First Choice Power is a RIPOFF; Does not work with Customers, Lies to Customers, Overbills, Threatens "Switch Holds" For even Minor Payment Arrangements! Stay AWAY! Houston, Texas
I came to First Choice Power in July after experiencing a rate increase with my last electricity provider and I paid the bill ON TIME every month until in November I noticed that I did not receive a bill. I waited for the bill and waited but it still showed a zero balance. So I called into First Choice and spoke with an agent and asked him how much was my November bill. He placed me on hold for quite some time and then came back and stated that due to a recent merger First Choice Power had with Direct Energy they realized that some customers had been charged a deposit when they should not have and that instead of cutting me a check for the amount they decided to simply take it off the bill. The two figures equaled and therefore, I would not be receiving a bill for November. He finished the call by saying "You've Lucked Up"!
Two weeks after this conversation where I was told I would not have a bill for November due to the deposit being deducted from it, I then received an inflated bill for two months of service!! I was confused (naturally one would be) and I called back into First Choice Power and asked why did I receive a bill for two months of service when I was told my November balance had been taken care of. I was then told the man I spoke to didn't know what he was talking about and that they could not bill me for November due to "System Integration" and that instead decided to bill me both months the next month.
This was NUTS.. So here I was after paying other bills with the extra money now being told I needed to pay TWICE the amount. First Choice agents were rude, did not seem to care that THEIR MISTAKE caused all of this and I asked to speak to a manager who told me the most time she could give me extra was 15 days.
I said Ok. So then she stated before she made the arrangement she would have read a verbatim. I said ok. She then proceeded to tell me that by accepting this agreement for a payment arrangement (again caused by their OWN MISTAKE) I would have to agree to have a "Switch Hold" placed on my account which would bar me from ever being able to access electricity anywhere else in exchange for the agreement. I said NO FREAKING WAY.
I have lived in Texas for several years and have been with other electricity providers and have never even heard of a "Switch Hold". Who in their right minds would even agree to have their rights to change companies taken from them! I can't believe Texas is allowing this and it seems to go against Free Market principles. First Choice Power is in effect Holding People HOSTAGE!
The woman I spoke to told me that First Choice "Had to Protect Themselves" and make sure people don't "Run Off" and my response to her was First Choice is a business and a business assumes certain risks and I have never heard of any electrical provider holding someone hostage (I didn't know they could do that even) until they extract payment. That means that families could never go to any other provider and would be tied to the hip with First Choice. Why force people into switch holds when they are seeking a BASIC TWO WEEK PAYMENT EXTENSION ON A BALANCE THAT IS $60.00!?
It seems like a Shady way to do business. I didn't like the sound of it and told the lady NO WAY.
I'm now looking for another electricity provider. Something doesn't seem right about this. As I stated, I was with my previous electrical provider for years and there were times I needed payment arrangements and I was never forced into switchholds. They simply assisted me.
Last, I googled "Switch Holds" to get more information on them and ALAS! GUESS WHAT CAME UP! Yep. You guess it. About Four spots down the name FIRST CHOICE POWER COMPLAINTS going all the way back to 2008 from people complaining about missed bills and Switch Holds.
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