with them. Volunteer changed my service without my authorization. I have cancelled there service conf# ******. I want copy of the contract

Desired Settlement: I want them to refund for the charges for the last 3months. DTE cost is 84 and Volunteer has been charging me 1.39. I want this refund ASAP

Business Response: In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 14, 2014.  The proof of enrollment is attached.  Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. 

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

5/16/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: * ***** ***** ******
***** ***** ** *****

April 15, 2014

Volunteer Energy
790 Windmiller Drive
Pickering OH 43147

When I was contacted by Volunteer Energy in September 2010, I was promised that I would save ten to fifteen percent on my monthly gas bill as opposed to staying with Michigan Gas Utilities Company.

My current bill is the largest gas bill that I have ever had. On April 7, I called Michigan Gas Utilities to compare what their charges would have been for the same billing period. Volunteer Energy charged me $225.00, while Michigan Gas Utilities would have charged me $116.00. Volunteer Energy's current rate is $1.599 per CCF while Michigan Gas Utilities' rate is $0.43 per CCF. Naturally, I cancelled service with Volunteer Energy.

I am a senior citizen on a limited income, and I can't afford this type of gouging. I wish it were possible to go through my gas bills from September 2010 and compare them to Michigan Gas Utilities rates. 

Volunteer Energy should be held accountable for misleading consumers by promising that they will save ten to fifteen percent when they will actually pay more.

Sincerely, 

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

Copies to:   Michigan Public Service Commission
 State Representative Amanda Price
 Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan

Desired Settlement: Volunteer Energy should be held accountable for misleading consumers by promising that they will save ten to fifteen percent when they will actually pay more.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on April 8, 2014. The TPV recording authorizing enrollment is attached. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable. Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know. Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint. 

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

5/16/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: We received our bill of DTE Energy and out bill was 622.06. I called DTE to and they informed me we signed a contract with Volunteer Energy service at 800 977 8374. However, we have NOT signed any contract with anyone. It's been 1 week that i have requested a copy of the contract from Volunteer and still have not received it. I have asked them to also cancel my contract and received conf# ******. DTE only charges 80 cent while Volunteer charged me 1.39. I went to see the contract and want my service back to DTE

Desired Settlement: I want a refund. I also want them to cancel my services with them ASAP like i have requested. they also need to STOP scamming people for there service and charging them almost triple the cost.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 14, 2014. The proof of enrollment is attached. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know.  Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:

This message concerns my complaint ID ******* submitted on 4/8/2014 against Volunteer Energy
Service Inc.

I haven't received any response from you indicating that your required further information from me.
However, this issue is NOT resolved. I have requested a copy of the signed contract from Volunteer and
it has been 2 months no contract has been sent to me.

I did not sign anything with this company. I think they have overcharged me. I have taken additional
precautions with DTE to protect my account from 3 party companies.

I would like them to forward me a copy of the contract and provide a refund for the charges in February
and March. I checked with DTE and there price was less than 1.19 charges. Volunteer has overcharged
customers. I would like refund ...

If you have any questions, please call me

****** *****
*** *** **** cell

Business Response: The proof of enrollment is attached.  The contract erroneously was not attached. 

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

5/14/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: We transferred gas services from Consumers to Volunteer Energy a few years ago because of lower cost on gas usage. Billing still comes thru Consumers however winter bills were unusually high - Jan $222.38/ Feb $231.42 and now March 366.58. Volunteer phone number on billing is 1-800-977-8374 (you only get a robot). My son found the Ann Arbor address on his computer. Evidently their contract allows a variable rate but they are exceeding whats fair. On the 2-27-14 bill, I used 19.8 Mcf at the cost of $7.69 per MCF = $152 but they charged $222 + (.00 sales tax = $231.42. I don't understand how they figure things - maybe a surcharge but $336.59 rediculous. I talked to ***** in Ann Arbor & cancelled our Service Contract.

Desired Settlement: Consumer did not specify desired settlement but appears to be seeking the assistance of BBB in getting an explanation for the recent increase for their gas service.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable. Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. 

Consumer Response: I don't think the matter was resolved to my satisfaction.  The Volunteer bills for January & February were appx $230/month which I thought were fair, but, in March the bill was $366/ which I thought was ludicrous.  The claimed higher gas price & construction costs.  The $366.58 was taken out of my checking account and I have cancelled my Volunteer account and returned to Consumer Power.  Volunteer will collect their last bill with the ($136.82) on April 28, 2014 before the transfer to Consumer.  I feel they owe me at least $100.00.

Sincerely,

*** ****

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.

5/13/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up for Volunteer energy and selected the plan that saved 5% off Consumers Energy rates. I received my gas bill in March and it was about $192.00. The listed per unit cost was 11.2. I called Consumers Energy and their price was 4.78 per the same unit.I called Volunteer energy to get it corrected and was told they switched my to their most expensive plan without my approval or notification and then raised the rates more than double. I demanded a refund of $100. They informed me I would receive a call back from a person with authority to handle my issue within 48 hours. That call was placed more than 10 days ago. I am disabled and live on a fixed income. That's why I picked this plan. This Winter was hard enough without VE playing these games with me. In a way this is a health issue for me as my medical demands require more money per year than my total disability income. When I get hammered by overcharges like this it takes money away from pain killers, insulin, and food.

Desired Settlement: I demand $100 refund. That's probably less than it should be but I will accept it.

Business Response: In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted on May 2, 2014. At the time this customer signed up, there was a 5% guaranteed savings being offered. The T&C that went with customer's enrollment did not have an expiration date on it. This T&C was only up on this site that the customer enrolled on for about a week before it was corrected. The customer enrolled during the time the incorrect T&C was on this site. Therefore, customer will be receiving a refund for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer’s LDC rate less 5% for the time period. 

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

5/9/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Consumer states:

"EXPLANATION:


In 2010, I, along with other acquaintances, received an offer from Volunteer Energy Service.  The gas price of MCF was a lower affordable than Consumers Energy rate at the time.   Therefore, we all made the switch together with the hope of lower gas prices in the future.
However, in December 2013 statement, I noticed a considerable rate increase.  And in only three months after that, I found the rates have increased even more... Almost three times the competitor's rate - WITHOUT NOTICE!
I've attempted to contact your company three times and spoke to three different representatives, none of which was able to assist me.  No one was willing to give me the customer service I was hoping for... And not even a discount.... I'm extremely disappointed.


Below are my bill amounts from the past several months.

Dec 2013 rate @ 5.59 per MCF the total of the bill...143.07
Jan  2014 rate @ 5.79 per MCF the total of the bill...398.94
Feb 2014 rate @  8.69 per MCF the total of the bill...433.42
Mar 2014 rate @11.99 per MCF the total of the bill...575.61

For your information, the rate for Consumers Energy 4.74 per MCF!"



Desired Settlement: "What settlement would I consider fair?

At least compensate me to what the competitor was charging and readjust my bill accordingly.  I've been a loyal customer.
I would appreciate feedback in a timely manner as these rates are increasing rapidly and I'm losing my patience.

Thank you

**** ****"

Business Response: In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 19, 2014. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. 

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

5/9/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up with Volunteer Energy and received the savings they had promised for almost two years. My last two bills were doubled and then tripled in cost. I called them and they blamed Michigan Gas Utilities for not giving them the correct amount of gas to supply. I then told them to cancel my use of them as my gas supplier and they said no problem. When I received my next bill, they took two more weeks of my money before they switched it. This sounds like a company the that is using their government monopoly status to abuse customers.

Desired Settlement: At least give me my two weeks difference in gas price. And make sure they are exposed for the scam artists that they are.

Business Response:

In response to this Complaint, when customers cancel they have to complete the current billing cycle they are in per the utilities requirements. The customer cancelled on March 6, 2014.  The cancellation was accepted by Michigan Gas Utilities on March 7, 2014.  For Michigan Gas Utilities, the billing cycle runs from the first of the month to the last day of the month.  Customer cancelled at the beginning of the month, therefore the customer’s billing cycle did not end until March 31, 2014. 

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

5/9/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Volunteer Energy Services increased the rate at which I was charged for my natural gas services exponentially starting in December of 2013 and tripled the amount that was charged by February of 2014 without my knowledge, notification, or approval. I had originally signed up for a rate of .499 (49.9 cents per unit) in 2012 for which I was told that the rate would expire in March of 2013. What I was not told was that I would be signed up for a new contract without my consent after March of 2013 on a variable rate. I have contacted the business multiple times in the past 2-3 weeks regarding the issue. They informed me that they had to "Pull" the recording of the original initial call to determine if I was accurate in my statements. They did and I received a copy of it, at no time was I informed that my "Plan" would continue with them under any circumstances after March of 2013. I was also not informed that my plan would switch to a variable rate plan after March of 2013. On my final phone call this morning 4/3/2014 I was informed by a supervisor that he would have to contact his "Legal Department" to determine what, if anything, they are legally obligated to do. He also informed me that i would have an answer within a few hours and that he would EMail me ALL of the information included on my account including contract information and rate information. i never received that call back nor did i receive Any of the information promised me. I have recordings of that conversation as well as the original conversation in 2012. I have never received Any documentation from Volunteer Energy Services throughout my entire time with them, my only information i have from them has come through DTE Energy.

Desired Settlement: The Adjustment of the current and previous bills up to the time that they began charging me rates that I did not consent to. The rate that they should be adjusted to should be the original .499 (49.9 cents per unit) for the entire time. I also request a formal apology, in writing, for the complete lack of cooperation during the entire issue.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, Volunteer Energy is working with the customer regarding this matter. 

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:

The refund has not been issued due to the company awaiting the generation of the final bill. At the time that they contacted me the April bill was not due to be generated for another 2-3 weeks. They have been sent all relevant information otherwise.

I am moving in 4 days and cannot transfer my gas services without this matter being handled. I am attempting to locate the contact information for the president of this company to further this matter and would appreciate the Better Business Bureau's assistance.


This was emailed to their supervisor today.

*****,

Per our discussion this morning the April bill still has not been generated as yet. The meter reading usually occurs between the 14-18th of the month.

With that being said what would have been more productive 10 days ago would be to issue the refund immediately and adjusted the April Rate prior to the actual meter being read and the bill being generated.

With this situation the bill is now late and potential late charges also being added to the bill for which Volunteer Energy Services is also responsible for.
(wording from the bill) Your current charges are due on *******. A 2% late payment charge will be applied if paid after the due date

These Late Fees are not itemized on the bill just a statement that a 2% Late charge will be applied

My suggestion to you would be another lesson in common sense. Issue the refund that you have already calculated and overnight that refund to us and upon the generation of the final bill instead of adjusting the actual charges which could have been done 10 days ago, I will email you that copy and you can issue another refund to me for the April charges.

At this point I am rejecting the companies explanation to the better business bureau and copying them this email as well.

This matter should have been solved already.

Respectfully,

******* ********** **
*** ******* ***
********* ** *****
******* **** Home
************ Cell

Original Email Dated April 4, 2014 about the refund.

Mr. ***********

Attached you will find a copy of the terms and conditions that would have been sent out to you.  After listening to the recording with our attorney, **** ********, we have determined that you are indeed correct that the recording did not specify a move to a variable rate and therefore will be issued a refund for the difference between what you paid per CCF in January 2014 to April 2014.  Per your request the account was cancelled and the last bill you receive will be in April 2014.  If you would like to facilitate the process please feel free to forward copies on the bill you received in March as well as the bill you receive in April.  I do apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. 

 If you should have any questions in the future please do not hesitate to contact me.

 Thanks,

  ***** *****

Account Manager

Volunteer Energy

Ph – ***** ********

Fx – ***** ********

 

Business Response:

In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The TPV did not specify that the rate will go month to month variable and therefore the Customer was sent a refund for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer’s LDC rate for the time period. Volunteer Energy has spoken to this customer and customer is going to email us when he receives the check.  

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

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

Complaint: This Company is a scam. Called this Gas provider on my account back in July of 2013 and made sure that my rate is locked for a year at $4.55/MCF because I had received a lower rate from another company. Their associate was helpful enough and matched the rate I was offered because I was a long time customer. During the call I made sure that there will be no rate change during the course of the coming year 2014 specially in the winter. Out of nowhere I check my bill for this month to notice that the rate almost doubled to $8.96. Called them to discuss the matter, one of their manager (****t) called me a liar and they have no such rate and if they do it is a variable rate that I agreed to when I spoke to their associate *** and asked me if I have a proof that it is a locked rate. Then right away he offered me to cancel and provided me with a cancellation number not caring to lose a customer or trying to offer anything. My total bill for this month is almost $2,0000.00 a difference of $700.00 because of the rate change that I have never seen a gas bill this high during the 15 years of my business. This is the highest rate and gas bill ever. Called consumers energy but unfortunately they could not do anything. I hope you can help me with this matter at least to recoup my money from this scamming company. Thank you for your cooperation

Desired Settlement: $700.00 This is the difference caused by changing the rate without any notice while my rate was supposed to be locked at $4.55 for a year not variable or $8.69 per MCF. This is outrageously high while Consumers Energy rate is at $4.69.

Business Response:  

In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on February 18, 2014. The proof of enrollment cannot be located within this time frame . Customer will be receiving a refund for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer’s LDC rate for the time period.Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable. Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. Regrettably, Volunteer is unable to guarantee any savings over the LDC’s GCR due to the current market forces. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know. Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint.

Consumer Response:

I am rejecting this response because:

My business was not on a variable rate as they are claiming. 

I had received an offer from a different company (Great Lakes Energy) in July of 2013 that is when I called Volunteer Energy and discussed the rate after I was transferred to their Local Associate.  At that time their associate offered to MATCH & LOCK the rate their competition was offering which was $4.5 per cubic foot in order for them to keep us one of their customers.  I know very well the difference between a variable rate and a Fixed rate. 

If true that my business was on a variable rate, I would like for them to provide me the document that shows my agreement to be on a variable rate.

Their rate change from $4.50 to $8.65 per cubic foot resulted an increase in my Gas bill by almost $800.00.  We are a small business and every penny counts with us and this was not a small increase. 

As soon as I called their company to discuss the rate change, their manager offered to cancel us.  Sure I accepted that because I went back to Consumers Energy at $4.50 per cubic foot. 

They cannot change the term of our agreement at their convenience.  If this company and its associates respect themselves, they should either take responsibilities of their acts or go out of business. 

The Explanation I received is not acceptable. 

It is not the customer's responsibilities if they made the wrong assumptions when they bought their supplies. 



Business Response: In response to customer's rejection, Mr. ****** was advised through a MPSC complaint that the proof of enrollment cannot be located within the time frame permitted. Customer will be receiving a refund for the difference in price between VESI and the customer's LDC rate for the time period.

Consumer Response:

I am rejecting this response because:

A check for the disputed amount has not been received & That company is not a trusted one. 

Till a check is received, please consider this complaint unresolved.




Business Response:

In response to this message, Volunteer Energy does not have the current usage from Consumers Energy as of today, April  16, 2014.  Therefore, the total amount for the reimbursement cannot be calculated.  As soon as Volunteer Energy receives March’s usage from Consumers Energy, the reimbursement amount will be calculated and customer will be mailed a check for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer’s LDC rate for the time period.

Consumer Response:

I am rejecting this response because:

There is no need for them to receive anything.  At the time of conflict they increased the rate by $4.00 per cubic foot.  The rate I was promised by them was $4.65 per Mcf. at the time they charged $8.69.

This is what they Charged: Volunteer Energy Services 800/977-8374----------- Supplier Charge VEA 172.6@ 8.690000 $1,499.89

This is what Consumers Energy charged for last month:   Gas Cost Recovery 155.1@ 4.709800 $730.49

Simple math the difference is approximately $700.00

They need to send me a check for the difference which is $700.00.  It is not rocket Science. 

They are still playing games.  I cannot believe how crooked. 

 

Business Response: In response to this rejection, Volunteer Energy has received the final usage amount.  Volunteer Energy is not "playing games" as stated by customer.  Customer is being sent, if not already, a refund amount for the difference between what customer payed Volunteer and his local utility.  

 
It is also clear, the customer will never will be satisfied with a response from Volunteer, and we accept that burden.

Consumer Response:

Dear Better Business Bureau representative:

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

I just received  today a check dated 5/1/2014 for the difference and I am satisfied with the resolution.  The amount that I have received from Volunteer Energy Services matches the difference that was overcharged. 

Thank you for your help during this conflict.  It was really appreciated.  


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

4/30/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I am a current customer with Semco Energy. I received a bill for one month of gas/heat in the amount of $500.17$, once I called them they said I am actually customer of Volunteer Energy since 2010. I called volunteer energy and they said I am their customer which I never recall signing up with them. Semco informed me that current price for the gas charges is 43 cents per unit and Volunteer Energy is charging their customers $1.599000 per unit. PLEASE assist me with this I am totally confused and I am ready to pay the price with Semco as I have used heat but I don't see the reason why I should pay $ 1.60 . I am completely shocked and disappointed that this is even possibility to happen to anybody.

Desired Settlement: I am willing to pay for everything at the current gas rate per unit in Michigan, not the ourages amount of $1.60 per unit. I am shocked and I am really stressed out over this huge monthly bill. My bill averages 250$ a month, with these volunteer energy people my bill is 500.00 please assist me.... thank you very much ****

Consumer Response:

I am rejecting this response because: 
they have failed to provide voice recording that I switched to their service, but they claimed to email me one on March 14th. They said it takes 5 to 10 business days to get the recording. I want my bill recalculated by the charges I used to pay. I am willing to go further with this complaint.
such a lame customer service too and am I wondering how I became your customer???

please send me this recording 




Business Response: The customer enrolled through Simple Energy's website.  Proof of the web enrollment is attached. 

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.

4/21/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Had been with the company to service my home with natural gas for a couple of years and suddenly I receive a bill in which the "commodity charge" increase by an entire $1 per CCF. This more than doubled my gas bill and our total usage has never increased over the past 6 months. This has occurred with no letter or notification from the company. The customer service has been unable to assist in any capacity.

Desired Settlement: I would like to have my bill adjusted to the normal $0.59900 I have been previously paying for natural gas. I have already canceled my service from this company and they are not willing to work with the customer.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on April 8, 2014. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

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

4/21/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Volunteer Energy Services charged us $5.59 or per Mcf unit in november, $5.79 in December then they raised it to $8.69 in january without informing me that it will be raising this much, which I didn't complain about; however, for February they raised it to $11.99 which now doubles what i pay for gas services. they raised the price without informing me first. If I had known, i would've cancelled my service right away because out utility company (consumer energy) only charges $4.76 per Mcf unit. I had contacted Volunteer energy service and they said they will not do anything about this and will not lower it back down again for february. I understand that it is not a set charge that they have for every month; however, it was never more then $6. the change is usually less then 20 cents per Mcf unit

Desired Settlement: i need the company to bring down the charge per Mcf unit to what it was before ($5 to $6) for both January and February bills. Or at least bring the February bill down to what it was in January

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 27, 2014. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

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

4/21/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I notice my DTE bills have tripled. I was wondering why. DTE came out to change my meter. Too much snow. I thought it was my meter. I just received my DTE bill. I saw a name of Volunteer Energy. I do not know , who they are. I do not know , why on my bill. I thought I was getting all my service from DTE> I do not remember talking or signing anything with them.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund on all my over charges by volunteer. I see a A plus rating. I do not know how that can be. When they have been over charging me for I do not know for how many months. I am on a fixed income. I am using less energy and bills have more than doubled. I know cost on energy has gone up but not 2-3 times.

Business Response: BBB NOTE:   Business submitted the proof of enrollment separately from their original response.  BBB has copied the earlier response below for the convenience of the parties. 

The proof of enrollment is attached.

In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on April 1, 2014.  The proof of enrollment has been requested and will be submitted once received. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

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

4/11/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up for Volunteer energy a few years ago with a friend. I was told that I would have a lower fixed rate than SEMCO gas so I switched. I recently doubled checked the rates and seen that my rates were variable and the past few months my bills have skyrocketed due to vaiable cost. It tripled. I called to cancel and recieved an opt out number of *****. My service has not changed back to SEMCO and I am being significantly overcharged. I have call twice and left messages to have service stopped and switched back!

Desired Settlement: Of back overcharges for the past two months.

Business Response: In response to this complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 25, 2014.  The customer will be back with the utility on April 3, 2014. 

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

4/11/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Volunteer Energy Services claim that someone at my home phone number back in 2007 verbally agreed to signing on to their energy program for our monthly natural gas bill. Our normal local provider is SEMCO Energy. We have been requesting the recorded copy of this phone conversation for two weeks now and they have not provided it. They are charging outrageously high gas prices, up to three times that of SEMCO Energy. They claim that this phone call made in 2007 is a legal binding contract even though they cannot provide proof that it even happened, and neither my wife or I can remember agreeing to this, especially over the phone without any signatures. If they can't provide it we feel as if we are entitled to compensation for these over charges. Thank you for considering this complaint. We have since cancelled our so called agreement with Volunteer Energy.

Desired Settlement: We just would like them to provide proof to myself and my wife that this sign up phone call actually took place in 2007 and we would like to know if such a phone call is legal and binding if it did take place.

Business Response:

In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 5, 2014. The TPV recording authorizing enrollment is attached. Volunteer Energy would point to the fact that the customer has been enrolled with Volunteer Energy since 2007 and has appeared on the customer’s bill since that time. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable. Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. Regrettably, Volunteer is unable to guarantee any savings over the LDC’s GCR due to the current market forces. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know. Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:

 I am rejecting this response for this reason. I admit after hearing the attachment audio that my wife ***** verbally agreed to joining Volunteer Energy back in 2007. If you listen to the tape carefully, they said that we were signed on for 12 months, and we thought 12 months only, at no time during that conversation did they say it would extend past 12 months. We feel we are entitled to any cost differences between them and SEMCO energy from any monthly billing from one year past the date of the recording. Once again, near the end of the recording, they clearly state that we are enrolled for 12 months.

 
                                                                                                                                                              Thank you


Business Response: In response to the customers rejection, attached is the confirmation letter and terms and conditions that was sent to the customer in October, 2007. 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

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

Complaint: Volunteer Energy Services was charging us $ 4.99 per cubic foot of natural gas up until 11-5-13. Thereafter, the rates rose drastically as follows and without explanation or prior notice to customers: January 2014 - $5.39 per cubic foot February 2014 - $8.69 per cubic foot March 2014 - $11.99 per cubic foot My March bill was $524.13. These changes were made by Volunteer Energy spontaneously and without notification to consumers.

Desired Settlement: I am asking for a refund that constitutes the extra charged incurred above the previous and usual rate of $4.99 per cubic foot. I will summarize this below: December 2013 - We used 29.7 cubic feet (refund should be 29.7 x (5.39 - 4.99) = $ 11.88 January 2014 - We used 37.8 cubic feet (refund should be 29.7 x (5.39 - 4.99) = $15.12 February 2014 - We used 34.1 cubic feet (refund should be 29.7 x (8.69 - 4.99) = $126.17 March 2014 - We used 32.9 cubic feet (refund should be 29.7 x (11.99 - 4.99) = $207.9 Total requested refund is $361.07

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:

First, I cancelled my account with this company AFTER I recognized they have doubled my rates and after they have received my payments. The company did not notify the customers of this HUGE increase in cost. The fact you raise the prices during cold temperatures is the same as saying you monopolize prices when demand is at its highest. Customers need to be informed of these things either in advance or as they happen. Can the federal government raise taxes without notifying the citezens? What makes you exempt of that, especially when the rates rose in an exponential way and without prior notice. I could have changed my supplier earlier if you had notified me in advance. Your company does not even allow customers to talk to someone live. When we called your company several times earlier, your recorded phone messsage instructs customers on what to do if they want to cancel their account, and that is a deceptive way to disconnect from and avoid your customers after you rip them off. Again, if you meant well, you would notify your customers in an open, transparent, and timely manner. Not doing so reflects insincere and greedy intentions. 


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

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.

4/10/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Primary Nature of my Complaint is "Price Gouging"... I was told by a representative at Volunteer Energy costs were so high due to the bad weather we have had this winter. (See my explanation below) My gas company is Semco Energy but I was approached at my home by a volunteer representing a company named Volunteer Energy in which I was assured that their prices that shows on my energy invoice under "Supplier Energy Charge" would be cheaper than other companies even Semco so of course I went with their company. I understand that we have had a bad winter this year but my supply costs went from "(0.525000)" on my December invoice, to "(0.599000)" on my January invoice, to "(1.099000)" on my February invoice, & to "(1.599000)" on my March invoice. I feel that this is what they call "price gouging". I work were I have the privilege of viewing other individuals gas invoices that have different companies other than Volunteer Energy & my costs is double what their costs are. I have since cancelled with this company but I would like you to investigate because I am sure there are others who don't even look at things in such detail & will continue to suffer with high gas bills due to this company. I just want to understand why & how one company can charge very high & another company charges a more reasonable price. Thank you in advance.

Desired Settlement: If there is found to be any "price gouging" wrong doing; I would like my gas bill adjusted accordingly. Thank you in advance.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 11, 2014.  Customer called Volunteer Energy on March 11, 2014 and said she cancelled on February 24, 2014 and provided a confirmation number. Volunteer Energy does not have any record of cancellation that took place on February 24, 2014. Since customer has provided a matching confirmation number, Volunteer Energy will be sending a refund for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer's LDC rate for the time period the cancellation should have been processed. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.


 

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 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I phoned with concern over cost increases and possible cancellation of their services. Person suggested waiting a month to reevaluate and gave a price quote. When I received the next invoice, price was doubled. I had phone conversation with "supervisor" and he had no record of my previous phone call and said no one would tell me what I quoted the person saying.

Desired Settlement: Notification of results of inquiry.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 24, 2014. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:  I was told incorrect information on the phone - also known as lied to.  I understand the cost increase but the fact that I called and was given incorrect information to direct my decision and then was told it did not happen is more disturbing to me that the cost increase.
Please close this complaint.  Thanks for your help.  


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.

4/1/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Volunteer Energy has been ripping off their customers for the past couple of months. Their supplier charge for an McF of gas has risen from $4.99 on the January billing to $7.69 per McF on the March billing. This is a rise of over 50% in 2 months time. This is fraud. Nothing rises over 50% in 2 months. This company needs to be investigated by the BBB and maybe government regulatory agencies also. I have called them about this and all I get is alot of fancy rhetoric trying to substantiate this obscene increase. If this was an honest increase I should have been notified beforehand and given the choice to change suppliers not just forced to accept it. Their are no other suppliers that have in the rate list I checked have charged this much for an Mcf of gas in the month of March. I feel a company can charge whatever they want if the consumer is notified beforehand and given the choice to accept it or switch suppliers and I did not hear a single word from them about an impending over 50% increase. This is fraud and deceptive business practice plain and simple.

Desired Settlement: I would like a billing adjustment to the average rate of gas suppliers in Michigan for the month of February. Rates can be found here http://www.michgaschoice.com/category/regulated/consumers/. Note Volunteer Energy doesn't even list their rates. A warning signal right there.

Business Response: Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:

Right----bla---bla---bla.  No one else is charging $11.99 per Mcf of natural gas in the area .  This is either a case of purposely  price gouging the customer or total incompetence  on the part of Volunteer Energy management.  Either way this is wrong and Volunteer Energy should be held accountable.  But no worries after this pricing fiasco very doubtful Volunteer Energy will be in existence for long as all their customer base is cancelling their services.  No customers--no Volunteer Energy.  Now that's brilliant management.

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.

3/31/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I live in an apartment and my apartment building has entrance locks. A person, who I recently realized was from Volunteer Energy, knocked on my door one day last December. He didn't say who he works for and just directly asked for my Consumer Energy account number. I thought he was a representative from Consumer Energy to do something with my utility equipment, because my electricity and gas were supplied by Consumer Energy then. And the fact that only authorized people can enter our apartment building makes me further believe he works for Consumer Energy without actually asking. So I gave him my account number. Then he asked me to sign a document. I asked him why I need to sign the document. He said it would lower my gas cost. I thought that was a good thing and signed the document without reading it carefully. I recently found out that document actually switched me from Consumer Energy to Volunteer Energy for gas supply, which I didn't know for three months because I still keep receiving my utility bill from Consumer Energy. Actually Consumer Energy was charging my gas cost on behalf of Volunteer Energy, which I didn't realized until now. It turned out that Volunteer Energy's gas price is much higher than Consumer Energy's. The first bill after I was switched to Volunteer Energy showed their gas price was $7.69/Mcf compared to the gas price of Consumer Energy $4.626/Mcf. The second bill, which is the most recent one, showed that Volunteer Energy skyrocketed the gas price to $11.99/Mcf. It is the incredibly high balance on that bill that makes me investigate what was going on and find out the story I told above. What Volunteer Energy has done to me is completely cheating because firstly that sale person didn't disclose his identity and purpose when coming to my home and secondly he lied to me by saying signing that document would lower my gas cost.

Desired Settlement: First, I demand Volunteer Energy to change their gas price on my most recent two bills to the same as Consumer Energy and recalculate the balances. Second, I've already paid the first bill after the switch. I demand Volunteer Energy to refund the gas cost that is above the cost calculated based on the price of Consumer Energy. Third, I called to sign off the contract with Volunteer Energy yesterday. I demand Volunteer Energy to confirm that I have been signed off the contract with them and switched back to Consumer Energy.

Business Response:

In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 21, 2014.  Volunteer Energy’s Agent Rep may have not been completely clear that he was with Volunteer Energy.  Customer will be receiving a refund for the difference in price between Volunteer Energy and the customer’s LDC rate for the time period.


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

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

3/31/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I have been with this company for natural gas for over 2 years, last month they charged me 4.610000 for a supplier charge and this month it jumped to 11.990000 which made my bill go up $331.37. They gave no notice before the change or after. I called them and they just apologized for the hike but said they didn't know until 2 days prior. There is no way this is true. This is NOT right and I know that they are just price gauging. Totally ridiculous that there was no notice given so myself as the customer would be prepared, and to raise it THAT much, it's just not right.

Desired Settlement: I think I should get an adjustment made on my bill for the difference in rates from last month to the current month, since I was given no notice or no letter explaining the increase afterwards.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 21, 2014. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because: There is still no reason for price gauging which is what they did, with no notice to consumer.  I still think we are entitled to a refund for price gauging. Totally ridiculous and I know many other customers have complained as well.  Very bad way of doing business!!!!!!



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.

3/30/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Today I called Volunteer Energy again, in regards to the supplier charge rate increase when I received my bill from Consumers Energy. The rate increased 4 times since I signed up with Volunteer Energy. I was told that the rate of 4.99 would stay through the March 2014 billing cycle. The rate increase which has occurred 4 times has never been addressed or has my account been credited for any amount of the increase. I think that this is a very unfair practice. I cancelled my service with them, and would not recommend them to any one..

Desired Settlement: I would like a credit to my consumers energy bill for the difference of the following months, when the supplier charge was not listed as 4.99...July/August: supplier charge was 5.29 1.5 mcf @5.29December/January: supplier charge was 5.29 29.6 mcf @5.29January/January: supplier charge was 7.69 8.6 mcf @7.69February/March: supplier charge was 11.99 21.4 mcf @ 11.99

Business Response:

In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The cancellation was accepted by the utility on March 7, 2014. Attached are the terms and conditions for the plan the customer enrolled in.  The customer enrolled through our website. Customer was on a fixed rate plan through March, 2013 which then changed over to a variable rate plan. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. Regrettably, Volunteer is unable to guarantee any savings over the LDC’s GCR due to the current market forces. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know.  Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint.

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

3/22/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: VolunteerEnergy is my natural gas provider company since 2010. All these years I paid $4.99 per one unit of gas. For the period of 12/08/2013 - 01/10/2014 I noticed on a billing statement that the cost went up to $5.29 per one unit of gas and they did not notified me, as a result I overpaid $11.47. On January 17, 2014 I called to the company and talked to ***** (confirmation number ******). He told me that the price for gas at this time is $4.61. I agreed and stayed with this company, but when I received the next bill (01/11/14 - 02/06/14), the charges were almost doubled $7.69 per one unit of gas. As a result they overcharged me for $87.48 (for the 28.4 units of gas for the last billing period). For the last two billing periods they overcharged me for $98.95.

Desired Settlement: I would like to ask you to investigate how lawfully was their action. I talked to ***** again on February 12, 2014. He did not give me a reasonable answer, other than the prices on gas went up. How the prices on gas went up only for them, and did not go up for the other suppliers. I checked with Consumers Energy and their price per one unit of gas in January of 2014 and till today, Feb. 21, 2014, is $4.62. I would like to get my refund.

Business Response: In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled.  The TPV recording authorizing enrollment is attached. Also attached is the mailer that the Customer received showing the plan the Customer enrolled in. The Customer enrolled in a fixed rate plan that expired in March, 2013 and then was moved to a variable rate plan.  Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable.  Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. Regrettably, Volunteer is unable to guarantee any savings over the LDC’s GCR due to the current market forces. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know.  Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint below.

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

3/22/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: They have have tripled there rate on gas to $1.10 per cubic feet blind siding me with a 1800 dollar bill. then when I asked to be switched back over (there sales man tells me i can do anytime) they tell me it will take up to 3 months. Then I get this months bill and it is up to $1.59 a cubic feet 4 times what my utility company is charging!!! Then i called again they said they are still unsure when they can let me out of my contract!

Desired Settlement: I want out of my contract and last months bill to be the going rate not 4 times the rate!

Business Response:   In response to this Complaint, the customer was on a variable rate plan and has been cancelled. The enrollment form is attached. The cancellation was accepted by the utility on February 11, 2014. Customer started back with ***** utility on February 28, 2014. Due to the extreme cold weather, natural gas prices have surged. This is a weather driven event and prices should return to normal levels when temperatures moderate. The utilities in Michigan are required to file a maximum Gas Cost Recovery (GCR). The current GCR’s are recognizing a maximum rate that was filed over a year ago, when market conditions were favorable. Each month the utility gives Volunteer Energy a schedule of the gas we are required to put in the system. The substantial increase in demand means we must go out and buy more gas to heat your house or business at Daily Cash prices. As dozens of Michigan suppliers are competing for this “overage gas”, it has caused daily prices to skyrocket. This market imbalance has been going on for weeks now, and is now being reflected in customer’s current utility bills. The prices the customer is seeing reflect the costs we are incurring to buy at inflated prices. Each day of below zero and single digit temperatures puts more demand into the market driving prices higher, as more suppliers try to find gas for their customers. Regrettably, Volunteer is unable to guarantee any savings over the LDC’s GCR due to the current market forces. If you would like for me to take any further action, please let me know. Otherwise I will consider this a complete response to the Complaint.

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

3/8/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: volunteer gas sends people door to door almost force fully signing customers up by nonstop traffic to doors in area. promises people fixed gas rates then handing them lots of paperwork immediatly followed by a customer feedback call while signing up. then company doubles gas rate during peak season one month later. the main provider consumers kept its rate the same for its customers.

Desired Settlement: i feel the customers including myself should not be billed at these rates. the increase is too much for any person to absorb. we should be refunded anything paid over the standard consumers rate.

Business Response: Attached is the customers enrollment with Volunteer energy.  The agreement was for a variable rate.  Do to the cold weather demand for gas has increased causing gas prices to increase greatly.  unfortunatly the rate we charge or variable customers has gone up as well.  The utility consumers price is below market and we can't control that.  At the time we visited the customer we had pricing below Consumers GCR.  The market conditions were beyond our control.  The customers account has been cancelled with VE and returned back to Consumers.

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

3/7/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: In October 2013, my roommate and I were visited by a man who represented himself as a ********* ****** employee. He told us that we could be eligible for lower utility rates, and asked to see our bill. He wrote down our ********* ****** account number and asked for my roommate's signature, and said he would see if he could lower our bill. We never heard from him again, but had heard from other people in our apartment complex that he had visited them, as well. Now, in February 2014, we have discovered that the man was from Volunteer Energy Services, and had actually had my roommate sign a contract that changed the supplier of our gas from ********* ****** to his company. Volunteery Energy Services' prices are considerably higher than ********* ******. The man had never mentioned his association with VES or told us that we were signing a contract to switch gas providers. The details of the contract or billing rates were never explained. When we called VES to address the matter of their deceptive salesman, customer service continually interrupted us to explain the rising prices of gas, which led us to believe that they are well aware of how they obtain contracts.

Desired Settlement: VES has denied our request for a refund, and will terminate our contract in approximately one to two months, which will subject us to one or two more hefty utility bills from them. It doesn't seem as if there will be a way for my roommate and I to be compensated for their deceptive sales, but we wanted to bring awareness to this company's fraudulent activity and their lack of concern for the practices of their salesmen.

Business Response: This complaint has been resolved directly with the customer to the best of our knowledge.

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

10/21/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: daily calls to "review"/"sell" their electric service~ 5 times since January 2013 that i've spoken with them to remove our information. This works for about 2 months and then the harassment starts.

Desired Settlement: ~ want letter to you regarding me stating that they permanently removed my phone numberfrom their call bot and solicitation system.~ I do NOT want the letter sent directly to me as i do NOT want solicitation mailfrom them.~ note: I am on the national do not call list and state's too.~ I will seek legal council if after your involvement the harassment starts again.Thank you,

Business Response:  Customer request has been sent to our marketing company.  Number has been added to DNC list.

Consumer Response: I have been told by TWO representatives that they put me on the DNC list.  But it is STILL happening. that is WHY I contacted BBB in the first place.!   What else can I do if this does NOT work and I receive calls again.? thanks. 

Business Response: The phone number provided was added to the internal DNC list. The marketing company we were using at the time assured us that they have not made a phone call to ###-###-####.  Is there a different number that they have been placing calls to?   In the initial complaint there was made mention of someone calling about switching your electric, at this time Volunteer Energy does not solicit for ******** ****** in the state of PA.  Please let me know if there is a different number that is in need of being added to our internal DNC list. 

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

10/20/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: A person at my door this afternoon represented himself as being from *** Energy. He flashed his badge (which I did not read- shushing barking dogs) so I trusted him too much and believed him when he said I "could qualify for a program to reduce your bill by as much as $200.00 a month".He needed my account number, which I couldn't find. He pulled out his phone and had a rep on the phone when I found my account number. He flipped a paper over for my signature, NEVER ONCE SAYING THE NAME "VOLUNTEER ENERGY" the entire time he was here. I do, in fact, take responsibility for being gullible and lax in not paying closer attention to his "identification" and signing forms without reading. None of which will happen again.As soon as I had a moment I read the paper he handed me and realized what had occurred. I immediately called the phone number on the back of the paper and was sent to voice mail. I left approximately the same message I emailed to them:A representative from your company came to my door earlier today and spoke as if he were from ***Energy. He said I could qualify for a reduction in rates, saving $200.00 per month. Because I had a lot going on when he was here I didn't use due diligence and check his name tag further or read the form he presented.DO NOT change my service from *** to your company, Volunteer Energy. My account number is ************. AGAIN: DO NOT switch my service!!I will be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau immediatelyI called the phone number on the back of the copy he gave me and was sent to voicemail. I left the same message I am emailing to you now.DO NOT CHANGE MY SERVICE FROM *** ENERGY TO VOLUNTEER ENERGY!!Thank you!

Desired Settlement: As long as they leave my account as is and don't switch my service I need nothing further.I did want the BBB aware of this.

Business Response: We have contacted Mrs. ******* and here are the notes from our sales manager ***** **** that spoke to her.  We believe the complaint is resolved. Mrs. ******* Said that the rep didn’t actually say he was with ***, but that he kept saying ***’s name.  I explained that the first thing he should have done was identify himself as being with VE.  She said that when he arrived she pointed out that his badge was backwards then the dog started barking, and when she was picking him up the rep may have said VE.  She said she will call the BBB tomorrow and tell them that we have resolve her complaint. This was a new rep for VE and yesterday was his first day out.  There was a trainer with him at this door.  The rep said they had a pleasant conversation with the woman who told them about her husband who is ill with onset of Alzheimers. He said the total bill was less than $200.00 per month and he told her that the VE rate would lower that bill not eliminate it…   As a follow-up to this, **** the owner of Energy Marketing Network had all of his reps stop selling, and get on a conference call as he reviewed with them again that VE will not tolerate any misrepresentation.  I’ve spoken to a couple of the reps after the conference call, and I’m confident that **** addressed this with the entire group properly.  I’ll be meeting with his team tomorrow at 10:00 AM and will cover this point again.   EMN residential d2d enrollments now require an initialed and signed customer review document that state VE is not a representative of the utility. 

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

7/26/2013 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On Aug. 21 2012 I signed a contract with Volunteer Energy for their natural gas services,after their sales rep. Mr. *** ****** contacted me. According to the spread sheet I was shown and current rates available from Volunteer Energy he (Mr. ******) guaranteed me a savings of 3% over the current company (***** Energy) I was with. After 10 months of their (Volunteer Energy) service I had become aware that I had been paying on average 50% more than ***** Energy's rate. I also had become aware that 2 other (Volunteer Energy) customers with the same circumstances had been reimbursed for the amount they were over charged. After contacting Volunteer Energy several times and inquiring about being reimbursed, I finally was told on July 8, 2013 by a Ms. **** ******** that I was not going to be compensated like those other customers for reasons they could not explain. In the end, I was overcharged in the amount of $6,667.73 with no explanation of why some customers received money back and I did not.

Desired Settlement: $6,667.73 Refund.

Business Response: Volunteer Energy has an established track record of trying to save their customers money and has become one of the largest Choice Alternative Gas Suppliers licensed in Michigan in the process.  Our pricing is based on market forces and , in this instance was a variable rate heavily dependent on the NYMEX close for the preceding month.  Regrettably, sometimes we are unable to save a customer money.  In those circumstances, we offer the customer cancelation on 30 days notice at any time without an early termination fee should the customer determine our rates are not competitive with those offered by the local utility.  Volunteer Energy does not guarantee savings or offer a price match with any local utility.

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

1/23/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: After many phone calls from ******** **** at Volunteer Energy Services, with some of the phone calls to my work number which I thought was inappropriate, I finally gave in and signed up with them around 12/21/12 to be my gas supplier. I was assured that nothing would change with my current gas supplier until my next meter reading which was mid January and that I would receive a "welcome packet" in the mail which after reviewing, I could cancel without a "termination fee" within 3 days after receiving my packet. After 3 weeks passed without receiving my welcome packet, I called ******** on 1/15/13 who said I should have received the packet by now and that he would rush it to a supervisor's attention and get it out to me asap unless there was a problem, and then I would receive a phone call. I received a phone message on my home phone stating that I should call the corporate office to find out why I did not receive my welcome packet. On 1/21/13 I called ******** and got his voice mail. I stated that I am not calling the corporate office to find out why I never received my welcome packet; I felt that was Volunteer Energy's responsibility; not mine and that I wanted to cancel my contract immediately and to please contact me that day. After 4 hours with no response, I called again and left another message; still no response. I called the corporate office phone number on 1/22/13 and received a message saying they were unavailable and left them the same message - cancel my service immediately. I still have not received a response! This whole ordeal has been a fiasco and I want out of it. They hound you with phone calls until they get you signed up and then you can't get in touch with anyone either in customer service or the corporate office.

Desired Settlement: I only want out of the "contract" that I am in. I do not want them to say I need to pay a fee to get out of the contract since I didn't get any welcome packet outlining their services and therefore did not get the option to opt out within their required deadline.

Consumer Response:

From: ****** ***** ********************************* 
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:47 AM

Subject: Re: You have a new message from the BBB of Central Ohio in regards to your complaint #********

Good morning.
 
I wanted to inform you that I believe my complaint #******1 has been resolved.  I received a phone call from Volunteer Energy's Corporate office on 1/22/13.  I explained my grievances I had with the customer service agent and that I wished to have my "contract" cancelled.  I was told that I would be cancelled out of the program immediately and she apologized for my unpleasant experience with the process.  
 
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter and if I need to do anything further regarding this complaint, please contact me.
 
Sincerely,
****** *****

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

10/9/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: When I rec'd my gas bill from *** Energy for the monthly period 07/15 through 08/15 of 2012, it included a $28.84 charge from Volunteer Energy Services as a gas supplier. I never authorized this company to be my gas supplier it should only be *** Energy. I have tried sereral times to call the number printed in the bill for Volunteer Energy Services (###-###-####) but the phone would ring and ring and eventually left a couple of messages to find out how and under what circumstances did they become my gas supplier and rec'd no response. I tried to contact them through the website but still rec'd no response. I even tried to contact someone in their sales area (******-female) but rec'd no response as of yet. This is very troubling considering that this company is very hard to reach and it's like they are a phantom company that don't exist. My account number is **** *** **** *.

Desired Settlement: I would like Volunteer Energy Services to be removed as my gas supplier and be credited back $28.84 to my account. I would also like confirmation letter to be sent to my home stating that this company has been removed from my gas bill as a supplier.

Business Response: We have spoken to the customer and cancelled his account with Volunteer Energy.  His billing will start back with *********** on 9/13/2012.  I have attached a copy of the proof of enrollment.  The customer enrolled with Volunteer Energy on 4/2/2012 and started flowing with us on 4/16/2012.

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

2/6/2012 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: They signed me up for their service without authorization. Got a letter in the mail stating that I must opt out in order not to receive their services. It must be (should be) illegal to force citizens to use their service without authorization by the individual paying the bill! They selected me somehow, send me a letter saying I am now their customer for Natural Gas Service unless I fill out a form with all my account number and personal information (which what do they do with that information? it is not stated)to opt out. (****) is the provider I chose, the one that this letter states will continue to provide my gas; however now this VESI will get some of the money unless I fill out a form and opt out. They signed me up for their service without authorization! I did not opt in! Why do I now have to opt out? I am the only adult in this home, I know there was no authorization for this service. I am a widow with children on a very fixed budget, and cannot afford these types of businesses to take any more of my income. This has happened to me twice in the past, and I am not going to be taken advantage again! Automatically enrolling residents, unless they individually opt-out of the program by sending in private personal information such as name, address, signature, account number, and phone number to a company I did not authorize to have any of that information to begin with, feels like a huge violation of my privacy. If I had wanted these services, I would have signed up for them myself.

Desired Settlement: Do not want their service. Take my name and address off their list(s), and never contact me again. I do not want their services.

Business Response: this complaint has been resolved with the consumer

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

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