Dead Woman Billed ‘Termination Fee’ By Gas Company
CUMMING, Ga. — In the days following his mother-in-law’s death, Alan Handle took over her affairs.
One task was to cancel her natural gas service.
“When I started reviewing the bill, I saw they charged a $100 early termination fee,” said Handle.
Handle’s calls to customer service provided no help, he said.
“The person on the phone said her contract goes until May, so that’s why you are charged the $100 fee,” said Handle.
“I said, ‘How is a dead person supposed to pay the bill?’ said Handle. “She had no response,” he said.
Handle said he was told to fax a copy of a death certificate, but was warned even that didn’t guarantee the fee would be reversed.
“I just kind of hung up the phone, and then the more I thought about it, the madder I got,” said Handle.
Handle made one more call — to the Georgia Public Service Commission.
He soon had an apology and his money.
A Georgia Natural Gas spokesperson e-mailed Channel 2 Action News reporter Tony Thomas a statement that read, “Georgia Natural Gas empowers its customer service representatives to use good judgment in situations like this one. In this case, the customer service representative should have immediately credited the early termination charge. We regret any inconvenience or stress that this caused the family.”
Handle worries that this might happen again.
“I’m hoping if I can help save one elderly person $100, it will be worth it,” said Handle.
Thomas asked the public service commission to check into whether it’s had other similar complaints. He hoped to get those answers on Friday.