Jon Yates’ “What’s Your Problem?” AB

Almost from the moment they moved in January 2011, Chris and Penny Hagan could tell there was something screwy about their ComEd bill.

For several months, they said, they received bills for both their new address in Downers Grove and their old address in Woodridge.

Chris Hagan said he spoke to the utility company several times and was promised things would be straightened out 

On the third call the conversation got a bit testy, he said.

“I think I ticked someone off because it was a simple switch,” he said. “I said, ‘This is the third time talking to you about getting my address straightened out.'”

The customer service agent seemed peeved, he said, but that seemed to do the trick. From that point on, Hagan no longer received bills for his old address, he said.

He had no idea that trouble was still brewing.

In February, Hagan received a call from ComEd saying he was delinquent in paying on a second account set up in his name — a business account in Downers Grove for which he owed $312.87.

A short time later, he received a bill from ComEd for the business account, and then a collection notice.

Confused, Hagan called the electric utility, which told him he had set up the account more than a year earlier, roughly the time he moved to Downers Grove. Hagan insisted he had done no such thing.

In fact, he said, he tried locating the address listed on the second account, 5700 Park Lane in Downers Grove, but could find no evidence it existed.

After going around and around with ComEd, Penny Hagan emailedWhat’s Your Problem?in mid-April.

“I’m actually emailing while I’ve been on hold for the last hour waiting again to speak to yet another supervisor,” she wrote.

Chris Hagan said he was considering taking ComEd to small claims court if it did not erase the $312.87 in charges.

“They told me (the account) was created online,” he said. “I never went online. I know that.”

The Problem Solver called ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson and forwarded her details of the Hagans’ complaint.

A short time later, ComEd called the couple and agreed to erase the charges. It also promised to remove Chris Hagan from collections.

Just what happened remains unclear.

“I’m at a zero balance and I will receive a statement with a zero balance,” Penny Hagan said. “As far as how it happened and why there’s an address (on the bill) that doesn’t exist, I wasn’t told.”

Late Monday night, ComEd issued this response: “We thank Ms. Hagan for bringing this issue to our attention and we apologize for any inconvenience this matter has caused. We began looking into this matter after receiving a call from Ms. Hagan. Our records show that Mr. Hagan originally signed up for service online at an address other than his own. It appears that Mr. Hagan likely typed in an incorrect address of a homeowners association which created the problem. We have informed Ms. Hagan that the charges to their account would be canceled — their account was credited today.”

Chris Hagan insists he did not transfer service online.

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Twitter @wyp_tribune

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About internalmarket

This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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