Jeanette is so disenchanted with Direct Energy that she posted a public warning, “Buyer Beware!!!” Three exclamation marks to Direct Energy’s credit for not honoring what they offered at first which was to completely replace a defective heating system if that were to occur.
She was clear that her “plan” was “supposed to cover replacement costs.” She was under the impression that this meant complete replacement cost but legalese is a strange animal. In the Direct Energy contract if it does not say “complete replacement cost” then this is how they can sell you something that has the impression of something else.
It may be that Direct Energy never intended to give off the impression that the whole heater would be replaced for the cost of the plan but as you can see the customer definitely thought so. I wonder why she thought this and what the original sales copy or sales phone call looked and sounded like.
Direct Energy Protection So Nice Sounding an Energy Broker Would Sign Up For It
A lot of people (me included) would sign up for a Direct Energy electric rate plan if it covered replacement of my air conditioner or furnace when it goes out. As you can see these fringe benefits are often offered to entice you into a plan that may just be so-so but that added benefit is just enough to get you to order service.
In Jeanette’s situation her heater started to malfunction and it was a goner and needed to be replaced. She was told by Carlos that she would need a new furnace and that she would need to be the one to call around and find a company to put in her new furnace.
She was told by Carlos that rather than her furnace being completely covered by the protection plan that she would have to buy the furnace, give the receipt to Direct Energy and they would compensate her, $500.
Support Rep’s of Direct Energy, Wires Crossed
A far cry from the promise of an entire new heating system when told she would only get $500. To make matters worse when she called back into Direct Energy to let them know her progress on finding a company to buy and install a furnace a guy named Chris said she was not supposed to go look for companies to buy and install her furnace but go through Direct Energy for that.
Sounds like these heating protection plans probably don’t get activated very often and the Direct Energy reps on the phone don’t have the knowledge of what to do readily on their mind or in their knowledge base.
A Sweet Deal or Re-(Direct)ion to Keep You Interested
Like most retail electric providers in Texas there is often some type of thing to sweeten the deal to order electric service. The price might be a little higher but you get vacation rewards or perhaps a new heater if yours breaks.
Pet Insurance With My Electric Plan, You Serious?
Some electric companies offer pet insurance or a plan that gives you various coupons to places you may frequent. In a lot of these promotional offers that sweeten the electric rate plan they end up not being worth the paper they are printed on.
The cost of these free add-ons have already been calculated and so if it is free there is a reason it is free and that is because nobody actually gets much from these add-on promotions. There is a lot of fine print in the end and it may not exactly match up with the impression you first got from the glossy advertising representation.
Jeanette may have to send her heating furnace to the dump but it sounds like she is going to have to come up with most of the cost to replace her furnace. Hopefully she was able to get a receipt and submit it to Direct Energy and at least get the $500 reimbursement.
Donny has been writing about the deregulated energy markets since early 2007. His knowledge has helped consumers lower their electricity cost.