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Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 07/28/1993

Colorado Springs Utilities

Phone: (719) 448-4800

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Customer Complaints Summary

12 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 3 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Billing / Collection Issues10
Problems with Product / Service2
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints12

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (12)BBB Closure Definitions
01/02/2015Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
I called CSU on 12/19/2014 to apply over the phone but they can not process it so I was told to go to their main office. I went to the main office and was told that there was a freeze on my SS # with Experian. I am now in the process of unfreezing my SS #. Meanwhile, CSU is still threatening me with disconnection. I went again on 12/22/2014 with 4 valid picture IDs and my SS #, bank statement, insurance billing, marriage certificate and other documents with my name on it. I am willing to pay one year's utilities in advance if they are having a problem running a credit history. Four years ago, my late husband put a freeze on my SS # because Tricare, the military health care provider had their lap tops stolen. Unfortunately, my SS # was compromised. I had sent to Experian documents they need so they can give me a PIN # to unfreeze my SS #. They extended my service for another week but I feel that there is not enough time to unfreeze my Experian account.

Desired Settlement
I want a utilities account set up under my name without threat of disconnection. I am willing to pay ahead and I have documentation from my bank of my good credit history.

Business Response
We received the complaint from the customer and after conducting further research into the Experian credit report freeze process, we have determined that we are able to accept the customer's alternate identification in our Lobby. We have already met with the customer and have started services as of today. We are relooking at this policy to ensure we have the right process in place to allow the best possible start up experience while still ensuring our customer's security.

11/11/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
RE: Account **********
I've had service on for almost a year at my residence. Due to lack of monies, I have not paid a single payment. Now my utilities are off except for electric. I have an outstanding bill of approximately $3500.00. I know I should have taken care of this a long time ago, but with having an autistic daughter, a pregnant daughter, a roommate that is recovering from pneumonia with complications due to COPD and emphysema, and I myself have medical conditions which I am applying for disability, and being a single mom with so much going on in my life, I did not put forth the effort towards finding the monies to pay this bill. And CSU let me slide time and time again. Which I feel is wrong on their part. There are agencies that help, but not anywhere close to the amount owned. I asked about making payments, but all they will accept is the payment in full. My roommate is on oxygen 24/7 and cannot live without it. He does not have anywhere to go at the present time. All I'm asking for is a chance to make payments on this so we can have running water and heat again. My house has been condemned because of lack of running water. I strongly believe that CSU helped make this bill into the outrageous amount that is now owed. The employee who came out to disconnect commented that he had never seen a bill allowed to get that high. I can get almost a quarter of what I owe, and I would be willing to come in and make a payment if they would be willing to accept it. We are homeless and have to find a place to stay. I've asked again and again if they would accept payments. Their response is always no, full payment only will be accepted. Is there any way to resolve this so we can go back home?

Desired Settlement
Please work with me to make payment arrangements.

Business Response
Colorado Springs Utilities acknowledges the high balance on this account, however unfortunately at this time we are unable to extend any other payment arrangement options. Several attempts to work with the customer have been made over the past several months but the contingencies of those arrangements have not been fulfilled by the customer. As of 10/20, the account has received over $3700 in payments and the account is now current. Services are in process of being restored.

07/21/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Left apartment effective December 3, 2012. Went into the leasing office to complete paperwork and I requested we call Colorado Springs Utilities to transfer service. Made the call from the office and the representative stated all services were transferred over. When I received my disconnect notice on February 6th 2014 I was a little confused. I called into customer service was treated as a liar and was told that because they couldn't find a call on that date they couldn't help me. I asked to look at the usage prior to move out and look at it current and I was told the usage look like that of the place wasn't lived in. I requested to speak to a Supervisor and was told again that I was responsible for paying for the months I clearly wasn't there due to not finding a call or notes on the account. I was told to call the apartment complex and find out what number they called from and call back into customer service to see if they could then at that point find a call record. I clearly haven't been living there in fact no one has been living there.

Desired Settlement
Have December, January and February removed from my final bill.

08/06/2013Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Me and my husband recently filed bankruptcy. We have had extreme financial hardship. We moved to Colorado Springs and my husband called to set up service. They told my husband ***** there was a prior bill of 238 dollars. He informed them that is was included in our bankruptcy. They said this will be handled by the bankruptcy department. At this time of informing them of our bankruptcy at no point was a deposit requested. First bill was paid on time in the amount of 65 dollars. There was no other bill sent at this time. About three weeks later we received a disconnection notice stating that the utilities would be shut off on June 19.Both me and my husband called to resolve this issue. One lady I spoke to was very rude and demanded I pay the 238 dollars the same day I called. I told her that I did not have it. She said this amount was what the bankruptcy did not pay. In the case of a bankruptcy, this company should have been informed and not shown this amount being owed. My case was discharged several months ago. She said if she reports it to the bankruptcy department then they could charge us 922 dollars. I said yes please hold off on informing them. If it comes down to me paying 238 or 922, I would pay the 238. She was very rude and put me on hold, then I was hung up on. She then left my husband a message on his cell phone. She stated the law says that you can charge a deposit. I do not disagree with the law, however I do not understand why we were not informed of this upon the starting of service. Do they not have a policy on informing returning customers of deposits up front. There is someone in this company that decides the amount of the deposit. I have called and been very nice and asked if they can make the amount less than 922. They offered a payment plan over six months which means it's either pay the utility company or make my car payment. I asked to extend this out to a year and they refused. This money will not be returned to me until a year after I finish making payments. I am not proud of the fact I had to file bankruptcy. I was making payments to the collection agency to pay off this debt which can be checked until I was unable to make the rest of the payments, which left the amount owed of $238. I think that Colorado Springs Utilities should have very strict guidelines in letting the customer know up front the day the account is set up that they will be charged such a steep deposit. They were told the same day about the bankruptcy. Why was my husband not transferred and told this on the same day? I could have done something different at the time of my move to come up with this money, but now I am backed into a corner and have no choice but to pay the money which will cause me other financial hardship. There is someone in that company that can make the deposit any amount that they want. The lady my husband spoke to told him she would see what she could do in making it less. No efforts whatsoever were made to try to help us in this situation. All the sudden several weeks later they are demanding $1000 dollars. Most people can't just give over this much money on the spot. I would request that Colorado Springs Utilities take this complaint into consideration and lessen my deposit so that I can keep both my car and my utilities. I also request that in the future when someone calls for service that this company discloses the possibility of a steep deposit on those individuals that have already suffered a great hardship and had to file bankruptcy. Thank you for you time and understanding.

Desired Settlement
I request that Colorado Spring Utilities takes less of a deposit than 922 dollars. Being that I was not disclosed this deposit at the time of service and that they were informed of my bankruptcy, I would like to have no deposit required. This deposit was not disclosed upon the starting of service. At no point in the next year an a half will we ever get a bill reaching the amount of 922. Well before it reached this high of a an amount on our bill, they would be shut off my utilities. This is my permanent address. I am a college student attending PPPCC to become a Nurse and change my situation. My bill I just received was 190 dollars. This is for 1 month. If I was behind 3 months would they keep my utilities on? No they would be shut of and this would still be only $570 that I would owe. I feel I upset the lady in the credit department and she charged me the highest amount that she possibly could. My question being why do they charge an amount that will never be reached. I feel I am being unfairly treated and strong armed into paying money that I don't have. It would have been a different situation if I would have known before I started service that I would have to pay a deposit.I feel this amount is not fair. I feel an employee shouldn't use her anger towards me to treat me in an unfair manner. Being that my husband did disclose this bankruptcy to Colorado Springs Utility and they failed to mention this deposit, I feel they should waive my requested deposit in the amount of $922. Thank you.

Business' Initial Response
contacted our Service Center to start service at a new address. During the call the representative identified a past balance for the *****'s. Mr. ***** notified the representative of a bankruptcy that should have included this debt. We had no record of the bankruptcy on file. Mr. ***** was advised to send us the information about the bankruptcy, and we would address the write off balance.

The information pertaining to the bankruptcy was not received from Mr. ***** and was not passed along by the representative to the Credit Department to research. As a result the write off was transferred to the new account. This is our typical process for a customer that has a previous uncollected debt. On July 17th Ms. ***** called and provided the information for the bankruptcy and the write off was removed from the account. At this time Ms. ***** was informed a deposit would be added to the account.

When Colorado Springs Utilities is left with a previous debt from a customer, a deposit is assessed to the account. The deposit is calculated as four times the average bill for the address to where the customer is starting service. The purpose of the deposit is to secure the account for future services and is used on accounts when the applicant has left an account with a previous unpaid balance.

We had offered a six month payment extension to the *****'s to assist with paying the deposit. If the account is paid timely for 12 months the deposit will be refunded.

To follow up on this complaint the Manager of our Revenue Department was contacted to identify additional solutions available according to our policy and regulations. Ms. ***** and I spoke this afternoon, and we were able to determine a payment agreement for the deposit.I explained the reason for the deposit and how it impacts her account.She was understanding and appreciated the follow-up on her account.

05/29/2013Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Colorado Springs Utilities billed me for the water on the property when the whole two years my daughter and I paid the utilities on that property we don't pay the water portion . I pay the electric , and gas portion of the utilities only and I pay my bill monthly and in a timely manner if I needed any adjustment or extra time it was requested , and arranged by the utility company upon agreement and was paid on time and in a timely manner. My utilities as they were monitored were never higher than 250 in the winter , and 150 in the summer time when I moved to another address my daughter made it a point to start paying the utilities up in advance before we even started the moving process as we were aware that we would be moving long before we started the process so we were paying extra to bring the bill down to zero balance. Also to my knowledge when you move to another address as stated by the utility company you have to pay all of your previous balance before they will activate your services at your new adress . I paid the balance up only leaving a 200.00 dollar balance that wasn't due until the end of February and requested a shut off upon the balance being paid up they activated my new services at my new address and then turned around and sent me another bill for time that the services were supposed to be shut off at the old address for another month of service after I had requested a shut off the month prior to the transfer. My point being since the property was a foreclosure and they didn't know whom the owner was the just went ahead and sent the bill to me in with all due respect is not a appropriate action to take and not acceptable at all. I am a fifty year old lady with a disability and they have already taken my budget billing as they stated the rules require them to take the budget billing plan from me because I was moving to another address so that means I no longer qualified for the budget billing although I never missed a bill and was on time.

Desired Settlement
I would like a accurate bill dispersed so that I can pay my bill in a timely fashion . As well as I would like my budget billing back I do not think that I was treated fairly if someone would be so kind as to look into this matter it would be greatly appreciated . And in all due fairness since they tried to over bill me maybe they should pay the amount that was applied to my bill as a curiosity to me as a client of theirs and that it will be a learning lesson that mabey that will not happen to anyone else whom has a disability and is blind cannot se the bill as my daughter has truly been a blessing as to make sure i'm not being over billed I thank you all for your time with this matter as it is a blessing thank you and may god bless.

Business' Initial Response
To better understand the circumstance of the account we contacted ***** ********. On April 30th we received a return call from the daughter, ******* ********. ******* was aware of the concern that was submitted to the Better Business Bureau. A Supervisor from our Service Center went through the bills and payments with her. The confusion came when service was started at the new address and the balance from the previous address was still on the account. We explained it is not a requirement of Colorado Springs Utilities for a customer to have a zero balance for services to be started at a new address. Services can be moved from one address to another without having to wait for utility bills to be printed, mailed and paid before a new service is started. Ms. ******** was going to review her past bills and let us know if she has any questions. We will continue to work with them on the remaining account balance.

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04/30/2014Billing / Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
For 9 months I have been increasingly concerned about an ever rising cost in gas and purported gas usage at my home. A few months ago, I asked my son to call the COS Utilities to inquire about a possible gas leak or problem with the account. They said they could not look into it simply because his name was not on the account -- even though I provided him with all the pertinent "passcode" info for my account and gave him permission to call on my behalf.

Meanwhile....the gas usage was increased, yet again, in an "estimate" that was off the charts of any usage EVER in that home. My gas bill has been nearly $200 for months now, all on an "estimate" of 300 CCF usage each month. The ONLY appliance that uses gas in my home is the hot water heater.

In calling COS Utilities this morning, I learned that the actual "automated" meter reading for my home was 1653 -- but the estimated billing I received in August has it at 3329. That's 1676 CCF in overage charges and premium charges based on the rate tier.

To add insult to injury, in speaking with a representative today, I was told "...a representative has been trying to reach you since January...". NOT LIKELY!!!!! the phone number they have purportedly been "calling" me at forwards 100% of all messages to my cell phone and is an IP phone number with unlimited messaging capability. NO ONE EVER CALLED OR LEFT A MESSAGE FROM COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES AND I HAVE THE INCOMING CALL LOGS TO PROVE IT.

Desired Settlement
I want 3 things:

1. A written apology that includes an explanation of events that resulted in this egregious situation of overbilling based on a mythical "estimate" that was approved by staff over many, many months without questions, concerns, or so much as sending a meter reader to my home to verify the meter reading for 9 months straight.

2. A retraining plan for COS Utilities billing staff that includes appropriate procedural and approval changes that prevents this from occurring again to me or any other customer.

3. A refund for the overage amount on the meter reading.

Business Response

We have contacted ********** about her complaint with Colorado Springs Utilities. The meter at her property was not functioning properly and needed to be replaced. The meter has been exchanged and a correction to the bill has been completed.

We discussed the concerns she has with the process we used to manage her account while the meter was not functioning. She is not satisfied with the service we provided. Upon reviewing her account we could have done a better job in communicating with her. Her concerns will be communicated to the teams involved, and we will make changes to our practices based on her feedback.

A refund is being issued. ********** shared her expectations, and I will continue to investigate and answer her concerns. We appreciate the feedback and apologize for the frustration.


Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
While the response goes a long way towards admitting some level of culpability in the matter at hand, it seems to diminish the situation to a simple "...not functioning properly and needed to be replaced..." with little to no admission of how egregious the situation truly was. It was "not functioning" (according to COS) for over 9 months. In that interim, they escalated the estimated amount due to an incredibly high monthly rate causing financial harm to me and even threatening to shut off utilities when I fell short in paying the outrageous sum during one month. In fact, while the problem was "being solved" and there were already credits on my account, I received yet another shut-off notice (followed the next day by a refund due notice).

At this point, I have not received the refund check for the substantial amount due me from this past year's overpayments. While they are working on the refund, it is truly a little too late to make me a happy customer at this point. I will be watching my monthly COS bills like a hawk from here on out and will NOT tolerate estimated usage or pay on it in the future.

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

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