Universal Gas questions answered

Full story: WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan

By Henry Erb GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- When East Grand Rapids home owner Ed Miller got his first Universal Gas and Electric heating bill he decided he wanted to cancel his new supplier because the price was higher ...
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1 - 20 of 60 Comments Last updated Apr 5, 2008
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Laura in Kentwood

Grand Rapids, MI

#1 Mar 11, 2008
Not only did I sign up for Universal,I invited the young lady in, while I looked over the contract reading it thoroughly along with reviewing my last 4 statements from DTE. Knowing what this economy holds for not just our state but this country, I honestly saw the savings potential and continue to do so.
Scot_S

Springfield, OH

#2 Mar 11, 2008
I was approached by a sales person from Universal this past fall and did not appreciate his sales tactic. He was confusing and unclear what his relationship was with DTE intially--I felt such a presentation could very easily take advantage of people who do not ask enough questions or make the assumption Universal IS the gas company with a "cheaper" rate plan. Thankfully, I declined their "generous" offer to save money over the next 5 years!
Davey C

Amelia Court House, VA

#3 Mar 11, 2008
"When Target 8 Investigators first reported the story customers were complaining about sales tactics and some former sales people said they had misled customers. Company officials said that would violate Universal's code of conduct."

So what did Matt Davis with Universal have to say about that? Does he even think that maybe the company ought to look in to the false claims made by his salespeople? Does he even think that maybe the company should hold itself accountable for the claims made by its representatives?

Doubt it.

The Universal dude also says that gas prices could rise past the $1.05 per-hundred-cubic-feet five-year Universal contract price next winter. Yet WOODTV's guru says that DTE prices could go as high as 95 cents. Well, that's still less that Universal's price. Where's the bargain?

Then the 64 Thousand Dollar Question:

But can customers be sure that prices will go up high enough for them to save money over the life of the five-year Universal contract? "Well, no, nobody can guarantee that any customer is going to save," he said.

Universal is a scam.
Krista

Ionia, MI

#4 Mar 12, 2008
This group does not take no for an answer. We have not been bothered during the winter months but we were bothered by door to door sales people for Universal Electric more times than I can count.I would tell them we have already been contacted, we are not interested. Only to find two days later another person from this company would come by our house to try to get us to sign up. When I would tell them there was already a person 2 days before them who stopped, they would say ok we will make sure we put you on the list of not being interested. I honestly do not believe that there is such a list.
We almost fell for their scam, but my husband said there was no way he would sign up with them since when we called to ask questions no one could answer our questions.
I appreicate Target Team 8 for investigating this further for those of us who almost went with them.
Thank-you.
MIKE

Plainwell, MI

#5 Mar 12, 2008
MY WIFE SIGNED ME UP FOR UNIVERSAL WITH OUT ME KNOWING ABOUT IT. I HAVE INSTALLED 5000.00 WORTH
OF BRAND NEW WINDOWS AND INSULATED IN DECEMBER07.
SURE GLAD I DID TO MY AVERAGE BILL IS AROUND
365.00 AMONTH WITH UNIVERSAL. NICE. PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN DOUBLE IF I HADN'T. I'LL
PROBABLY PAY THE 250.00 TAKE MY LOSSES AND TELL
THEM TO KISS MY @3%.YOU WOULD THINK OUR ELECTED
OFFICIAL WOULD LOOK INTO THIS GIVEN THE STATES
SITUATION. HEY I'LL TELL YOU HOW TO UN DO THE
ECONOMY. PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND THE REST WILL TAKE CARE OF ITS SELF,AT GOOD JOBS.
lmg

Grand Rapids, MI

#6 Mar 12, 2008
My daughter has taken over the utilities, she did not sign a contract with Universal. She is receiving gas from DTE.
They continue to call harrassing her. How can we get them to stop?
Mike

United States

#7 Mar 12, 2008
They let us out of our contract without the $250 charge. The man that came to our door flat out lied to me though. After talking to 5 people at Universal, and telling the story 5 times, they finally let me out. Be persistent, and try to stay calm. They were the rudest customer service I have ever worked with.
Richard

Brazil

#8 Mar 12, 2008
You people will all get out of your contracts when the gas prices go to say $1.25/ccf. The company will be losing money big time and will file for bankruptcy and go out of business. Just wait and see. I feel sorry for all who signed up with this obviosly crooked company.
Jeff

Durham, NC

#9 Mar 12, 2008
My wife also signed us up for this great savings plan with Universal. We unfortunately payed the $250 to cancel, which was on January 4th. When our next gas bill came in February, we were still paying the higher cost. After hours on the phone with both Universal and DTE, we gave up. Both companies calling each other a liar.
sharon of grand rapids

Byron Center, MI

#10 Mar 12, 2008
They ar a-holes, I'm sure all this publicity is hurting them and I don't feel sorry for them. They do not treat their customers fairly at all. I never have dealt with a compnay like this before and I have learned my lesson about dis-honest sales people. I still can't believe this State can't do anything about it. With our loss of jobs, the Michigan economy, this is a joke. I'm mad as H-- that I was lied to, they are so cruel when you speak to them. They should treat their customers the same whether their on disability or not. This company will be going down sooner of later with all the publicity. Yeah. They deserve to go down. Thanks for screwing with Michigan
Nikole

Allendale, MI

#11 Mar 12, 2008
Just last week, my contract was canceled thanks to 3 attempts at contacting Universal and a formal complaint with the Michigan Public Service Commission. I've been trying to get this taken care of since the first week in January, I hit many snafus including no record in my file of ever talking to a manager when I first called Universal. Regardless of what this man is predicting these costs will be in the future, they tactics are deceitful and misleading. Stay Away!
Davey C

Amelia Court House, VA

#12 Mar 12, 2008
Can you say, "Chicken Little?" Remember Y2K? Everybody was afraid that it would be the end of the world. Computers crashing, power grid failing, the whole world going haywire. More generators were purchased that year than in the previous 20 years. Did anything happen?

What this company amounts to is fear mongering. Mr. Davis says on the one hand that gas prices will go up past the $1.049 per ccf. Yet on the other hand, he says that there is no guarantee that customers will save money during the life of the contract.

The fact is that NO ONE can adequately predict the future of anything, including DTE, the Mercantile Exchange, or Mr. Davis. Until a crystal ball is invented that gives us the future, I will simply live in the present and observe companies like Universal for the scams that they are.
T Miller

Sun Prairie, WI

#13 Mar 12, 2008
This company is as shady as they come and every can agree that there customer service is definitely lacking. I am still trying to get a reply from there customer service department via email since they won't talk to you on the phone about cancellations. You have to Mail, Email, or Fax them your request to cancel and wait 10 days.

Surprising though no one has thrown out the option of filing a class action law suit against them. I mean seriously over 400 people are complaining about this companies grotesque business marketing, Microsoft just got sued again for putting a sticker on their computers that wasn't 100% true, I think if enough of us got together and voiced our discontent someone is going to have to be held accountable whether UG&E wants to or not.
Jamie

Grand Rapids, MI

#14 Mar 12, 2008
I too was taken advantage of by Universal Gas & Electric. Although they have already gotten me to sign their contract they still nock at my door every other day starting in September 2007 until this present day March 13, 2008. From what it looks like Universal targets alot of housing communities where there are young adults who are new to the utilities business, people of different cultures who do not understand or speak english well, or elderly people who may not quite understand every aspect of these contracts. Not only are Universal making money from these rediculous prices but also from people canceling their accounts who are forced to pay $250 dollars. Universal is still bothering people at late hours about signing up with them. Being that I do not get home until 9pm most nights, and that is around the time Universal nocks at my door. Universal knew that the way they go about contracting new customers is a the best way because they cover their tracks. After signing a contract with them you are harassed by a phone representative until you tell them you understand...This phone representative will repeatedly call your phone until they speak with you. After that you are suppose to recieve a letter which I never did but in the letter it tells you that you have 30 days to cancel which most people dont cancel because the changes do not show up on their gas bill for a couple months. Which is after their cancelation period, needless to say Universal knows what they are doing. Universal did not make anyone including me sign these contracts against our wills but they did prey on people they knew would not understand all the aspects of their services. I was told by their representative that I was not switching companies but when I look at my bill I have to pay Universal as well as DTE because I am using DTE's equiptment for Universal gas. I hope this helps someone because now I see that I am not the only one fighting them.
Lisa in Walker

Amelia Court House, VA

#15 Mar 12, 2008
I am glad to hear that some are getting out of their contracts thanks to the MPSC.

Aside from marrying my husband, the best decision I ever made was to cancel my Universal contract after the first day.

I wish that more people paid attention to their bills. If we all paid as much attention to what we pay for natural gas as we did for gasoline, Universal wouldn't have ever had a chance here.
old_timer

United States

#16 Mar 12, 2008
LOL, as the old saying goes, caviat emptor. Or when it sounds to good to be true....come on people wise up.
old_timer

United States

#17 Mar 12, 2008
Oh I forgot another one. A fool and his money soon parts.
Julie

Cross Village, MI

#18 Mar 12, 2008
Rotten crooks! Weren't they the ones that let an 90 some year old woman freeze to death?
Lisa in Walker

Amelia Court House, VA

#19 Mar 12, 2008
Julie wrote:
Rotten crooks! Weren't they the ones that let an 90 some year old woman freeze to death?
No, that was a different company.

http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp...
Joyce

East Lansing, MI

#20 Mar 12, 2008
In desperation to cancel and get it over with I agreed to pay $250 and gave them my credit card number over the phone to get it done. This is, I think the word is, extortion. It is so illegal, and I don't know what else to do, except watch that card for odd charges in the future.

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