June 23, 2016
From: Ms. ****** ** ***** (Ameren Acct: # XXXXXXXX)
To: Better Business Bureau/Dayton Ohio
Re: Refusal of Reimbursement of Payment
On June 3, 2016, I contacted Ameren Power Company to pay my power bill in the amount of $261.00. After selecting the option to pay my bill via telephone; I was then connected to the Western Union Speed-pay (third-party payment center) and informed of the $2.25 convenience fee. I agreed to the stipulations and proceeded to the requirements of completing this transaction.
I was then connected to a representative of Western Union in which I provided all the requested and necessary information for this transaction to be completed. In attempt to ensure that she had all the correct information, I informed her that I would repeat the information to her. She agreed.
After doing so, she provided me with a confirmation number-XXXXXXXX. I documented the number and repeated it back to her and once again she agreed that I had the correct number and my payment of $264.25 had been received and the transaction was complete.
Late in the evening on June 6, 2016, I was checking my personal email account. I noticed an email from Dayton Power and Electric. I was oblivious as to why this company would send me a ?Thank you for your payment? statement? Immediately I had presumed that Ameren had transferred my account to another provider.
The next evening after work, I contacted Ameren and spoke with a representative. I informed her of this email and she informed and assured me that my account was still active at Ameren and had no explanation as to how such an error could have occurred. My payment was now pass-due. She advised me to contact Dayton Power and Electric which I did as suggested however the office was closed. I then contacted the Western Union Special Services and advised to contact Dayton Power and Electric.
I have spent many hours speaking with representatives from all involved parties and lengthy hold-times on the phone, it was apparent that neither of these companies was willing to accept responsibility for this costly mistake nor reimburse me of my money.
On June 15 2016, I was informed by a Dayton Power and Electric representative that a check had been processed and mailed in the total amount of $261.00 minus the convenience fee which I should receive the upcoming weekend or early the next week.
I did not receive a check and when I made contact with this company again for the up-tenth time, again no results. I then contacted Western Union and once again explained the situation. The representative then contacted a representative at Dayton Power so that the call was a three-way call. We were advised to contact the Financial Department at Dayton Power and Electric at its regular business hours.
The next morning I contacted Western Union and the representative then contacted a representative at Dayton Power. I was placed on hold for nearly a half hour only to be told by the Western Union representative that the representative from Dayton Power refused to speak with me on a three-way call stating that ?it wasn?t necessary for him to speak with me and to dispute the charges with my bank.?
I paid my bill and was at threat of having my utilities shut-off. I have numerous medical issues that it is detrimental to my health to be without power. I explained this over and over again to the involved parties and received nothing but apologies and lies.
I contacted my banking institution and was told that I could dispute the charge however it would not be resolved for at least ninety-days. I live on a very mediocre income and am disabled. I have worked a vast majority of my life until serious medical issues caused a significant decrease in my ability to maintain full-time employment and my income. I am now living below the poverty level and cannot replace the funds so wrongfully taken from me. I have become a part of a population that I served as a case manager for many years.
I have experienced extreme stress, rapid heart palpations and frustration which pose threats to my health. This is not right or fair and should be addressed. It is the innocent and poor consumers that are constantly being exploited by these multi-mega companies. Customer service is near obsolete. Companies such as these are about collecting and taking but when it is time to pay-out or pay-back, it is consumers such as my-self that are being ignored and dismissed.
The money that was wrongfully distributed *** be considered by some as a small amount but when you are trying to survive and live on the income as I am, it is impossible to ignore the fact that this bill must be paid and paid twice. I appreciate the time given to this matter and hope that your inquiry will yield results.
Please feel free to contact me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX Hm. (XXX) XXX-XXXX Cl.
Ms. ****** ** *****
The customer paid her electric bill through Western Union Speedpay (WUCC) for her electric service in Decatur, Illinois. Unfortunately, the WUCC representative made the payment electronically to DP&L vs. the correct electric company, Ameren Power. This is a mistake of WUCC. DP&L is not at fault in this situation. Once we noticed the customer was not a DP&L customer, an email was sent to her to try to help rectify the mistake. DP&L first advised the customer a refund would be issued in the form of a check. However, due to the payment being made with a debit card, the customer needed to dispute the payment with her bank. We sincerely apologize for advising the customer incorrectly regarding issuing a refund check. Later, when WUCC contacted DP&L with the customer on the phone, they were advised to inform the customer to contact her bank to dispute the charges since the payment was made with a debit card (VISA/MC logo) and not intended for DP&L.
DP&L has been diligently working with WUCC to ensure the customer's funds are returned to her account in a timely fashion. Below is a timeline of the conversations with WUCC trying to rectify the mistake made by WUCC:
1. June 23, 2016:
Customer's complaint received by DP&L and forwarded to WUCC. DP&L spoke with management at WUCC and was informed they would research the problem to ensure this does not happen again to a customer.
2. June 26, 2016:
DP&L was advised by WUCC that a member of management would be contacting the customer, explaining what happened, and offering to complete a three-way call with her bank to ensure the return of her to her account. WUCC was also going to contact Ameren to ensure the customer's account remained in good standing despite their error.
3. July 7, 2016:
DP&L spoke with WUCC and was informed they spoke with the customer (We do not have a date as to when WUCC made contact with the customer.) The customer's bank required WUCC to send a fax on her behalf regarding the misapplied payment. Unfortunately, the customer did not have the fax number and requested WUCC to call her back the next day. According to WUCC, the Operations Manager has been trying to reach the customer by phone daily but without any success.
As of today, WUCC has not been able to make contact with the customer. A call was placed by DP&L today to the customer to try to connect her with WUCC in a timely fashion. We, as well as WUCC, could not reach the customer. However, a message was left on the customer's cell to try to facilitate a three way call to connect her with the Operations Manager at WUCC. If the customer did not receive her message from DP&L, please advise her to call us at X-XXX-XXX-XXXX and we will gladly put her in contact with the manager at WUCC.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I was contacted by a representative ********* on June 1, 2016. She had called and did not leave a direct contact number in her message. She asked me to provide a contact name and fax number for my banking institution. I informed her that I would contact the bank to get the information as requested. She then stated she would call me back the next day (July 1, 2016). I waited at my home the entire day in hope that she would call, she did not contact me. She did not call me until July 7, 2016 while I was attending my brother's wedding. Once again, she did not include a contact number in her message. When I spoke with Ms. ******* on June 1, 2016; I informed her of my work days and hours. It appears that she attempts to contact during my working hours. I have not spoken with her due to the time of day she is calling. I am leery of her attempts to contact me during my working hours and have concluded that she would purposely note that she was uable to contact me. Her actions are questionable.
Ms. ****** ** *****
Final Business Response
The customer paid her electric bill through Western Union Speedpay (WUCC) for her electric service with Ameren Power. Unfortunately, WUCC processed the payment electronically to DP&L vs. Ameren in error. Due to Western Union SpeedPay's (WUCC) error and the payment being an ATM transaction, the funds could not be returned immediately until we were assured the customer's financial institution would not chargeback the payment. If the funds would have been returned immediately and the customer filed a dispute with her banking institution, we would have been in a loss situation. In addition to filing with your office, the customer filed the same complaint with the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Illinois and we have answered that complaint as well.
We have spoken to the customer's financial institution to obtain a written guarantee that the payment will not be entered as a chargeback in their system. Upon receipt of that guarantee, we proceeded to issue the customer a refund check in the amount of $261. I called the customer yesterday to inform her of this good news. However, she was unavailable but a voicemail message was left on her house phone informing her the check was in the mail.
With the check being mailed today to the customer, we consider this issue to be resolved.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
At this moment I am satisfied with the reimbursement of my funds. I received a check from Dayton Power and Electric in the amount of $261.00 on July 18, 2016.
Ms. ****** *****