Utility Bill Just Go Way Up? This Scam Could Be Costing You Thousands In New Jersey
I got slammed and I didn't even know what hit me.
My electric bill was over $500 this month. That’s three times higher than normal and nothing has changed with our usage. After a little digging, I realized I’m getting totally ripped off and you may be too. It’s called “slamming” and it is happening all over New Jersey right now. The good news is, you can stop it.
It was time for me to pay our monthly bills. Call me old school but I don’t like to do auto-draft when it comes to billing because I like to see what I’m paying before utilities just take their fair share of our earnings. That was a smart move because I just potentially saved myself thousands of dollars over time because I was getting slammed.
What Is Slamming?
Slamming is when a utility company sells you off as a customer to a third-party provider without you even knowing. There is no contract and in my case no notification that I was even being sold. It’s sneaky because you keep paying the same way and your money finds its way to the new provider, the only difference is that your bill could be up to three times more per month because they have a worse contract and you are footing the bill, literally.
Check your utility bills, all of them. If they instantly jump call your original company and ask if your account has been sold to a third party. If it has, you can demand to be brought back to your original provider and your bill will adjust the following month.
Just as a side note, if you are paying anything more than 9 cents per KwH you are getting ripped off. Many people will see 18 cents/KwH or some as high as 25 cents/KwH like me! Outrageous! This happens with no consent needed and apparently, this falls under a very grey area of barely legal. Sometimes you will be asked to switch and they will offer you a silly-low rate to bait you but that awesome rate only lasts a few months then they get their money back by “slamming” you with a rate that is double or triple a normal rate thereafter. It is the definition of highway robbery.
If you get called and asked to switch to a lower rate tell them to take their teaser rate and shove it. Check all your billing statements today (I think companies love you going paperless because it is way harder to check stuff like this) and see if you are switched. Better yet call your original company and get to the bottom of it and switch back asap. I also recommend putting a reminder in your phone to call your utility companies every 6 months to do a check-up to see if you’ve been switched. It is a shame you have to do this but we do. My heart goes out to elderly people on a fixed budget who don’t have the savvy or wherewithal to defend themselves against things like this.
This can happen with electricity, gas, or really any utility. It can happen without you knowing and it can also happen when a third party calls or stops by your home to sell you on the switch with that teaser rate. Don’t fall for it and NEVER give your bill or account number to anyone who wants to “see if they can give you a better rate” because once they have your number they can switch you without your knowledge or consent. There have been reports of sales reps asking for account info so they can “run the numbers” and see if you can get a better deal promising to get back to you. Of course, they switch you and never call again.
I got off easy, my neighbor’s bill was 6 TIMES HIGHER than her normal bill. She got sold to a third party as well.
Another neighbor’s bill was 1k for one month! Be aware and hopefully reading this will inspire you to check up on your bills. Have you ever been slammed?
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