BLP billing mistake

A recent billing glitch at the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power has some customers scratching their heads.
Alex Doty
Jul 18, 2013

 

Some customers who are on the municipal utility's automatic payment program recently received notices that they would be subject to late fees and penalties because they hadn’t paid their bill.

The utility's controller, Kristin Kratt, said there was a blunder with a company that handles withdrawals for the BLP. She said the company failed to make the withdrawals from customers' accounts and bills were reported as being unpaid.

Kratt said that normally a file is sent from the Grand Haven utility to the billing company, and it bills customers’ bank accounts accordingly.

“That file wasn’t sent, so the payments weren’t pulled,” she explained.

According to Kratt, the mishap isn’t impacting customers who have auto-pay accounts through the utility's website, or for people who make one-time payments.

“It’s a large inconvenience for customers, and we recognize that,” she said.

Kratt said they aren’t yet sure how many customers were impacted by the billing glitch or how much money is involved. As a result, the utility is unable to automatically reimburse customers who were erroneously charged a late fee.

“Unfortunately, we’re not able to go in automatically and waive those late fees,” Kratt said.

She said the utility is working to obtain the list of impacted customers from the third party company in order to contact them and correct the problem.

In the meantime, Kratt encourages customers who received late notices to contact the utility to correct the situation and have the late fee waived.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Comments

Zegota

The municipalities must have the control and last say in having customers charged a late fee, for it is the local government that is responsible to the people. Peace.

truthhurts

Should charge BLP a fee for the hassle. They make us pay for our mistakes, they should pay for theirs

Vast Right Wing...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks.

truthhurts

yep...thats why i pay my bill the old fashion way....harder for them to screw it up. Plus I won't trust them or anyone with my account info for direct withdraw.

bigdeal

I agree with truth, no account info nor direct withdraw. That opens you up for too many possible problems.

mike

This is NOT an isolated incident, this has happened 2 times within the last year, and they do not let you know. They only way to get the fee waived is for you to call... Something is definitely messed up with their system. Its called AUTO pay for a reason... it has become more of a headache.

ghgirl83

The story I was told by BLP was that this was for CHASE bank customers only and Chase was the one who went in an pulled all the payments after they had been sent in for the month. THe statement over and over was "Chase's fault not BLP's". I asked then why were all the customer's who payments were rejected not notified by phone or mail other than a late payment on our next months bill. When I went to Chase to make sure I had received my refund to my account they informed me the BLP changed the terms of the auto payment from 2 days to 5 days in length, and there wasn't any communication on this change to the banks that allow auto pay. This then took all the May Month payments and sent them back. The funny part about this is it didn't send the funds back to our accounts until our June Payment was due.
When I was trying to get clarification from BLP of the situation I was greeted with very below par customer service. and a blame game on the banks was all I could get them to say. with excuse that they service XXX amount of customers they don't have the resources to manage something like this when it was the banks fault.

BLP will remove the late charge just make sure you ask to have it removed.

I have had several issues over the last few years with BLP and customer service there seems to get worse everytime. I work in customer service and if I was to speak in the tone and manner in which some of their associates do I would be fired.

SignalMaintainer

Yup, a couple years back, I had service through BLP at a home I was renting. When I moved, I did the proper thing, and notified them that I would no longer need service through them. I paid the final amount due according to the clerk at the office, in person.

I thought all was well until I started getting calls from a debt collector six months later.

Turns out, even though I cancelled service, and someone else was already moved into the house and had service in their name, BLP was still charging me for the new tenants electrical use; during this time I did not receive any bills or notice, and since I cancelled service the proper way, everything was just fine.

I still have a derogatory mark on my report for $123 in electrical usage that was not mine. Trying to talk it through with someone at BLP is useless. They admitted there was a mistake, but would not fix it. They also said that since the debt was already sold to a debt collector, there was absolutely nothing they could do to reverse the negative mark on my credit report.

At this point I disputed the mark with all three credit bureaus, and BLP had the nerve to actually say it was legitimate.

I refuse to pay the bogus debt, although I did ask if they would remove the mark if I did just pay it; they said they would not.

Just goes to show how shoddy the GHBLP is.

CPinSL

Seems rather strange that they can figure out whose payment didn't get pulled, figure out what payments to run the following month, but they can't figure out how to refund the late fees (that supposedly are automatic) unless WE CALL THEM?!? I've already called them once to find out why they sent me a shutoff notice when I'm on autopay, and now I have to call again to "request" a refund? What a crock...

 

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