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Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 01/23/2007

Minnesota Energy Resources

Phone: (800) 889-9508Fax: (651) 423-3306

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Customer Complaints Summary

7 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 3 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Billing / Collection Issues4
Problems with Product / Service3
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints7

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (7)BBB Closure Definitions
06/27/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Credit, Billing or Collection Complaint Issue

Complaint: Unclear billing regarding payment plan resulted in the company canceling the plan. Customer service agent did not adequately clarify when asked.
Minnesota Energy Resources extends payment plans to persons who request them under their terms and conditions, which are understandable and reasonable. However, their billing practices leave a significant deficit in customers' ability to understand which which amount is being requested and when that payment is due. Payment plans are made by customer service agents with customers verbally and customers agree to them verbally. Amounts due under the payment plan are due on an agreed date. Mine were agreed to be due on the 11th of each month in the amount of $66 until the past due amount was settled, along with current charges. I called the company approximately four weeks ago to verify what amount would be due on 5/11/14. I followed through and paid based on the information I received. However, according to a call I placed today, what I paid on 5/11 did not include a current charge I that I was told I already paid, and I am in default on my payment plan.
Minnesota Energy Resources could do customers a great service by issuing bills that also contain information about amounts that are due under the payment plan agreement. In their present billing procedures, these total amounts are lacking, leading to confusion about actual amounts due. Their bills are not user friendly or customer-focused. To attempt to gain clarity about amounts due and when, the customer must resort to phoning Minnesota Energy Resources and speaking with one of their agents. It is my experience that even then, customer service agents do not adequately inform the customer about the full details of their obligation. After making good faith efforts to understand what was due and when, I was informed this morning that my service would be cut off unless I could produce the entire past due amount today. I had apparently underestimated my last payment even after calling the company and attempting to be informed before making my 5/11 payment.
This misunderstanding could have been avoided had Minnesota Energy Resources made a good faith effort to make their bills clear and readable, make them contain information about customers' obligations under payment plans, and contain the total amount that is due and the date it is due. At the present time, none of this is true. It is unfair to customers to be forced to call the company to ask what the actual amount and actual due date is, and then be confused by unclear information given by well-intentioned agents who nonetheless do not communicate optimally and do not adequately verify that the customer understands what they have attempted to communicate.
This lack of clarity in billing which forces customers to phone the company to establish amounts due is unique to Minnesota Energy Resources. In my experience, no other company excludes total amounts due from its bills, and then withdraws services from customers based on their inability to understand absent information. It is probable that others have also suffered the deficit of their billing practices. I would urge Minnesota Energy Resources to devise bills that contain actual amounts due and when. Many companies strive to make bills clear, complete, and easy to understand. They believe that in so doing, they build and maintain good relations with their customers and serve their own interests as well as those of their customers. If Minnesota Energy Resources embraced user-friendly billing practices, they could accomplish similar goals.

Initial Business Response
Our customer servicerep has spoken directly with ********. The payment plan was explained to her and we believe she fully understands this time. We have her making a payment of $70.00 this week to avoid shut off. Then for the next 3 months she has a payment plan of $66.00 plus her current bill due starting in July. We also informed her that if she breaks her payment arrangements again she will not have an option again for payments if she gets behind.

Complaint Resolution: Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.

07/02/2013Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Credit, Billing or Collection Complaint Issue

Complaint: One dozen phone calls, no calls back, call center says a supervisor will call back in 24 hours - Has not yet - been two weeks.
I am writing in regards to the terrible service I am receiving from your local Minnesota Energy Resource Agency, from both the call center to the local office. The people I have dealt with are wonderful, it is the actual company folks who are not doing their jobs.

On April 12, 2013 I received a bill for $452.84 for the month of March, that bill was three times higher than usual. I placed a call on April 14th to (800) 889-9508 and they said they would have someone over in two days to read the meter and to call back. Three days later I called back and they said they did not get to it, and to call back in two days, I called back, and they still had been unable to read the meter. On or around the 20th I called again and was told no one was going to get to reading my meter due to the bad snow storms and all the other issues that were more important than mine. Each time I have called I have been asked to call be in two days.

On approximately the 23rd of April I called (again) and was told that my meter had been read and it was reading fine, so that the gas leak must me in my house and I was advised to evacuate the premises immediately (almost 10 days later from my first call in). **** the technician/gas man came to my home within an hour of my phone call and checked both my gas appliances (furnace and hot water heater) and there was no leak. He then proceeded to read my meter and called it in and it was way off. He gave the new numbers and said I would probably be getting a refund as I had sent in the full $452.84.

April 25, 2013: Letter from MER to inform me that no errors were found with my account and there
would not be any adjustments made.
April 29, 2013: Bill from MER stating that I now had a $298.90 Credit
May 1, 2013: Bill for $174.12
May 5, 2013: I called and they said no that was a bad meter read ant that I had a credit of $298.90
May 21, 2013: Letter came saying there was an error and a discrepancy on my bill and it would be
corrected.
May 21, 2013: Bill saying I had a $45.35 credit
June 3, 2013: Bill saying I owe $261.84.
June 7, 2013: I called in and spoke to ****** and she said someone would read the meter on Tuesday
(11th) and to call back on Wednesday (12th)
June 12, 2013: I called and spoke to ***** - she said meter was read and if I had a problem with what it
said she could send a technician out to take the meter back and that I would have to pay to have you
check it out. I stated this was an ongoing problem and I did not think I should have to pay - I
explained that last issues and she said that there was nothing she could do. I asked to speak to a
supervisor, and she put me on hold for 12 minutes, and then came back and said no supervisors were
available at that time and that one would call me back shortly.
June 13, 2013: as no supervisor had called me back from the previous day, I called in at approximately
9:00am and spoke to ** who said supervisor do not call back that quickly and that it would be 24
hours before I heard from one. He said my meter read was at 9821, (I read my meter at 0842).
I asked were the nearest public office for MER was so that I could go and talk to someone in person,
and he said there is not one, that there was not one in person I could speak to. ** said my meter had
been read on May 26 at 9821)
June 17, 2013: Guess what? Still no supervisor has called me back!! I called in and spoke to **** at
about 12:30pm. He said there were notes on my file and that they had been sent to our local office,
but he would resend them again stating 'urgent' and that I should hear within 24 to 36 hours from a
supervisor. He also said my meter had been read on 6-11-13 at 9841.
(My meter read for today was 0855)
June 19, 2013: I called again at 2:00pm as NOONE has called me back!! I spoke with *******, she said she
Could see from the notes on my file I had called in many times an

Business' Initial Response
Our customer service associate spoke with the ****** ****. After digging into her account we are going to exchange out the customer's meter for testing, at no charge to the customer, due to the errors during her last three meter reads. Customer was happy to hear from the local office. We will follow up with the customer until the meter is exchanged and she is satisfied.

Complaint Resolution: Company resolved the complaint issues. The consumer acknowledged acceptance to BBB.

04/02/2013Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Customer Service Complaint Issue

Complaint: failed to respond to complaint letters.
I have sent this company 2 letters asking for their employees to quit jumping over my fence from the street to get to the meter for their readings, and for jumping the fence between driveways.
My fence has been damaged by others.
Minnesota Energy has failed to fix this problem.
They Have ignored me.

Business' Initial Response
We attempted to reach customer 3 times on 3/20 and 3/21/13. Sent him an email on 3/21 asking him to call us. He did call and left us a message telling us it wasn't necessary to call him back...just stay off his fence. On 3/21 we emailed him back and told him we'd note the account to stay off the fence. We have noted the Itron units used by the meter readers as well telling them to stay off the fence. We have noticed that based on the last two times the customer called to complain, our meter readers were not at his property. His calls to our call center came in 9 days after we read the gas meters.

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

02/03/2012Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Failure to correct billing errors

Complaint: Refusal to Correct billing after services were ask to be disconnected on 03-23-2011. Home was moved on 03-25-2011 and placed on new ground that day.
I have made multiple calls over the last 10 months to figure out why the service provider Minnesota Energy did not disconnect services when the call was made to them in regards to the Account Number ********* on 03-23-2011. We have been getting charged $7.93 for services never used and have ask to pay the balance of $492.53 They have told us that we are responsible for the full amount of $571.83 that is due. We moved our home on 03-25-2011 and requested services to be stopped on 03-23-2011. Instead I have been told that they have no calls recorded and no logs of this call happening. I am trying to make a payment arrangement for the balance that I know I owe of $492.53 . The company Minnesota Energy has charged me $7.93 for the last 10 months and refuses to make the proper adjustments they just keep adding and adding to the bill. We have been living in ********** since 03-28-2011 and we still have not been able to get our bill paid or the proper adjustments made as requested. They have however been harassing me for 10 months to pay the bill or it will go to a collection agency. By them not taking prompted action on making the adjustments that are not my fault they are making my credit go negative. This is not the way I expected a company like Minnesota Energy to treat their past, present, or future customers. I only hope that other customers will take action and file a complaint with BBB like I have for the wrongful doings by Minnesota Energy.

Business' Initial Response
Today,Jan. 20, 2012, MERC contacted ********** in an attempt to work out an acceptable arrangement with his past due account balance. He would not allow us to speak with him. He said mail payment arrangements in writing and then abruptly ended the call. His narration to the BBB states he made multiple calls to us. We record all incoming calls and note any customer contact with us in the customer's account history. We have no record of any calls made since 10/12/10. On May 25, 2011 a MERC tech went to the customer's address to disconnect service for non-payment and discovered his mobile home had already been removed from the property. MERC has no history of a call being made to request disconnection of gas service. The monthly $7.93 charge is a customer service fee not a usage fee. Per **********'s request, we will remove the $79.30 charges on his account. He has a remaining balance due of $492.53. He will be receiving a final bill, being sent to his *********** address. If you wish we will put this same information in writing to **********.

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

06/03/2014Problems with Product / Service
Page 1 of 2
05/21/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services

Complaint: Rep failed to update my payment information and resulted in disconnect of service. Poor Customer Service.
My services were interrupted because customer service rep i spoke to in March failed to update my payment . Called Friday morning to update payment information and was told that someone was to be out between 8-4 to get service reconnected. I asked for a specific time and they were not willing to provide one for me. I stayed home all day from work and left the side door open and noone came. I called back at 3:30 to see when someone would be out and they told me that someone was already out and the door was locked and they will not be back until Tuesday and someone was to give me a call when out. My side door doesn't lock and I truly believe that the technician never showed up. It is unreasonable that I've been out of gas all weekend when someone could have provided me with a reasonable time to come out.

Initial Business Response
We've reviewed this complaint and have found that our technicians followed the process. This account has been disconnected on numerous occasions for NPR. As is standard practice, this customer was more than adequately warned of the impending disconnect of their gas service. It was only after the disconnect that the customer contacted us at approximately 8am on Friday May 2nd. Our technician arrived at 10am, knocked on multiple doors which were all locked. A tag was filled out and left on their door telling them of our attempt. The Same technician arrived to reestablish gas service on Tuesday May 6th. He informed the customer of his attempts to complete this call previously. The technician remembered that there was a car in the driveway that had California license plates, proving that he had been at the correct address. Customer was satisfied and service was restored.

Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I am not satisfied as it was the company's fault that the payment was not properly processed. MER states that it records every call. If they listen to my calls, I called an updated my payment form and it was not properly updated. That is why the services were disconnected.

Final Business Response
We requested the voice recording when the customer called the call center on 3-7-14. The customer did make a payment by check. He gave the call center the routing number for his checking account. Proper payment was applied until the check bounced due to NSF. There was no more response from customer until we locked the meter on 5-2-14.

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that while the company addressed the complaint issues, the complainant was dissatisfied and the matter was outside BBB Rules of Arbitration.

Industry Comparison| Chart

Natural Gas Companies

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