Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 DTE and Big Brother Previous Next
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 338
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't know why this bothers me, I know you are supposed to pay your bills on time. But it seems more and more people are trying to dig their fingers into individual's privacy....


http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070103/O PINION03/701030333

Late DTE bill could jolt credit

The penalty for paying your electric bill late just got more expensive.

How expensive? Try $3,000 or $4,000.

That's the extra cost Epaminondas Epaminonda was facing after he vacationed overseas last summer and missed paying his DTE Energy bill until his return.

The Maybee, Mich., alarm technician didn't know that DTE started reporting the payment histories of all 2.5 million customers to the major credit bureaus in August. But he found out in a big way when he went to refinance his home last month.

The late DTE payment knocked his all-important credit score down by 100 points -- and pushed the interest rate on his new mortgage up.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 767
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DTE send out a flier with their bills a few months ago notifying DTE customers of it. It was pitched as a way to help people without credit build their credit scores. The flip side, of course, is that if you're late with your bill, your credit score is going down! In other words, the power company has you by the testes.
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Jelk
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Username: Jelk

Post Number: 4150
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why should we be surprised or outraged that a company is reporting late payments to credit bureaus?
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Susanarosa
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Username: Susanarosa

Post Number: 1284
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

And why didn't he think about having to pay his bills before he left on an "overseas vacation"? Snowbirds arrange for that every winter. If your 80 year old Aunt Marge can figure that out, it can't be all that difficult.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 768
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Because credit bureaus typically accept information on late credit payments. In other words, you have to be late paying the minimum payment on what you BORROWED. When a necessity of life (your power, your furnace igniter, your space heater, your light, etc.) which you are not BORROWING through any credit, is not paid, typically credit reporting agencies wait until the account is delinquent, when a collector lets them know he's trying to collect on a delinquent account, often after late payments are missed, all attempts to negotiate the debt have failed, etc.
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Jiminnm
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Username: Jiminnm

Post Number: 1160
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Utilities are one of the few businesses that let you use their service before you pay for it. Why shouldn't they report non-payers to a credit agency?

There are plenty of options. Most folks I know who travel a lot either pay in advance, set up direct payment from their bank account, or give the utility a credit card number and have the bill charged to the card automatically.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 769
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Uh, because they have a monopoly?
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 748
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, it sucks, but for those that didn't read the article, we're not talking about late payments.

We're talking about totally not paying a bill. The article mentions "30-days late" but that doesn't come from DTE's mouth, so there is no word on exactly WHEN this gets reported.

Pay your bills, I don't see why it's a problem that there are consequences for not paying for your power.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 770
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, except in the past the power company would have to send several notices, send a person to talk to you, and then turn off the power, then put your account into collection. Now they don't have to spend those precious resources on servicing the account. They just report you and it's over. Credit reporting agencies have lots of problems, credit reports are very difficult to change, and you often feel like a person who's guilty until proven innocent. This is about more than paying your bills, I'm afraid.
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 478
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree the credit reporting thing is too one sided. I had a hospital bill I paid, but the billing department forgot to credit it to me. I had thier lawyer chasing me for two years for something I had all ready straightened out.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 749
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Once again though, why should any company have to spend their time tracking down your lazy butt for not paying a bill? That makes sense?

I understand your concerns, and having been a victim of identity theft myself, I am aware of the issues with credit reporting. That said, I'm just not sure how you can logically argue that it is up to a company to make sure you remember to pay your bill.
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Goat
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Username: Goat

Post Number: 9122
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 4:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How does a company charge someone for a service when they don't know how much that service a person used? That is the ONLY reason gas and electric companies don't charge you up front (unless you are on a payment plan).

As for having to give these companies your bank account # or CC..screw 'em! DO you know how irritating it is when they screw up and you have to be credited? It is a nightmare! Not to mention not everyone likes the idea of people or companies having access to this information.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 771
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 5:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Let's see, a huge powerful company that essentially has a monopoly on a product. It has armies of lawyers, political connections, and consumers that must abide by their policies to receive something essential to everyday life.

On the other hand, befuddled, ill-informed consumers who are struggling in a competitive economy to remain afloat.

Naturally, I'd side with the consumer on this one. The one thing missing from much of the analysis here is the power relationship. This is a power grab. If somebody can shut off your lights and heat, I'd say that's incentive enough to pay on time.
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 341
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 6:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with the previous poster that the original intent of credit reporting agencies is to report CREDIT BORROWING. Now, everybody and their mother wants your SS#. I for one think you should be able to refuse a lot of this prying into the most personal of your personal life. Especially with the fact that they can't secure your information, once they have it.

Also, getting your credit score knocked 100 POINTS for a $90 bill seems a little excessive.

(Message edited by yvette248 on January 03, 2007)
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 4466
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 6:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

From the Non-Detroit postings:


quote:

And what the hell is everyone hiding to be so worried about.


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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 674
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 7:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If this dude is taking extending ovrseas holidays, he should be able to pay his bills. Sounds like he is just a dumb-ass that got caught and has the "I'm getting ripped off, I'm a victim mentality". How much could these bills be if no one is home? $30 a month? Why could he not pay that in advance if he can afford extending vacations?

Everyone should be more pro-active in managing their own credit! It should not be a shocker that companies are out to screw you!
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Jiminnm
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Username: Jiminnm

Post Number: 1161
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2007 - 9:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well Goat, I'll give two options. First, a customer can go on a budget plan so the payment is the same each month. Or, the utilities could adopt the old British practice (no longer in practice) of coin operated meters. You insert coins into your meter and the gas/electricity runs until the money runs out. No coins? No power. Today, they could accept ATM or credit cards.

Nerd, the utilities still take those collection actions. They're interested in getting paid, not reporting anyone to a credit agency. If you don't pay by the due date, you're delinquent - just like a car payment, credit card payment (and they also report monthly to credit bureaus), etc. Your other statements are just crap.

Detplanner is right on target with this guy's motive.
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Bratt
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Username: Bratt

Post Number: 433
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 10:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

But what alot of people must realize is, utility companies will report to credit agencies when you are late paying your bills. But they do not report to credit bureaus if you pay on time every month.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 675
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 11:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think we have a fundemental misunderstanding of what credit is. Credit is not to be abused, a late bill for services rendered (even a utility bill) is an abuse of the credit extended by the company. If you pay on time, that is not reported because that is paying on time.

Remember that most utilities are paid 'after' the service is encumbered.

This is no different than missing a payment on a credit card. Bottom line, if you don't want to get hit with this sign up for auto-pay, or watch your bill cycle closely. Heck pay a few bucks more every month until you're extended the credit to the utility! The you will always be one month or so in advance instead of arrears.

(Message edited by Detroitplanner on January 04, 2007)
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Downtown_dave
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Username: Downtown_dave

Post Number: 114
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 3:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is a good proactive move on the part of DTE to remind customers of the importance of paying their bills on time. Delinquency is a huge financial burden for all companies, but especially for utilities who are forced to use additional measures to recover costs "after the service is encumbered," as Detroitplanner has pointed out. The result? Utilities must tie up additional resources and spend more ratepayer dollars to track down and reconcile with delinquent payers - and this is ultimately dollars from the pockets of the rest of us who pay bills on time. It's not a private matter when one person's inaction harms a group of people.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3404
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 3:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It is when the Michigan economy sucks....
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 772
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 6:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Paging Dr. Cambrian ...
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 344
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 9:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Utility bills are not lending institutions, just like gym memberships, library cards, and various assorted organizations that now believes its okay to snoop into your credit history. If we, the public, don't draw the line somewhere, one can only imagine how intrusive these billion dollar corporations will become.

And where is OUR protection when employees from these companies sell our personal information for gain???
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Hysteria
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Username: Hysteria

Post Number: 2015
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 10:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why would a utility company want to provide service to someone that didn't intend to pay until three months later? If you pay your bills on time you don't have to worry about this stuff.

But we've already told you that ...
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 759
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 04, 2007 - 11:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You people aren't reading. No one's snooping or selling your information. DTE is turning delinquent customers in to the credit bureaus as delinquents. WTF is so hard to comprehend about that.

Please make me a logical argument that it is within your rights not to pay your electric bill. Please.

God, sometimes I begin to see the conservatives' points about some of you guys.
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Bratt
Member
Username: Bratt

Post Number: 434
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 9:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow, I have been reading all of your posts.....Pay your bill on time....what is the big problem with that?

Yes, in the perfect world absolutely. But there are so many families out there who are barely making it, and when they get a gas bill for $700? Come on.

I personally believe something isn't right with the company. My neighbor moved out of her house months ago. It sits vacant. She turned the heat all the way off...no need to heat a vacant house. She received a gas bill for $160.00. She called DTE to come out and inspect, and they said they found nothing wrong with her meter. Give me a break.

DTE needs competition in this market...big time!
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321brian
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Username: 321brian

Post Number: 241
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 9:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What kind of stupid is this guy?

How does he expect the company to wait for him to get back before they get paid?

Just get it taken out of you bank account every month and forget about it.
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 346
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 5:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The point I am making is that you should not have to give every Tom Dick and Harry your social security number. Its unreasonably intrusive and I refuse to give it to any company who can not prove that they have a legitimate right to have it.

Am I the only one who is paying attention to all of the identity thefts that are going on? And how employees bring laptops home with everyone's social security and credit card numbers on it? What are YOU GUYS reading that you are not concerned about it???
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Goat
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Username: Goat

Post Number: 9132
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 5:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed Yvette. I don't like the intrusions in my bank account or life. That goes for corporations and the gov't.

I did tha tonce and triple billed and it took about 3 months to get the schitt sorted out...never again. When they send me my bill for what utilities I used, I send them a cheque.

Was this guy an idiot? Yes. Did they deserve to send his info the the credit bureau for one missed payment? No.
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 349
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2007 - 5:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thank you Goat. I was starting to believe I was in an alternate universe or something....
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Wash_man
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Username: Wash_man

Post Number: 276
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 4:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Protest in progress.

http://www.clickondetroit.com/ news/10696975/detail.html



(Message edited by wash_man on January 08, 2007)
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Wash_man
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Username: Wash_man

Post Number: 277
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 4:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

BTW, I checked my credit report with Equifax yesterday. DTE shows up just like a credit card, mortgage, etc. Looks like it's all set up already.

(Message edited by wash_man on January 08, 2007)
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Detroitteacher
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Username: Detroitteacher

Post Number: 866
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 8:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They said they are only reporting those who are 30 days or more late with payments. I sent them the wrong payment once (I sent the phone co payment to DTE and DTE to the phone co) and didn't figure it out until they sent the delinquent notices. I fixed it but jeez, it was more than 30 days overdue by that point...simple mistake but I guess if I did that today I'd get a bad credit report!
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Rickinatlanta
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Username: Rickinatlanta

Post Number: 22
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 10:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bratt, don't think your neighbor turned the heat all the way off in Detroit! Frozen pipes and a water heater would probably preclude that. "All the way off" to a LOT of people means 68 degrees since that's colder than they would keep in the house.
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Bobj
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Username: Bobj

Post Number: 1673
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 9:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Unpaid utility bills are a huge cost for a utility, since you basically use the gas or electricity - then you pay for it 21 days after you used the last of it, they have a large collection risk. It is 51 days from the time you use the first of their product to the time it due for payment. Then if you are having problems paying, just call and they will give you more time.

I don't blame them for using credit reporting as a tool to focus people on paying on time.

Why do you think the vast majority of retailers won't bill you anymore? It is all done through credit cards and we all know how fast that goes on your credit report.
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 5399
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 9:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DTE Energy and other bill collector agencies warned customers to PAY UP OR SHUT UP. There are most low-imcome folks can't even afford electricity and gas, home phone, cable and even the internet services. All of the fancy utilities available to the public, but to underprivileged can't have none. Capitalism has its price and so does you own earnings.
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Bratt
Member
Username: Bratt

Post Number: 436
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 9:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rick:

No, she turned it off. Said she didn't give a damn if the pipes burst or not. Even if she did turn it down to 68 degrees, she still should not have gotten a bill for $160.00.
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Supersport
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Username: Supersport

Post Number: 11102
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 11:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'll tell you what pisses me off about this. I use the DTE paperless billing, paying on line. Almost every damn time I go to pay their site isn't working right. I'd estimate that I often have to go back 3 or 4 times minimum to get the proper screen to display. There have been more than a few occasions that I forget about paying. You see, that email notification drops down in my inbox quite quickly and I soon forget about it. Considering I don't have a paper notice amongst my bills to remind me, sometimes I don't recall it until my next billing cycle comes around, in which it's back to square one.

I have no problem paying my bills, though if they wanna be an asshole about it with just a 30 day grace period, I suggest they fix their damn website, or their customers should begin charging them for every time they try to pay and fail.
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Wash_man
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Username: Wash_man

Post Number: 284
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 4:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Protest planned.
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070110/U PDATE/701100433

Supersport, have you tried paying from your bank's website instead? I bank with Fifth Third. They have a great website that allows you to set up all your accounts on their site and pay from there. Been using it for 3-4 years without any problems. I assume other banks have something similar. I still get paper bills in the mail. On the weekend I use the bank website to set up payment for any I received that week. It even allows you to set the pay date in advance if you don't want to pay that very day.
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Yvette248
Member
Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 364
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, January 12, 2007 - 4:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Looks like DTE agreed to a compromise. I think only reporting 60-90 days late is a great pr move designed to keep revenues flowing without making the company seem like its heartless, not caring about the many struggling families in Michigan.

http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll /article?AID=/20070112/BUSINES S/70112028
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Gannon
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Username: Gannon

Post Number: 7857
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 1:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DTE is CLOSING their walk-in offices. The one in their main building near the MGM Casino building closed a few months ago.

I am going to deduct the costs of buying money orders and travelling to their suburban offices...although I heard they are closing Dearborn soon.


So I get to subtract the amount of Postage instead of travel...that's OK. Such is the case when a corporation decides to eliminate cash transactions.
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Digitaldom
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Username: Digitaldom

Post Number: 552
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 11:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Monopoly? Your do have electric choice folks.. though most people don't take advantage of it.. the monopoly ended several years ago.. Hence why the hell that damn blackout occured here a few years ago...not enough power and there not building power plants either..

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