Universal Gas & Electric / Door to door sales scam to pay 26% more for natural gas
I interviewed for a job with the Canada based company, Universal Gas & Electric (UGE) in May of 2008, at their behest. I was assured that this was a one on one interview, but was actually a cattle call presentation (Lie #1). Due to deregulation in Michigan, they are able to charge you for residential & commercial natural gas that you receive either through Detroit Edison or Consumers Energy if you agree and sign a long term contract with them. The UGE charge appears on your normal Detroit Edison or Consumers bill, only replacing the “Gas Cost Recovery Charge” line item on your statement; the “Distribution Charge” will remain on your statement (currently .2047¢ from Consumers Energy).
UGE only "sells" a five year locked in plan that is substantially higher than what is currently billed through the aforementioned utilities. At the time of my interview, my “Gas Cost Recovery Charge” billed through Consumers Energy was .92152¢/ccf – UGE was at $1.14/ccf
During the course of their presentation I asked a question regarding the fact that for 40 minutes the presenter (Rob Watson, Regional Manager) only spoke about billing for natural gas - what about electrical billing? Mr. Watson stated that the MPSC only issues a 2 year license for electrical billing, which was contrary to UGE’s 5 year locked in plan, so UGE “opted out” of electrical service billing in Michigan.
So, how do you “sell” a product, door to door, that is 26% higher than what the customer is currently paying? UGE conveniently leaves that up to their 1099’d (http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0, , id=99921, 00.html) sales staff.
According to UGE, if you use their "Proven Sales Techniques" you can earn "Six figures within the first three weeks". Mr. Watson further explained that the whole sales process should take about 5, but certainly no longer than 10 minutes or “you’re wasting your time.” UGE does not provide protected sales territories, but instead recruits "Sales Managers" to flood the market - an unlimited number of UGE 1099'ers could converge on your home or business in one day. Amongst other things, their “sales techniques” includes throwing in the volatility of OPEC, i.e. $4/gal gasoline, into the sales pitch to the potential customer.
The fact is, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has already rescinded their license to invoice electrical service (see paragraph 4 above), and are in the process of revoking their natural gas license for possible ethics violations related to the sales techniques of their 1099'd door to door sales staff. This is public information at the MPSC website – Case #’s U-15577 & U-15509 (http://www.michigan.gov/mpsc).
The full complaint that the MPSC filed against Universal Gas & Electric can be found at: http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/mpsc/orders/gas/2008/u-15509etal_05-20-2008.pdf.
You can file a complaint with the MPSC at: http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/mpsc/gas/gascomplaint.htm
Or by calling [protected] (from within Michigan) or [protected] (from outside of Michigan).
A simple internet search will turn up thousands of consumer complaints from Canada to the USA. My grandfather used to call company’s such as these “Boiler Room Operations!