Fraud Problems With Discount Power
“ Discount Power's signup process has a fairly significant fatal flaw. They offer discounts for direct debit or direct charge to a credit card, but fail to take the necessary data to enable that during the signup process. As the on-line sign-up process is a secure connection, the moment the consumer selects the credit card option, the signup process should include collection of the necessary credit card data (more on this in a minute). The consumer gets an e-mail after signup indicating it contains the Electricity Facts Label and Terms of Service, which any smart consumer read before signing up, and which most consumers probably delete as so much trash mail. Camouflaged in that same e-mail is the warning that the consumer must contact Discount Power and provide bank or credit card info.
When that does not happen, not only does the direct debit discount disappear, but they fail to grant the electronic communications discount as well, and no amount of contact can get an adequate explanation or a refund for the overcharge.
Discount Power also fails to disclose whether the monthly meter reading is "actual" or "estimated" and during my transition away from them, I was shocked to receive two bills, the second one a credit for an overbilling the last month, based upon what is now obviously an estimated reading.
Lastly, Discount Power demands a photocopy of the front and back of the credit card and drivers license. This is insane and of great concern from a fraud standpoint. It is tantamount to handing them a second copy of the credit card. The customer has no idea what is done with the data, how it is maintained, and most importantly, how it is disposed of when they are done with it. With an image of both the front and back of the card, the potential for fraud is huge. In fact, some months after I provided this data to them, there were several fraudulent charges to my credit card, and presumably the individual had the CCV code from the back of the credit card for them to have been authenticated. Only one firm, Discount Power, had a copy of those codes. No site that I am aware of maintains CCV data for the obvious reason that it makes fraud so much easier.
Discount Power had some attractive rates when I signed up a year or so ago, but when that contract expired their idea of a customer loyalty program involved raising the rates, at a time when others were offering more attractive rates than the one which was expiring with Discount Power.
Discount Power still owes me money, but as the PUC doesn't care, and the State Attorney General doesn't care, there is literally nothing I can do about it. ”
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