I was stupid enough to sign up with Universal Gas and Electric because they guaranteed my energy bills would...
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The fact is, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has already rescinded their license to invoice electrical service (see paragraph 4 above), and are in the process of revoking their natural gas license for possible ethics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!
Hi. I am having the same problem all of you have with this company. Seems like they lied and took money from...
The reason i'm writing this is this company is misleading people by promising lower monthly bills & saying our bill will not go up.Now my monthly bill has gone up a large amount.They also say we have 30 days to cancell,but i didn't recieve my first bill through them for about three months.After i realized what happened it's to late.Now i'm forced to pay a $250 dollars to get out of this contract. That's Wrong. Plus i called to get out of the contract and was told i have to write a letter and explain way i'm leaving and send the $ 250 check or money order. I don't fell comfortable sending them $250 dollars and then them not cancelling or saying they didn't get the money.
I signed a contract with Universal Gas & Electric with the understanding that I would be protected from...
I worked for Universal for 2 months. In the beginning, I was very motivated! The opportunity sounded great, the way they presented it. I wanted to run my own office in a few months, which is what they said would happen. I jumped out of the gate running! The first day-- they call "training"-- I went with a man that was very good at his job. I knew that I could be great, so I was excited to begin my new career. I soon found out that it was door-to-door sales & not much more. The only paycheck was $25 per signature, and there was bonus every week. At first, bonus was having your name drawn out of a coffee can,if your "production" per day met the right number to give you chances to get your name in the can.
They also told me that going on "road trips" was optional, but good experience. The word optional means "if you want to keep your job." The company takes $20 per night out of your next check, to help pay for gas and the lodging for the trip (even though we're out there making money for them.) We had to share a bed with another person to save them money, and many expenses had to be paid by the Team Leader up front, and they had to wait for a reimbursement check. The word paycheck was a dirty word, too. We had to get our checks (we were self-employed-- no workmen's comp or unemployment) from the office Manager. Not only was this a weekly barrage of excuses when the paycheck was different than the production for the week represented, but it was pointed out that I was not doing enough production to ensure that I'd get a check ( I had 3 weekly $0 paychecks in Dec 2007 alone ) When customers cancel, because they do have that option, we did not get paid for them, or they would be deducted from my almost nothing check (any commission job does this, to be fair )
They did get me a $500 advance (because I did not get paid for my deals) Thjey always blamed Consumers and Michcon, saying they did not process very many "because of the holidays."
I'm sure that someone moved through the program, but "The Man" in the Southfield office is still a Team-Leader after something like 18 months (and he's the example for success that everyone uses in training meetings.) I don't have 18 months and counting!!!