WGES – Disgraceful Business Practices

Tonight a pushy young man came to our door to attempt to sell us some plan for energy or something from Washington Gas Energy Services.  I’d like to be able to tell you what it was he was selling, but he couldn’t explain it and he had no literature to give me.  Well, he did allow me to handle a piece of glossy paper with a bunch of disconnected sentences on it, but it was mostly gibberish about “savings” and “kilowats” with nothing to the point.  What I wanted to read was the plans, the cost, who the heck “Washington Gas Energy Services” is and why they can’t send me something in the mail like a normal company.

The salesman starts off hardsell right away.  He demands to see my father’s bills so he can get him some savings.  My Dad starts to comply before I can stop it.  I go to the door and ask what this is all about.  The salesman tells me that this is a plan to help save money for people who “conserve” a lot of energy.  It will lower their costs.

Exsqueeze Me?  Baking Powder?

I asked him what he meant.  He tried to explain it, but I stopped him and told him he was using the word incorrectly.  Conserve means to save not to use/spend.  Also, I just didn’t like how bossy he was getting.

Already I am REALLY not liking this company.  Why is an energy company selling a fungible product door to door in this hardsell manner? Why are they using a man so clearly uninformed on energy to sell it.  Why so hardcore?

I told the guy we weren’t signing anything tonight.

He told me that all my neighbors signed up.

Bite my neighbors, like I care what the hell they do.  I didn’t say that, but I wanted to.  What I did say was “Like I already told you, we aren’t signing up for ANYTHING tonight.”

Then he told me if I could just hear this one more thing, then I would totally sign up.

I interupted him at this point and said “I’m telling you that nothing you say to me will get me to sign up tonight.  Do you still want to explain this to me?”

No.  He takes back the literature and writes the website down for me and leaves.

Jerk.

I then went to the website, which is a whole lot more gibberish.  Crap.  They sell crap.  Lots of it.

So I tried to send the following letter, but it was too long, so I sent an extremely edited version.  I copied it for you.

Tonight a representative from your company came to our door and attempted to hard sell my elderly father a plan he couldn’t explain properly.  The representative was also unwilling to leave us information on the plans he was selling.

I am rather angry and upset at the way YOUR employee came to my door and demanded to see my father’s bills.   He offered my father no information other than that he was there to “save us money”, but of course he needed to see our bills first.

He only pulled out some literature when I demanded some.  No information was offered to my father before the demand to see his bills.

When I told the young man that we were not signing anything tonight he started to try to hard sell me, then he told me that all my neighbors agreed to join.  When I reminded him that we were not signing anything tonight, he took back the literature from me and told me to visit this website.  And left.

Obviously the young man wasn’t hired to inform the public about actual savings, he was hired to sell plans.

I can not express my extreme displeasure in how this company is hardselling some questionable energy plan to an 80 year old man.  Your representative offered no information until I demanded it.  What the heck kind of business practice is that?  He was pushily polite, meaning he was as obnoxious as a bad used car salesman.

I really am having a difficult time trying to understand what you are accomplishing by selling your product this way.  My only conclusion is that you are shady.

Seriously Irritated,
Vivian Saavedra

PS – You might also want to make sure your sales people use the proper vocabulary.  The young man trying to sell to us did not know the definition of “conserve” and kept using it incorrectly.  If he didn’t know the meaning of that word he can’t possibly actually understand the plans you want him to sell.

Disgraceful!

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27 Responses to WGES – Disgraceful Business Practices

  1. Celine says:

    Yes, they came to our place as well
    and they succeed 😦
    now I realize we have made a mistkae, they were telling nothing except …
    but I keep reading about his company and I feel that it is NOT TRUE…
    I am trying to find a way to cancel before they start billing me.
    what happened to your dad? he is enrolled?

  2. vivianlouise says:

    I managed to kick the guy out of the house before he could push Dad into signing up.

    I hope you can back out of it. I asked my brother-in-law who works for an energy company about them and all he came up with was that were a scam. Contact the comany right away to cancel.

    • Patricia says:

      Vivian, I read your post. And it’s a good thing I did! My Mom just got an advertisement in the mail about WGES and I decided to do some research on them when I came across your post. I told my Mom to tear it up and throw it in the fireplace!! Thanks for the warning!! (And this is May 2010).

  3. Emmy says:

    Why in the heck would a legitimate energy company need to go door to door to sell you electricity?

    I have a difficult enough time with religions that go door to door trying to seel their religion, but at least their salespeople have a working understanding of their product.

  4. Kunta says:

    With loads of shame, I have to admit that this young man convinced me that there was actually something for me in his pile of crap. Now a few months later, I owe WGES about 300 dollars… I also owe pepco some amount of money.
    I have never paid WGES any money because I wanted to make sure they are legit, with is why I wounded up on your web site. Not sure how I will fight my way out of it, but I want to try something. One thing that astounds me is that they are working WITH Pepco to fu?k inside out like this.

  5. Michael S. says:

    I work in the electricity industry in the Washington DC area. I read these posts from people who seem annoyed and suspicious about sales reps for WGES offering to sign them up for alternative electricity supply from WGES.

    When Maryland and the District of Columbia de-regulated the utility industries, the utility companies’ monopolies on selling electricity and natural gas to all users was terminated. Individuals and businesses were given the right to choose their electricity and natural gas suppliers. In other words, we now have the right to purchase our electricity and natural gas directly from energy suppliers in a competitive market. The utilitiy companies – Pepco, BGE, Washington Gas, and others – now serve as delivery utilities only to deliver electricity or natural gas. That is still a regulated function.

    A number of energy companies now supply electricity and natural gas to customers. Most of them are pursuing large accounts (commercial and institutional users). Very few energy suppliers have made an effort to provide electricity and natural gas to residential users (the little guy). WGES is one of the few that has done so. They will sell electricity and natural gas to the residential market. We are lucky to have them doing this.

    WGES is a leading competitive supplier of electricity and natural gas in Maryland and Washington DC. It is a well managed company whose prices are very low compared to most other suppliers.

    WGES uses different marketing channels to try to reach different customer segments. They use the web, print, TV advertising, direct mail, and a direct sales force to try to reach both commercial and residential users. So to the person who posted, asking ” Why in the heck would a legitimate energy company need to go door to door to sell you electricity? ” – I answer your question by pointing out that that is one method (an effective method) when trying to reach homeowners concerned about their energy bills.

    Several of the people who posted here were annoyed that a direct sales rep selling to the residential market came to their door. These are probably the same homeowners who complain about their high electric and gas bills. They probably passed up the opportunity to learn how they could cut the price that they pay for electricity or natural gas. As a result, they are probably still buying their electricity and natural gas at high prices from their utility companies.

    In reading the posts, I was fascinated to read of the human element in this. How homeowners let their discomfort with a sales method turn into annoyance and then suspicion of the sales rep or the company.

    And to be “technical” about it – the WGES rep really wasn’t selling anything! He wasn’t asking for money in exchange for anything. The homeowner already buys electricity and natural gas but probably understands little about how the current competitive market works and how he now can choose a competitive supplier. He probably also doesn’t really understand his utility bills – how energy is measured, how it is priced, and how the supply, transmission, and local delivery costs are now itimized on his bill from the utility’s delivery charges. The WGES rep could have walked him through that and shown him how to calculate the potential savings. Certainly the rep would have helped him enroll with WGES at lower prices if the homeowner had wanted.

    Now that you have read this post and probably assume that I work for WGES, I want to tell you that I do not. I am a licensed electricity broker. I help source energy for my clients from eight competing energy supplies. I often compete against WGES for business and can tell you that they are one of the lowest priced suppliers serving Maryland and DC. I respect WGES for being a good company. I salute them for being willing to sell to the residential market when most other electricity or natural gas suppliers will only sell to the commercial market.

    • RICH says:

      HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT WGES WHEN THEY ARE OWNED BY WASH. GAS AND LIGHT? THEY ARE ONE IN THE SAME!

      WASH GAS CHARGES .38 CENTS PER THERM AND WGES CHARGES
      .76 CENTS PER THERM. CHECK THE WEB SITE. I HAVE A BILL TO CONFRIM ALL OF THIS STATED IS 100% ACCURATE.

      OBVIOUSLY AS A SALES PERSON YOU NEVER LEARNED TO PLY YOUR TRADE CORRECTLY. KNOW YOUR OWN COMPANY, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT, AND KNOW YOUR COMPETITION. THESE ARE THE MARKETING GOLDEN RULES.

  6. vivianlouise says:

    Michael, had you actually READ my post you would have understood that my main complaint with the guy who came to my door was that he was TOTALLY uninformed about what he was selling, and trust me, he was trying to hard sell my dad. He could not explain what it was precisely he was asking us to sign up for, he had absolutely NO literature to explain what he was asking us to do and he obviously didn’t understand the first thing about energy. He didn’t understand what the word “conserve” meant. He was very pushy and was a bully.

    Did you miss the part in my post about how the company sent out a poorly prepared representative who was a bully? Did you also miss the part about how they did not provide ANY information about what exactly it was we were asked to join?

    I don’t respect WGES. Their sales employees (and that’s what they are) were very poorly trained, pushy AND rude. My father is an engineer, he knows EXACTLY how energy is used and how to read his bills. He also knows what the word ‘fungible’ means, and ‘conserve’. How could he pass up an “opportunity to learn” when the rep didn’t know a frickin thing? I personally questioned him and he could given me no answers. His explanation consisted entirely of telling us that most of our neighbors had already signed up. Exactly what does that tell me about the company? Nada.

    Try again.

  7. Sara says:

    Ohh, you’re such a putz. I switched to WGES last year and have saved over 10% on my bill every month! WGES Rocks!

  8. vivianlouise says:

    As this post is the one most searched, usually with scam in the search terms, I am still completely convinced of the rightness of my first impression.

    Sara, you didn’t actually READ my complaint against WGES, did you?

  9. NotNarrowMinded says:

    If you went to buy a new car and the salesman couldn’t tell you where the seats were made or how many cubic feet of storage the trunk had but still tried to sell you the car, would you boycott General Motors or just not buy from that person?

  10. vivianlouise says:

    Good night, you people aren’t even reading the post, are you?

    To repeat myself, the guy who came to my door could not explain ANYTHING about the plan. He didn’t understand it at all.

    And, yes, to be frank, I expect the guy I buy a car from to tell me the cubic feet of storage of the trunk of the car I’m about to spend thousands on or to be able to excuse himself and find the heck out.

    You WGES people need to read the bloody post. The guy who came to my door did not know anything at all about what he was selling. At all. Nothing. Nada. He had no literature for me to read. He had absolutely no information. Also, he was hardselling.

    What about answering the problem of uninformed door to door salesmen? That might be more helpful. I’ve gotten more than 100 hits on this one blog post. Always with the word “scam” in it.

    Why don’t you WGES people argue about these numbers next time you post here: http://www.dcpsc.org/pdf_files/customerchoice/electric/Electric_Bill_Comparison.pdf

  11. Rob's Saving Money On Electricity with WGES says:

    last post!

  12. vivianlouise says:

    NOT!

    Of course your internet name tells me so very much about WGES, about sending out uninformed salesmen who try to pressure old, deaf men into signing up for something they can not remotely explain. It’s also telling me that the people who are searching for this post and reading it, then leaving comments that don’t address the whole point of the post are incompetent themselves. Thanks for reinforcing my first impression of WGES! Awesome job!

    Next time I’ll start editing comments to include your originating company and location, Mr. California.

  13. igor says:

    I’m afraid you’ve spent far too much focusing on your animus for one ill-equipped salesman and have completely ignored various comments provided to you which addressed the situation.

    Had you paid attention to some of the replies you would have learned that, for retired people like myself (and your Dad), there now exists an alternative to Pepco and the Pepco prices, which will reduce our electricity supply costs by about 10%. I don’t have to like WGES or its sales force. I simply have to like my forthcoming reduction in my electric bill (and, by the way, the fact that WGES provides 5% of its electricity from wind sources).

    May I suggest that, after counting to 10, you consider these facts, calm down, hold your nose and save your Dad some money?

  14. Debra Kushner Hipple says:

    ha ha ha — just had a guy come door to door and gooogled WGES after we finally got him to leave — this blog came up in th first couple of hits, sounded like a reasonable person was writing, so I began reading out loud to my husband, then I scroll down and see your name!! Hi Vivian

  15. Lian says:

    How can we stop the mal-practice from WGES? I were told that we can save utility bill by transferred to WGES. But it turns out that I have been charged more than 5 times as that from Pepco. Please advise what can I do about this mal-practice?

  16. vivianlouise says:

    Lian, you will need to figure that out for yourself. I’m not a lawyer or an expert on bills. Sorry.

  17. Lian says:

    Vivianlouise, thanks for your response. I will call Pepco next Monday to see how I can switch back to them.
    Correction: I believe the bill I received is for two months (I thought it is for one month). Therefore, the charge from WGES is doubled instead of 5 times from that from Pepco.

  18. Cecil Weston says:

    I signed up for 2 years @ $124 per month for gas “guaranteed” with WGES in Feb. ’09. After collecting this money for the summer months (when gas prices are very low), they switched me back to Washington Gas in Dec. ’09 (when gas prices are very much higher).

  19. Katherine H says:

    I just read this post..including Michael’s and I can tell you how I know he does not work for WGES.

    He said: They use the web, print, TV advertising, direct mail, and a direct sales force to try to reach both commercial and residential users.”

    This is completely fals. they do not use TV Advertising and never have. they rarely if ever do print advertising and they do not advertise on the web, at all except for an information website.

    why not just call their office and complain?

    their number can be found online, their headquarters is in Herndon, VA

  20. michael says:

    Cecil,
    why did they switch you back back to Washington Gas in Dec. ‘09? did they expain anything?

  21. David Karro says:

    Does anyone have hard figures on the difference between what Washington Gas charges for gas and what WGES charges for gas?

    I would have probably reacted just as VivianLouise did to the sales pitch she got, but I want to move beyond the lousy salesman she described and find out if I should buy from WGES. Some people comments say WGES is a good deal compared to Washington Gas and some way it is a bad deal, and I wonder if anyone knows ho to settle the debate. For example, does anyone know what Washington Gas charged for a until of gas (therm?) in January of 2010 (or some other recent month) and what WGES charged for the same month.

    • RICH says:

      WASH GAS 38 CENTS PER THERM. ON THEIR WEB SITE.

      WGES BILL FOR ME NEXT YEAR STATES 76 CENTS PER THERM.
      RIP OFF AND SCAM HERE. THEY ARE ONE IN THE SAME. STAY AWAY FROM WGES FOR GAS!

      • michael says:

        Rich,
        These numbers are for different parts of your bill.
        WashGas charges 38 cents per therm of gas for delivery of the gas. In addition, last January they we charging 81 cents per therm for the gas itself (commodity).
        Last winter, WGES was charging 76 cents per therm for the gas (commodity). In addition, WashGas was charging 38 cents per therm for the dilevery of that gas.
        http://webapp.psc.state.md.us/intranet/gas/gasCommodity_new.cfm

  22. Rebecca F says:

    I actually received a printed sales pitch last month in the mail. It had my Washington Gas account number, name and address (obviously). With my current budget with Washington Gas, I am paying $166 per month. Under a two-year plan with WGES I would be expected to pay $99 for the next two years. This seems reasonable to me, but at this point, I am going to decline. Not because I don’t like the sales pitch, but because I have only lived in this house for three months and I believe my budget amount will adjust considering the biggest snow storm to hit DC was during one of those three months. I imagine the WGES amount would also adjust once a more accurate picture of my usage is taken into consideration.

    Ill-prepared salespeople are a problem, particularly when it comes to signing a contract. Educate yourself on both the good and the bad before making an informed decision.

  23. omnatio says:

    Avoid WGES at all costs. They charge you $480 when you change to another supplier, even if your 2 year contract ends, claiming an auto renewal. They try to charge you for terminating a contract you never agreed to!

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