Today, and yesterday I got several Phone calls from a number that showed up as 'EMRGNCY LOC IN'.
I usually don't pick up, if I don't know the number, because after living for about a year I am already fed up with all these stupid Phone calls we get. But this message, for some reason did make me pick up the Phone.
The guy that was on the other end of the line asked me if I was the one that payed the Electric Bills for ComEd. I told him I was. He asked me if I had seen the paperwork that was in the envelop with my last ComEd bill. I told him I didn't. (I usually throw everthing that is not a bill immediately away). He explained to me that I could get 12% of my highest bill back in a check by mail if I gave him all my info. I didn't trust it and asked him how this worked. He told me about the changed law in Illinois regarding Electricity. I had no clue about a changed law in Illinois, but I don't really know much about changing laws in Illinois. I think I am still in between knowing everything about the Netherlands and knowing everything about Illinois / America. So, I thought the law had just changed.
I had received earlier calls about changing something with my electricity, but I never listened to these callers. And so I figured I maybe had to listen once, because it could save us money and who doesn't want to save money, right? (Read more about this here: Electricity Deregulation )
And so I listened, but kept asking this guy questions. I told him I really didn't get how it worked because I was from the Netherlands and got transfered to his manager who explained it all very quickly to me. The manager clearly had done this before and I thought I now understood. (I really like to understand things, because I don't want to feel stupid...) So after my chat with the manager I thought, what could possibly go wrong?!
The guy who first called me was back on the Phone. He told me he redirected the call to his manager, because he was new on this job and didn't know how to explain it any clearer to me. I asked him if it would still be ComEd that delivered our energy. He said they would. There wouldn't change anything, I would get my energy cheaper and that was that. I asked him if there would still be 'ComEd' on my bill. He said yes. And then he convinced me too. I think I am kind of disadvantaged, because I am an Alien around here. I don't know how things work around here, I feel more insecure around here. If this would have happened in the Netherlands, I wouldn't even consider it. He knew my accountnumber, name and address and asked me if all of that was correct. It was.
Any way, the guy transfered me to someone else who would ask me questions that I only had to answer with yes or no. (Yes, I could do that!) The guy even told me what questions I could expect and told me how to answer them. He must have thought I was a moron. So he transfered me, and after the first question I started asking a question again. The call got transfered back to this guy again, who told me I could only answer with yes or no, or I had to start all over again. (He must have thought I was very, very blonde, which I am BTW.) And so I started all over again. I answered obedient with yes or no, until the lady (who seemed very computer-like) asked me if my name was correct. She spelled it to me. It wasn't correct, because I don't have a middle name! My name is just one word. I answered no and then got a question about what was wrong. I couldn't asnwer that with yes or no, could I? And so I talked in sentences again, which didn't get me redirected to my friend. (Yeay!)
Then the lady asked me the last question. This didn't really sound like a question to me, it sounded like a computer voice that read a law book out loud. She used words I never heard before. I even forgot to answer... and that was a good thing, because something inside of me (my inner voice) told me that this didn't feel okay. And so I said a very loud NO! to the computer lady...and got transfered to my friend again.
He wasn't as nice as he was before, I think he lost his patience, which I can imagine after a Phone call that lasted about 21 minutes and didn't produce what he wanted AT ALL. In fact, I think he could have had about five people saying yes to the computer lady in those 21 minutes. (I hope he doesn't get payed on a commission base!) He asked me why I didn't respond with yes to the last question, because that was the question he told me that would come upfront. The hardest question that I had to answer with yes, like he told me before. I told him I didn;t understand what the lady was saying and that I never say yes to anything I don't understand. I told him my English wasn't that good after all and that I just didn't want it. He told me my English was very good and asked me what I didn't understand about it. I told him I was done and that he could call back when my husband was at home, during the evenings.
After hanging up, I immediately called my husband, he didn't answer and so I texted a few messages on the Family App we have. They told me I was probably right and that I did a good job not saying yes...
I started searching the internet, and was happy I didn't say yes to that last question. Especially after reading this website: Citizens Utility Board. I could read there that Illinois Gas and Electric had 'variable' rates. So who knows what I had to pay after 12 Months?! And that the 'new' law already existed since 1997!
Good advice: Always check the number online! This was the number my 'friend' gave to me, because he thought I would trust him more after that. He even gave me his name.
This was the number in my display. together with 'EMRGNCY LOC IN'.
I looked up the name of the company, which the guy gave me. I found several companies that had almost the same name. And if you look at the number I looked up online, you can see there are several energy companies that used this number?!
From now on I will never ever arrange anything like that on the Phone. And when they call back tomorrow evening, I am going to answer to Phone. I am still thinking about a good line to answer the telemarketer...WHO HELPS ME OUT?
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